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Verizon to Drop Email Service

If Verizon is your ISP, and you use a email address, we have some bad news: Verizon has announced that it’s shutting down its email business. This move may affect more than 1100 TidBITS and Take Control readers. (Joe Kissell addressed a number of the issues raised by Verizon’s move in “FlippedBITS: Misconceptions about Changing Email Addresses,” 4 March 2014.)

Verizon hasn’t specified exactly when the shutdown will happen, but the good news is that you will be able to keep your email address.

Now for some potentially bad news: if you decide to keep your Verizon email address, you’ll have to use it with the free AOL Mail service. Verizon purchased AOL in 2015 in what was thought to be strictly a content play, but now it looks as though Verizon had some other ideas in mind as well (see “Verizon to Buy AOL,” 12 May 2015). The upside if this approach is that Verizon will transfer your email messages, contacts, and calendars automatically.

If you decide to switch to another email host, you’ll have until the shutdown date to migrate your email and other data to your new address. Verizon says that when you log into, you should see an “Email service notice” with further information and instructions. Verizon also says that it will post the shutdown date there.

I recommend transferring your existing email address to AOL Mail, even if you don’t plan to use it. That way, even if you switch providers, you can still have AOL Mail forward any stray messages to your new address. There are a couple of ways to do this: Techwalla explains how to set up forwarding from AOL, while the Houston Chronicle describes a method that takes advantage of Gmail’s POP3 import to download mail directly from AOL. This latter method should also work with most other email providers.

If you’re shopping for a new email service, we can offer a few suggestions. Google’s Gmail is an obvious choice, and it’s TidBITS publisher Adam Engst’s preference. Gmail is free and offers innovative features, but it’s designed to be used via its Web interface or native iOS apps. Or, you can be like Adam and use Mailplane, which wraps the Gmail Web interface in a native Mac app (see “Zen and the Art of Gmail, Part 4: Mailplane,” 16 March 2011). If you want to access Gmail via Apple Mail or another standard IMAP client, you may run into usage quirks, since Google bolted on Gmail’s IMAP support afterward.

Apple’s iCloud email is another obvious choice, though it’s not as feature-rich as Gmail. Plus, if storing your mail in iCloud pushes you over the 5 GB of storage space that you get for free, you’ll need to pay Apple for more. However, iCloud email is second to none in terms of integration with Apple devices and can be used on other platforms. Our own Michael Cohen has been using it as his primary email account since the days of iTools.

Several other TidBITS contributors and I use FastMail, which is a paid service, but it works well with Apple Mail, offers excellent customer support, and lets you use your own domain name. FastMail is the only non-Apple email provider I’m aware of that offers IMAP push email on iOS. FastMail’s spam filtering isn’t as good as Gmail’s, but I’ve found that C-Command Software’s SpamSieve does a fantastic job. (TidBITS members receive a 20 percent discount on SpamSieve.)

The painful part of any email migration is moving existing messages from your old account to the new one. Gmail and FastMail both offer instructions on how to do this. You can also use Apple Mail to transfer mail between accounts manually by copying messages from a mailbox in one IMAP account to another mailbox in a different IMAP account. We’ve found that such transfers usually work fine for a relatively small number of messages, but trying to do a complete migration that way may require a lot of babysitting, restarting, and verification work.

Email is a complex topic, so if you have questions that you’d like us to cover more in-depth in future articles, let us know in the comments!


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Comments about Verizon to Drop Email Service
(Comments are closed.)

Jeff Hecht  2017-04-10 16:03
One important note, and one additional option to consider.

Verizon is handling this oddly, and their FAQs say they will notify you when it's time to move. So you will not find any notice in your Verizon Webmail (or wherever you get your Verizon email) until they're ready.

Also, you can use Apple Mail to download GMail with POP3, if that works for you. Be aware that with POP3 GMail keeps spam in a folder that you can only see in webmail.
Lindsley Williams  2017-04-10 16:54
In another list community, I read that Google Docs is not HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) compliant.

