A short vacation with mobile devices challenged us to keep up with our exploding business. The problem was that we couldn't successfully send emails. Recipients did not get them! Confirmatory blind copies were received by us. But none of the recipients received them.
- We looked at and compared settings. We checked our original emails.
- We uninstalled and reinstalled passwords.
- We visited the Apple store three times (but just the Genius Bar once).
- We gave up and went to bed and a few minutes later popped out of bed and asked questions to ourselves such as: How can I possibly receive an email, but not send one? What are all those settings?
As with every modern software, there are many supporting layers. Each layer in isolation can work, perfectly, according to the customer service representative who owns that layer, so fault must lie elsewhere. One wonders—“Not my job, Man…”
After a little rest and the resulting infusion of patience, we started over. Tediously and carefully we went to websites and forums. We learned a lot and want to share it with you. Hopefully, we can Pay Forward this time for you.
First, a warning: email cannot be used for medical collaboration. Review of Accountable Care Plans has shown recognition, but is not a plan for resolution of this problem. iClickCare can resolve the issue immediately, but it is something new, so why can regular email not be used?
Think of email as a postcard. Turn it over, and the message and address can be read. Even if it incorporates SSL (secure email), it has three points of failure.
- It is unencrypted and not password protected on the originator's desktop (or phone).
- Transmission is encrypted, but all the intermediate relays store the email in its pure form.
- The recipient has it stored in plain view, not password protected, on his/her desktop (or phone).
As they say, we have an app for that, iClickCare, (actually a complete system), but we use email all of the time, so let us share what we found. Looking at email settings is scary and unfamiliar to most of us. To ease this, we will list some definitions and note some principles for thinking. They might not please computer scientists, but they will help you get the job done.
There are three settings that need to be addressed.
- Basic identifiers.
- Incoming settings.
- Outgoing settings.
Basic: The purpose of the basic settings is obvious: who are you anyway? Use your complete email address -- include everything both before and after the "@" sign. Did we mention spelling? We should have.
Incoming: The purpose of the incoming settings is to give a software protocol (list of agreed upon terms) with which to work. The protocols have two versions: POP and IMAP. References are below. POP is Post Office Protocol and IMAP is Internet Mail Protocol. POP is older and simpler. IMAP is newer and more complex. Both retrieve the message from the server and manage mailboxes; POP deletes the original message and IMAP keeps a copy of the message on the server.
Outgoing: SMTP is Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. It is a delivery protocol only and yet a third area for settings. An advanced setting is the Port. This is the entry door (Portal) that the host server has left open to allow the SMTP-based message through which to enter.
Email is not so easy after all. But now you know the only terms and principles to allow you to set it up for any message that does not need HIPAA compliance and security for medical collaboration.
These are references and instructions specific to many common servers or ISPs.
A more complete description and list is available with this PDF.
This reference is the Rosetta Stone for many, many settings.
Cheat sheet (more general settings):
Forum showing a problem and an unannounced fix:
3g (previous iOS):
Time Warner Roadrunner
More indepth information about protocols from Wikipedia (also the source for the diagram)
POP3 Post Office Protocol:
IMAP Internet Message Protocol:
SMTP Secure Mail Transfer Protocol:
Thus, incoming emails are set with a POP or IMAP protocol and outbound ones are set with SMTP. After understanding that, it is a matter of just filling in the blanks. If you would like to learn more about iClickCare and how it makes secure medical collaboration delightful and easy, then start with the ClickCare home page.