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iPhone issue – Server error Contact your server administrator Cannot get mail

Got the above error message on a users iPhone today – It was easy for me to trouble shoot as the user also uses an iPad and indicated he was also having problems downloading mail on that device.

Symptoms: When the iPhone mail app is accessed a notification appears towards the bottom for a number of seconds indicating “Downloading” but no new e-mails are downloaded and after a few more seconds the “Server error – Contact your server administrator – Cannot get mail” error message appears.

If you’ve already tried adding/removing the ActiveSync account details (and all the other recommended troubleshooting steps) and your device still cannot download e-mail – go back to the day your iPhone/iPad stopped receiving mail in Outlook (or whatever desktop client you normally use) and delete all mails from that day. Also empty your “Deleted Items” to be safe.

Your device cannot download new e-mails because one of the e-mails you’ve received has become corrupted and is now holding up other mails in the queue.

Once you’ve deleted the corrupted mail you should then be able to download the newer ones.

~ by Martin on June 14, 2011.

Mobile Applications, Troubleshooting

24 Responses to “iPhone issue – Server error Contact your server administrator Cannot get mail”

  1. Thanks for the interesting information. Subscribe to rss

  2. Just a note to thank you very, very much for this post. I have spent the better part of the day on the phone with my help desk, Verizon, and Apple to no avail. No one could figure out what was wrong. I think I’ve added and deleted and wiped, and so on and so forth about 10-15 times today. Nothing. Finally, 12 hours later, I decide to google it (which is what I should have done first) and found the answer in your post and implemented your solution within 10 seconds. God bless!

    • Great! Glad I could help Chiqui – that comment has made my day. All the best from sunny Ireland.

      • How can I get a server address? It says it has to be provided by my admistraitor, not the same problem as this though just having difficulty finding someone that may be able to help.

        • Hi Charlotte,
          Which e-mail provider are you using? If it’s g-mail the server should be m.google.com.
          If it’s hotmail try m.hotmail.com in the “Server” field.

          Hope that works for you.


  3. I am having the same problem but it still hasn’t worked after your solution. I don’t know what to do and I’m getting frustrated with this. Do you have any other advice?

    • Hi Taylar – First double check your connection settings (check with your service provider to make sure they haven’t changed server settings without telling you). Then try setting up your e-mail on a friends iPhone. If the server settings are correct and you can replicate the problem on a friends phone it means you’ve still got a corrupt e-mail somewhere in your mailbox Use a desktop mail or web mail client (a lot of service providers give access to mail via a web login these days) to clear out mails from the day your iPhone stopped receiving mail – if it still doesn’t work, clear out your Drafts, Sent Items, Deleted Mail, Sub folders etc (you get the picture) then empty your Bin (in the desktop or web mail client again). Hope that works….

  4. Thankyou! Your information worked, but I did have to do a power on reset.

  5. Thank you so much with regard to giving me an update on this topic on your blog..Thanks for your time and consideration of other individuals by making this web site available.

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  8. Hello! I just would like to give an enormous thumbs up for the great information you

  9. My server won’t let me go on this website and I try so many times and fail.

    • Hi Meghan,
      Did you start having this problem directly after updating to iOS 7? If so I don’t think the issue I described in my post relates to your problem. I think you need to re-install iOS on your iPhone. If that’s not the case please give me a little more detail about your issue…


  10. Hi guys i need server address for app BES10 for iphone can you help me

    • Hi Abdullah,
      If your BES is a hosted server which it sounds like it is – you’ll probably have better luck contacting your IT administrator or your internet service/mail service provider for those details. Without knowing more details I can’t help you out.


  11. Good article!

  12. I ave a problem with this stupid phone

  13. Hi I followed those instructions. when I add the email address on another iPad the mails download and open but when I to re-add the emails address on the original iPad I still get the “cannot get mail” error

    • Hi Kabelo,
      I’d first double check to make sure you’re using the correct e-mail configuration settings and correct account password on the original iPad (confirm by comparing with the 2nd iPad, since that’s working) then try resetting your iPads network settings so see if this prompts your e-mail to download. Also check the time settings on your original iPad are correct. Hope that helps.

      – Martin

  14. Hi, I’ve just tried deleting everything and still has not worked, the emails I have “deleted” have all re appeared! I’ve also re started my iPad & deleted and re added the email account. I don’t know what’s going on. At first I was reading an email from a company I get everyday and then suddenly the email is not loading anymore and I get a pop up saying
    ” Cannot Get Mail
    Server error.
    Contact your server administrator. ”
    It all happened quite randomly and nothing that people have suggested on various websites have solved the issue

    • Hi Lh2704
      It sounds like you’ve setup your iPad e-mail to connect via POP3 – but left the option “To Leave a copy on the server” switched on. That could explain why your old e-mails reappear even though you’ve deleted them

      OK – So you’ve accessed your ISP or company’s e-mail, on a device that’s not your iPad or iPhone? If not you need to do that…

      A lot of ISP’s company’s provide a facility to access mail via https:// or http:// for example http://www.usc.edu/office365. Please connect to your e-mail account using that facility then delete the first couple of e-mails that arrived before and after you started encountering the mail delivery issue on your iPad
      Also make sure you delete everything in your accounts Binned items, and/or any e-mails in Deleted Items (while still connected to your account via the https:// interface)

      Once you’ve done that try refreshing the Inbox on your iPad.

      If that doesn’t work – this most likely means there’s something else wrong, possibly with your connection settings or another issue.
      I wrote the https://www.martinbirrane.com/iphone-issue-server-error-contact-your-server-administrator-cannot-get-mail/ post back in 2011 for a much older version of iOS, so the fix described here may not necessarily work for your issue if you’re running one of the more recent version of iOS

      Hope that helps though – Martin

      • I fixed it. I went onto my email on the website and deleted emails on there and then the Mail app was then fixed haha, thank you though

        • That was the idea behind the post! It’s good to share the knowledge…

          Glad it’s working for you now


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