Is there a way to establish if the various email providers are or can be set to be so?
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2017-04-10 17:16
Google is your friend:

Sounds like the free version of Gmail is not HIPPA-compliant, but the paid version is.
gastropod  2017-04-10 19:12
Well, it's HIPAA compliant IF you have a signed contract for your circumstances. E.g. paid Google Docs has HIPAA on a feature checklist, which means that they're willing to enter into such a contract. At my university, Google Docs (logged into the correct way) is HIPAA (and FERPA) compliant because lawyers made it so, but if I just got a paid Google Docs account for myself, it wouldn't be.
Linda Hackling  2017-04-13 14:14
So many get this wrong. It's NOT "HIPPA." It's HIPAA." Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act."
Scott Hoenig  2017-04-10 16:58
It seems like if you use the Mac Mail program for your mail client, or any other mail client, the SMTP/POP settings will continue to work. You have to tell them you want to keep your address, but that's it. The only change would be if you want web mail access. So Verizon is keeping its mail servers--they're just dropping support for their web mail application. That's what I can figure out from the FAQs they have.
Scott Hoenig  2017-04-10 21:58
I forgot to mention that you also need to make sure you set your "new" AOL webmail password to match your existing Verizon mail password, or you have to change that in the Apple Mail settings, as well.
Peter Flint  2017-04-10 21:19
Just an aside that in addition to Mailplane, Postbox works pretty well with Gmail as an alternative to Apple Mail, and looks and feels very similar to Mail, in a good way. I made the switch a few years ago when Mail got wiggy with Gmail. No regrets.
Another very good paid email service is Hushmail. They do support imap for the iPhone. They have personal and business plans with varied data storage. Works with Mail/Thunderbird/Postbox, etc. or their web interface. They even have free web only accounts. You can send encrypted emails, have aliases, security features, HIPPA-compliant, and they are pretty reliable.
rwwilson147  2017-04-11 02:19
Yup, Email is a complex topic.
I left ATT as an ISP a few months ago and my email account seems to have lost its outbound mail function. I've been using Thunderbird for many years but it looks like I'm going to need a new client. I'm having to use the online Yahoo mail site for email Send function now, which I don't like much. Rather better to have the whole database including Sent, etc., on one's hard drive. Do you have suggestions for me?
Thanks for you work and any suggestions you may have to ease my transition.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2017-04-11 10:15
This article should help!
Carol Sierzega  2017-04-11 10:42
I found that the Email migration from Verizon to AOL to be smooth and simple. You should, however, check your AOL webmail settings on the AOL site. AOL mail is very serious about marking emails as spam, even from some email senders that were not spammers in the Verizon email. I found several in my AOL Spam folder that I actually wanted to receive in my Apple Mail inbox. It's easy to change the AOL Mail setting for emails that are not spam so the emails that you want will land in your Apple Mail Inbox on your Mac.
David Laffitte  2017-04-11 16:46
No info from Verizon regarding the change. Nothing from them. Nothing when I go to webmail site. Dead silence from VZ.
Anonymous  2017-04-13 11:17
My transition went smoothly, but I'm still mystified about the whole IMAP/POP thing. And yes, I've looked at the Take Control book. I use Apple Mail because I want my messages to live in folders on my hard drive, but I also want to avoid downloading the read messages I don't want to keep on both my phone and laptop. My somewhat kludgy workaround is to look at them first in the web interface and delete anything I don't want to keep, check the Spam box for errant good stuff, then download into Mail on my devices. There's got to be a better way.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2017-04-13 14:27
There is, and it's IMAP. :-)

This article from 2013 (which appears in an updated form in our "Are Your Bits Flipped?" book), should eliminate your confusion.

The full book is here:
Scott Randell  2017-04-13 18:36
I actually have not received anything from Verizon notifying me of this. I just logged on, and not a message about that in sight. Where is this coming from?
Peggy Heller  2017-05-19 11:55
What is the most efficient way to convert all my verizon mail to Apple mail, which I already use on all my devices? Is there any easy way rather than individually notifying all my verizon users to switch to my iCloud addresses?