This mail account already exists

On your Mac, you can receive an error saying ‘The Account Already Exists’ when you try and add an email to your Apple mail.

This problem can be really frustrating especially when you’re trying to use your Apple mail.

I’m going to show you how to get rid of this error message so that you can add an email to your Apple mail.

Let’s get started…

The Reason for this Error

You’re seeing ‘The Account Already Exists’ error because there’s a problem with iCloud Keychain.

iCloud Keychain syncs a lot of data across all of your Apple device – the email you’re trying to add is amongst your iCloud data trying to sync but’s it’s stuck.

When you sign out of iCloud, the email in Keychain stops syncing, therefore, you’re able to add the email to your Apple Mail.

Sign in and Out of iCloud on Mac

  1. Click the Apple logo at the top left and go to System Preferences
  2. Click on iCloud in the third row
  3. Click Sign out to sign out of iCloud
  4. Add the mail account to Apple mail
  5. Sign back into iCloud
  6. The Account Already Exists should no longer pop up

The error usually affects all versions of Mac OS X EL Capitan.

Sign in and Out of iCloud iPhone

  1. Go to Settings > click your name
  2. Scroll down and tap Sign Out
  3. Enter your Apple ID password and tap Turn Off
  4. Turn on the data that you want to keep a copy of on your device
  5. Tap Sign Out
  6. Add the mail account to Apple mail
  7. Go to Settings > iCloud and sign in with the Apple ID

After you’ve done this, the error message should no longer pop up on your Mac or your iPhone.

Bottom Line

The best way to get rid of the error would be to sign out then back into iCloud.

If these steps didn’t work and you’re still having problems, comment down below and I’ll help you.

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  1. Hello,
    I have always had my email on my iphone and my macbook pro, no problem. Now I would like to also use the apple mail client on my imac that I purchased. So I’d like one email address to be read in three places. I’ve tried logging in and out of icloud on all three devices. I’ve uninstalled mail on my phone since it said the incoming client was (my website email goes through gmail). Nothing I do seems to work. Is it simply not possible to have more than one actual computer (macbookpro and imac) get the same email?
    Thank you very much for your time,

  2. This is still not working. I deleted my gmail on my iphone 6 and cannot add it again. I go through the steps and then it quickly takes me to a greyed out mail and then back to all the colourful email symbols without adding gmail. What can I do. HELP please.

  3. I’ve logged out icloud on my macbook but cannot log in again. It showed that ‘icloud account already exists’. What should I do?

  4. I had a working Comcast email account on my iMac (10.13.6). It stopped working and would not accept the password I entered (verified it is correct). I deleted the account and tried to add it back but get the “account already exists” message . Signed out of iCloud but no change. Rebooted, ensured I was still signed out, and no change.

  5. great sounding idea. thank you for trying but this didn’t work for me.
    through Internet accounts, I still get massage saying the account already exists. Through Mail preferences I get message saying check user name and password.
    I have had this issue for weeks. I have changed password and checked it is correct. I have checked STMP settings are correct. I have deleted iCloud and tried to add yahoo mail account, as said above, and failed.
    I initially read that deleting and re-ading the yahoo account would work but alas.
    the detection doctor says mail is online but my yahoo account is not.
    I think it might be a yahoo issue but then i have no problems sending and receiving mail from my iPhone or going direct to yahoo…its only through my Macmini7,1(late 2014).
    If you had any other ideas I would be grateful, thank you

  6. Thank you. Worked like a charm. I don’t use iCloud, but apparently on the last upgrade of OS (Sierra to High Sierra) I was signed in by default. Once I signed out of iCloud, I could add the account I had deleted earlier (trying to fix another problem–password verification).

  7. Hey there,

    I was able to link my exisiting icloud email address to “Mail” on my iphone by signing out and back in. thank you for that tip!
    What still doesnt work is to link my icloud with this exisiting icloud email address.
    It used to work finde until I had to reset my Iphone a few weeks back.

    Anytime I click the button in icloud settings to turn mail on, it says I have to create a new email address.

    Would be awesomely great if I could get help….



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