How To Fix Palm Pre's "Error Sending Mail" Problem

Posted by Artem Russakovskii on July 14th, 2009 in Personal, Technology

Updated: January 30th, 2013

imageThe Problem

My fiancée Emilie has had her Palm Pre for about 2 weeks now, and one specific problem that started showing up last week has been incredibly annoying, causing us all kinds of trouble.

After Emilie got the phone, she added 3 email accounts – Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo. One day, after sending an email through the Pre, a popup showed up that said "Error sending" followed by the subject of that specific email. Swiping the error away didn't help – it just came back 5 minutes later. In fact, it has been coming back every 5 minutes of every day since, lighting up the screen each time. Thus, not only it was annoying, but it was running down the battery like crazy – a full charge lasted between 1/2 and 3/4 of the day with very mild usage.

I deleted the problematic message from the Outbox a long time ago. The error didn't disappear and kept popping up. Additionally, whichever Outbox clicking on the annoying popup led to was having trouble refreshing, even though it wouldn't display what the error actually was – just a yellow exclamation sign would show up. Refreshing the folder didn't help and would take an unusually long time.

Well, finally, I got sick of waiting for Palm to update its OS with possible fixes and set out to find one myself.

Turns out a ton of people are having the same issue, as evident in all Palm Pre forums. For example, Palm.com forum or Precentral.net forum. I really didn't like the common suggestion to delete and re-add the problematic account because

  • that just most likely temporarily pushes the problem back as I'm sure it would come back again to haunt me
  • this could potentially erase or disconnect all contacts associated with that account
  • my engineering mind would be left puzzled
  • I wasn't sure which account was having the problem (later it turned out the culprit was Yahoo)

Surprisingly, I found the clue that led me to the solution on Yahoo Answers – yeah, that place where nothing intelligent is allowed to exist (with certain exceptions).

The Solution

To make a long story short, Pre messed up Yahoo's outgoing mail settings. My particular problem was the SMTP (that's the outgoing mail server) port was set to 995, which is in fact an incoming POP3 mail server port. I don't know how it happened or if it even worked in the first place but the fact is: the right outgoing port for secure (SSL) SMTP connections is 465. Also, for some reason the SMTP username was blank but the password was filled in. WTF, Pre?

When I changed SMTP port to 465 and entered the username, as specified in that Yahoo Answers post (without the @yahoo.com part), the error message went away and the Outbox refreshed just fine. BTW, my Pre has the incoming mail server set to POP3, while the Yahoo Answers post was set to IMAP – again, why the differences? I'd frankly prefer IMAP anyway.

To get to your mail account settings, open up your email application, go to the Email menu in Pre's top left corner, tap Preferences & Accounts, then tap the offending account, scroll down, and tap Change Login Settings. When you are done, just swipe back (half swipe from right to left in the gesture area). Here's a handy screenshot I took of the relevant area:

image -> image

Confused by all the technical definitions, like SMTP, IMAP, POP3, SSL, incoming and outgoing accounts? Have a look at this helpful FAQ page, hopefully it'll clear things up.

In the meantime, here's a handy excerpt with port numbers for various connection and server types:

    POP3 – port 110
    IMAP – port 143
    SMTP – port 25
    HTTP – port 80
    Secure SMTP (SSMTP) – port 465
    Secure IMAP (IMAP4-SSL) – port 585
    IMAP4 over SSL (IMAPS) – port 993
    Secure POP3 (SSL-POP) – port 995

If you are experiencing the same symptoms, check ALL your mail settings, not just the ones I mentioned. Who knows what else your Pre may have messed up?

Update: if you are having trouble sending your mail only while on WiFi, it is possible that your home broadband router is blocking the needed ports. Try to edit the router configuration and open the ports used by your Pre's mail configuration – hopefully the problem will be solved.


Palm, are you hearing us? We are not happy with the bugs and the unhelpful error messages (or lack thereof altogether)! 3 measly updates in the last 2 months is quite pathetic. I hope you are working on a much bigger update behind the scenes.

● ● ●
Artem Russakovskii is a San Francisco programmer and blogger. Follow Artem on Twitter (@ArtemR) or subscribe to the RSS feed.

In the meantime, if you found this article useful, feel free to buy me a cup of coffee below.

