Fix a “Cannot Verify Server Identity” Error on iPhone or iPad

The Mail app that comes with your iPhone or iPad is great for integrating your email accounts into one app—that is, until it stops talking to your mail server. Here are some potential fixes for when Mail gives you a “Cannot Verify Server Identity” message.

Change or Reset Your Connection

The first thing to try is a different internet connection or a reset of your connection. Although both your device and the mail server may be fine, it’s possible that your local internet connection has developed an issue.

Most connection issues to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) are resolved by disconnecting from it, waiting a few minutes, and then connecting again. Turn off your router and your modem (if they are separate devices) wait a minute or so and then turn everything on again. For a completely clean new slate, consider resetting your network connection on-device as well.

Related: How to Reboot Your Router and Modem

Kill the App

Both iOS and iPadOS are aggressive about keeping an app’s memory state in long-term storage. So it’s quite possible that your Mail app has not been closed for months or even years.

Swipe up from the bottom of your screen until the app carousel appears. Swipe right until you find the mail app, and swipe the app itself up to kill it. Then open it again to see if that resolved the issue.

Restart Your Device

Restarting your device is a common broad troubleshooting tip, but something that a surprising number of people forget to do when having problems with their technology.

If you’ve never turned your iPhone or iPad off, simply hold the volume up and side button in until you see “Slide to power off” and then move the slider all the way until the device turns off. Then press and hold the side button to switch the device back on.

Related: Why Restarting Your Phone Makes it Perform Better and Fixes Common Issues

Check for iOS Updates

The Mail app is a first-party Apple app, so when you update iOS or iPadOS you also get a new version of Mail and all the other bundled iOS applications. If your server error is the result of an outdated app or a bug in iOS or the app, an update is a fast way to resolve the issue.

To do this, check out our guides to updating an iPhone and updating an iPad.

Check If the Server Is Really Down

An error that tells you that the server isn’t acting the way it should may really be the result of a server malfunction. The fastest way to check if the email server is actually acting up or if it’s just you, use a site such as DownDetector to see if the service provider for the problematic account is online or not.

Using DownDetector is relatively simple. All you have to do is type the name of your email provider into the site’s search bar and it will return a result telling you whether other users are also complaining or unable to access their accounts.

If your email is provided by a private server, such as your company email server, you won’t find that information here. Instead, you’ll have to get in touch with the helpdesk or system administrator for that email server.

Disable SSL

While we don’t recommend it in general, it does appear that some users have managed to get rid of this error by disabling SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption for that account. However, if you do this it means that your emails can be intercepted and read, so tread carefully.

Open the Settings app and go to Mail > Accounts.

Mail Settings iOS

Then select the account type you’re having issues with

iOS Mail Account Settings

Choose Account.

iOS Mail Settings Account Selection

Choose Advanced.

iOS Advanced Mail Account Settings

Under “Incoming Settings” change “Use SSL” toggle to the off position.

iOS Mail SSL Toggle

Remove the Account and Add it Back From Scratch

If none of the above troubleshooting tips do the trick, you might want to remove the email account from your device entirely and then add it back again.

Go to Settings > Mail > Accounts and select the problematic account. At the bottom of the account settings page, select “Delete Account” and

Delete iOS Mail Account

Confirm it by selecting “Delete from my iPhone” or “iPad”.

Mail iOS Account Delete Confirmation

Once the account is deleted, go to Settings > Mail > Accounts. Then tap “Add Account” and enter your account information as instructed.

Add iOS Mail Account

If that doesn’t work, you may have to consider a factory reset of your phone , but before you take such a drastic step triple-check your account details and check with your mail provider to see if there are any known issues.

You may also want to try a third-party mail app! Microsoft’s Outlook App is a solid alternative to Mail, and you can even add non-Gmail accounts to the Gmail app.

Related: How to Configure Mail Settings for iPhone and iPad

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