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Mutt, Mac and IMAP

Written by
Date: 2014-09-07 15:15:00 00:00

Using Mutt with Mac to read Office 365 IMAP account

I love using lightweight software to do simple tasks, I mean why on earth would you like to use bloated software to perform easy tasks like reading and writing emails?

That is why I decided to use mutt when on my Mac to read my personal email account.

Here is my setup.

  • Office 365 Exchange account (Just because it is not expensive and supports ActiveSync)
  • Mutt on my Mac to read and write while working on the computer
  • Postfix configured to work with a SmartHost for sending emails

Mutt Setup

I have installed mutt using Homebrew.

brew install mutt

If you are on Ubuntu, sudo apt-get install mutt will work.

We know need to configure mutt to work with your IMAP account.

set imap_user=“user@domain” #your IMAP user name or login
set imap_pass=“password” #your IMAP password

set smtp_authenticators="login"
set ssl_use_sslv3=yes
set timeout=15

I know it is not a good idea to put your password in a simple text file, but I am the only one with access to this computer and if I lost it, I have my hard drive encrypted using FileVault. In my Ubuntu machine I have my home folder encrypted too. If you really are paranoid you can of course leave imap_pass unset and mutt will ask for your password.

set mbox="imap://"
set postponed="imap://"
set spoolfile="imap://"
set folder="imap://"
set record="imap:// Items"   #set trash="imap:// Items"

Pretty self explanatory, but the trash variable can not be used on my Mac, as the version from brew was not compiled with it, so, the emails I delete on mutt are gone forever as soon as I close Mutt. I am OK with that.

#set smtp_url="smtp://"
#set smtp_pass=“password”
set smtp_url="smtp://localhost/"
set from=""
set realname="Guillermo Garron"

As you can see, smtp_url and smtp_pass are commented, that is as I said I am relying on local Postfix to deliver my emails, this is because if I loss Internet connectivity while writing my email I do not want Mutt waiting forever for the connection. That is Postfix’s job.

Postfix Setup

Now is the turn for Postfix, I have set it up to work with Office 365 STMP server so my mails are not bounced depending on the IP.

biff = no
command_directory = /usr/sbin
config_directory = /etc/postfix
daemon_directory = /usr/libexec/postfix
data_directory = /var/lib/postfix
debug_peer_level = 2	
debugger_command = PATH=/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/X11R6/bin xxgdb $daemon_directory/$process_name $process_id &	sleep 5
dovecot_destination_recipient_limit = 1
html_directory = /usr/share/doc/postfix/html
imap_submit_cred_file =
inet_interfaces = loopback-only
inet_protocols = ipv4
mail_owner = _postfix
mailbox_size_limit = 0
mailq_path = /usr/bin/mailq
manpage_directory = /usr/share/man
message_size_limit = 10485760
mydomain_fallback = localhost
mynetworks =, [::1]/128
newaliases_path = /usr/bin/newaliases
queue_directory = /private/var/spool/postfix
readme_directory = /usr/share/doc/postfix
recipient_delimiter = +
relayhost = []:587
sample_directory = /usr/share/doc/postfix/examples
sendmail_path = /usr/sbin/sendmail
setgid_group = _postdrop
smtp_generic_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/generic
smtp_sasl_auth_enable = yes
smtp_sasl_password_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/sasl_password
smtp_sasl_security_options = noanonymous
smtp_use_tls = yes
smtpd_client_restrictions = permit_mynetworks	permit_sasl_authenticated permit
smtpd_tls_ciphers = medium
smtpd_tls_exclude_ciphers = SSLv2, aNULL, ADH, eNULL
tls_random_source = dev:/dev/urandom
unknown_local_recipient_reject_code = 550
use_sacl_cache = yes

There are two more steps before it is ready.

Put in /etc/postfix/sasl_password file something like this: user@domain:password

And run

sudo postmap /etc/postfix/sasl_password

Finally add this line to /etc/postfix/generic

user@localhost user@domain

and run:

sudo postmap /etc/postfix/generic

That is it, you now just have to restart Postfix

sudo postfix reload

And start using Mutt.