  • Carlo

    Emillie should remove the account, re-add the account and restart the device: launcher>device info>scroll to bottom to, reset options> restart. Its the first icon for restart.(green).

    I ended up back on my blackberry curve waiting for the Tour.

  • For what it's worth, I added my Yahoo account to the Pre, and it didn't have either of these problems — incoming mail is IMAP (not POP3) on 995, outgoing is [email protected] with a password set on port 465 of palm.smtp.mail.yahoo.com.

    I do see a different and annoying problem with the Yahoo account where, even though the credentials on the phone are correct and work most of the time, sometimes they stop working for a few hours (during which time I get a bunch of "authentication failed, click here to enter the right credentials" messages), and then it starts working again without me changing anything. http://forums.palm.com/palm/board/message?board.id=wireless_email&thread.id=8764 for that one.

  • @Matt
    That's the mind boggling part – when I added the Yahoo account on the emulator, everything was fine.

    I even think that when I just added the Yahoo account that very first time, it was also fine. But then something triggered it to erase part of its information.

    Many people are having this problem and I don't know why.

  • Jeff

    That is exactly what happened to my wife's pre. The gmail outgoing port was 993 rather than 465. Made the change and the problem was gone. Thanks.

  • Joel

    This is great! Fixed the error my wife was getting on her Pre. Not sure why Gmail wasn't setup to use SSL encryption or why the port was wrong when I turned it on. But your tip finally led me to the fix that worked!!! Thank you!

  • No probs, guys. This had to be shared, as it was such a huge pain in the ass. Glad it helped.

  • Ian McG

    much appreciated solution. so far so good. finally sent a couple of emails sitting in my outbox for a couple of days. & hopefully the "login rejected" msg from Yahoo will stop showing.

  • trick

    After being in the Sprint store for 3 hours, on the phone with Palm, on the phone with Sprint…..searching the Internet for fixing this outgoing email problem I find this blog. This is the best answer and complete after all the searching, phone calls and in person waiting. Hats off to Mr. Beer Planet. UNFORTUNATELY I followed this to a tee with no results. I've tried everything and ready to throw it in. I guess I'll get a belt clip for my laptop so I can just carry that around everywhere I go. My case must be "special". Good blog however.


  • @Trick
    As I've learned, with this phone, even the most logical things become illogical and broken for no reason. I hope you sort it out in the end.

    Have you upgraded the WebOS to at least 1.1? It may help fix some of these things.

  • trick

    Yo, Mr. Beer. I am current with WebOS and will have to just wait for the fix. I think this is a palm OS issue as the rest of the phone works great. No complaints. After my exhuasting web search there are lots of people with this problem and basically it appears to be a hit and miss thing, which of course, I seemed to have fallen in the "hit column. I haven't shot my 12 guage in a while. If I get too annoyed it get inroduced to skeet and some phesant shot. fyi, fwiw, I have friends here in Des Moines from both Ukraine and St. Petes.:) Thanks for the reply. If I find an answer I'll come back and post. Thanks

  • Megan

    I LOVE YOU! Thank you so much – this issue was driving me insane. And, I was getting very sick of my husband and friends saying 'See, you should have just bought an iPhone."

    I'm not technical at all, but was able to follow your simple instructions and it worked. (Changed the port to 465 from 993).

    Now, if Palm would fix this in addition to (1) augmenting the woefully inadequate battery (2) add voice dialing and (3) visual voicemai – we'd be all good!

    Thanks Again

  • Herman

    This fixed the problem sending new mail, but I still can't send mail when I try the reply button.

  • trick

    Hello anyone, I have tried the couple of things since I first posted but sending out email, whether new or reply, still doesn't work. I find it amazing that some work and some, like me doesn't. For outgoing should we be using authentication? Any more ideas?



  • angie

    i can not send messages plese help me

  • kelly

    I just got my Pre on 9/14/2009 and I have Palm webOS 1.1.0

    I just had the same issue. I couldn't send. Tried SSL, nope. I have a Gmail account and tried that fix, nothing. So I deleted both POP accounts and added them again.


    I can send mail now.

    Doesn't make any sense, but my pop email works now.

    Hope this helps someone else.


