When Apple announced iCloud + at WWDC 2021, it revealed that paid iCloud tiers would receive additional perks such as support for Private Relay and Hide My Email. Another benefit included with iCloud + is the ability to set up a custom iCloud Mail email domain.
The new Custom Mail feature, which is currently in beta, is something iCloud Mail users like me have wanted for years. In this walkthrough, I show you how to set it up.
Why use a custom email domain?
There are several reasons why you might want to choose a custom domain for email. For starters, if you have a business, it can make your business more legitimate. Most importantly, custom email domains allow you to “own” your email address, providing portability that lets you move it between email hosts. If an email host goes out of business or their business practices no longer match mine, I can move them to any host I want whenever I want. I could even host it myself if I wanted to, but this is a tutorial for another day.
Video: How to set up an iCloud Mail custom email domain
A few things to keep in mind
First of all, custom email domains for iCloud Mail are still a beta feature and therefore are only available through beta.icloud.com at this time. With that in mind, I don’t recommend hosting your custom domain with iCloud Mail for very important email addresses or critical jobs. Keep in mind that these are only the settings recommended by Apple. Advanced users can have their own specific DNS record settings according to their needs.
Email hosted on iCloud is also limited to just five domains, and there is currently no wildcard support. In other words, you cannot yet set up a catch-all for emails sent to addresses that are not yet set up.
Guide: How to set up an iCloud Mail custom email domain
The first thing to do before setting up a custom email domain is to own a custom domain. If you already have a domain, you are already one step ahead. If you don’t have a domain yet, it’s very easy to purchase one using a domain registrar. I used Float for years, and I highly recommend it, but you can use any registrar you want.
Once you have a custom domain, you can proceed with setting up your iCloud email with your custom domain.
Step 1: To connect to beta.icloud.com
2nd step: Scroll until you see Custom email domain. Click on the Manage button.
Step 3: On the Custom Email Domain page, select who will use the domain you want to add. To choose Only you whether you will be the only person to use the domain and all associated email addresses. If you want to allow family members to use the domain and associated email addresses, select You and your family. In this tutorial, we will follow the Only You path, but the differences are few.
Step 4: Enter the domain you want to use with iCloud Mail and click Continue. In this example tutorial, I am using duckybenjamin.com, which I purchased from Hover specifically for this tutorial.
Step 5: Since this guide shows you how to set up iCloud Mail with a new custom domain. Click ignore the Add existing email addresses section, we’ll come back and add email addresses to the domain later.
Step 6: Click the View As button Update your domain registrar’s settings. This will open a window describing all the DNS records you will need to add to your domain registrar.
Step 7: Log in to your domain registrar and select your custom domain. If you have any existing DNS records associated with mail, you may decide to delete them at this time.
Step 8: Add the listed DNS records to your domain registrar. You must add a total of five records. The records you need to add are:
|Type||Host name||Mail server||Priority||TTL|
|SMS||[your_domain.com]||view personal TXT record provided by Apple||ten||3600|
|SMS||[your_domain.com]||v = spf1 redirect = icloud.com||ten||3600|
|Type||Host name||Target name||TTL|
A few points to note:
- Please observe the deadline at the end of the mail server for MX records.
- Apple provides custom content values for one of the TXT records.
- The CNAME record is the only record that does not present your domain as a host name.
- The target name of the CNAME record includes your domain in the full address.
- TTL values of 3600 = 1 hour
Step 9: Once all the required records are added to your domain registrar, click the Finish setup button to confirm that your settings are correct. It may take several minutes for changes to propagate. Therefore, if you get an error message asking you to verify your MX or SPF record, try again in a few minutes. If you continue to get the error after an extended period of time, verify that you entered the records correctly.
Step 10: After the DNS records are verified, you will receive a message that your domain is ready for use with iCloud Mail. Click the Continue button to continue.
Step 11: Add an email address using the section we skipped in step 5. You need to make sure your email address includes your newly configured custom domain. In my case, I added [email protected] Click Add Email Address to confirm.
Assuming you’re signed in to iCloud on your iOS and Mac devices, you can start receiving notifications that your new email address is available for use with iMessages and FaceTime. If you are not signed into iCloud on your devices, do so now and make sure Mail is enabled for iCloud.
Step 12: Open the Mail app and you should see your custom domain available in the Of dropdown list. You can now send and receive emails through iCloud Mail with your custom domain.
In a matter of minutes, you can buy a new domain and get it working on iCloud Mail. Of course, you don’t have to use iCloud Mail with your custom domain, you can use hosting from Google, FastMail, or others. Whatever you decide to choose, I’m a big advocate of setting up your own custom email domain.
Are you using a custom email domain? Why or why not? Express yourself in the comments with your thoughts.
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