  • chris

    This didn't fix it for me, please respond.

  • MS

    Any suggestions on how to fix the problem if you have an earthlink account? THANKS!

  • trick

    Hello everyone, just thought i would pass along that i finally did get it to work. it took about 4 trys of deleting the account and re making the account. I did finally get it!!! thanks for all the help.

  • Kieu

    I have the same problem, but with my work email. all the settings are correct because I compared my settings from Outlook (which is working fine) to that of my PRE [which is recieving an error message of Email App Alert].

    Please help. I have 2 different email accounts on my PRE, GMAIL which works fine, and my work email which WILL NOT work!!! please HELP! even the PRE rep could not help me

  • Herman

    I had to do a work around – my work email comes in fine, but will not send, so I use gmail when I respond. Just have to remember to switch accounts before sending

  • Kieu

    That cant be the only solution, because before I did a master reset on my pre, all my accounts were working fine, gmail & work mail.

  • Herman

    Mine worked fine in the Sprint store. Have not tried deleted and re-adding my work email with WI-FI off yet.This works for some.

  • Ian

    Thanks for this article! Got my mail to sync properly FINALLY.

  • Kris

    I've tried EVERYTHING trying to get my Hotmail account to work. When I initially set up the account, everything was fine, I was able to send and receive no problem, regardless of Wi-Fi. Then, out of the blue, I can't send emails. I've tried everything, I've removed the account and everything and to no avail…. All my settings and passwords are correct – there must be a fix!

  • Senno

    you're the best. Thank you!!!!!

  • MaryEllen

    Thank you! Perfect, and it took seconds. I instantly bought you a cup of coffee. You're welcome to use my buck for beer instead.

  • Alan

    I had this error when trying to set up an email account with qip. My provider is verizon and I think they block port 25 and require ssl encryption. It didn't work on the alternate port 2525 either. Palm support sugested using gmail for the outgoing server. My account settings are as follows.
    Mail type: IMAP
    Incoming mail server: imap.nm.ru
    user name: ********@nm.ru
    password: ********
    Encryption: none
    Port: 143
    Outgoing mail server: smtp.gmail.com
    Use autentication: On
    user name: ****@gmail.com
    password: ****
    encryption: SSL
    port: 465

  • Lyle

    I was able to follow your instructions with Palm support on the phone and it added my Yahoo e-mail account. This fixed the e-mail but the conatcts and calendar still don't Yahoo. I tried adding Yahoo but it would not login and there is no manual settings in those applications.
    Also, I can not access the app catalog.

    • Lyle

      After getting x-fer to another tech I was told it would take up to 30 min before Contacts and the Calendar would sync up.

      This all started when I got a replacement Palm Pre from the Sprint store.

      I still can't access the App catalog and all my previous apps are gone.

      Currently I am still on the phone (almost 2 hours now) and they are having me log out of the phone and erase all apps (which I have none now). This means I am going through the phone activiation sequence again.

      And of course I can sign into all accounts except Yahoo. The phone is now restarting. I had to skip the yahoo account till it restarted. Then we tried the manual settings and they failed. The apps are trying to load but I only got one to load.

  • joey jackson

    2 years later here's someone else's fix for the problem:


    • Beth

      I never respond to blogs, etc., but I found this in researching my Palm problems. I just had to get a replacement phone and have spent 5-6 hours on setting up my e-mail to no resolve. I've done my own research, been to Verizon and called ATT&T (have a paid Yahoo account through them) AND talked to Palm. I've deleted the accounts, tried setting them up manually and by logging, tried different servers, ports, etc. NOTHING works!

      This is my 3rd Palm & just sent one back to charging issues (had it less than 30 days), but my e-mail was fine and easy to set up. I love my phone because I'm not a techno person, but I'm about over it and don't have time to spend on it!

  • Annette

    Just wanted to say thanks a bunch for finally solving my stupid palm email issue. I kept getting the "login credentials rejected" message when sending email. I corrected the smtp settings as instructed, but still got the error. Turns out I also needed to remove "palm" from "palm.smtp.mail.yahoo.com." Once I did that, everything worked fine.

    I think the Palm OS is creative and easy to use, but it's not easy to see why they've dropped so far behind in the smartphone arms race.

    Thanks again!