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Tue, Mar 9, 2021 10:49 PM

Login loop for apple users

TLDR at the bottom


So about a week ago my mom had three devices all set up with her ATT email address; she has an iPhone, iPad, and iMac. She then got a MacBook and wanted to add her email there. She had some problems setting it up so we called ATT to figure out what was going on. We had issues with the first service representative because they had no idea what secure mail key was, but we did eventually puzzle it out and added her email to the MacBook. Unfortunately, something we must've done kicked her out of the other three devices, they all kept saying something to the effect of ‘please reenter the password.’ It would not accept the ATT password, the yahoo mail password, or the secure mail key. Desperate, we decided to remove the account altogether from one of her devices and just add it back. According to ATT's website we had to add it as a yahoo account. So on her iPhone, we went into settings, mail, accounts, add account, Yahoo, enter username, enter username and password. It was at this point that we saw the set personal password screen; basically it asked us to reset the password, to agree to terms, and then hit continue. Okay, we did that.


It then kicked us back to the previous screen asking for the username and password. So we entered the username and the new password, but alas, it took us to the set personal password screen. This repeated no matter how many times we tried or how many different passwords we made up, also this would not accept the secure mail key. Funny enough, we knew that the password that we were entering was correct for two reasons, one is that we could still access her email on all devices through a web browser, and two, we got dozens of emails saying ‘your password was reset.’ Note, that this exact loop occurred for both the Apple Mail app and the Yahoo Mail app, so clearly something is not communicating properly. 


Thoroughly confused, we called ATT to figure this out. After demonstrating the above and getting transferred to 6 different places (not kidding), we got to a senior advisor to say that he was opening a ticket to ask the engineering department for a solution. Waited a few days, no reply. Called in again, reported the same issue and provided the case number (ERAM219500001465). No one knew what to do. Every time I talked with an ATT representative they all read from the same script, had the same answers that didn't work, and seems like no one there could look up the history of our case and read what was tried already. I found some ATT forum posts about the log-in loop and they all say the same thing, call ATT.


Armed with this new redundant knowledge, we called ATT again. Weirdly enough, I offered to show the ATT representatives on the phone the forum posts, as they have screenshots that may help, but no one could access the website, even though it is their website. Again we got transferred to several different places, a couple of times totally disconnecting when transferred and on three separate occasions they couldn't hear us on the phone (which I find ironic since it's a telephone company), when this happened that they had to hang up on us (again not good for a phone company). We got transferred to Connect Tech several times, one of which disconnected after a few minutes of talking to him. Irritating, but not a problem, because we got their number so we can call Connect Tech directly. We were then told that we will have to pay a subscription for Connect Tech services; so that was a big no.


After all of that, we decided to try a few more things. What eventually worked, was that we had to add it to her iPhone, iPad, and iMac as an ‘other’ account; directly opposing what it says on AT&T's website. When you do this, you have to type in the email address like normal, but the password is the secure mail key. For one of the devices it worked flawlessly, but on the other I had to change it back to IMAP (it defaulted to POP) and make sure the host name (imap.mail.att.net for incoming and smtp.mail.att.net for outgoing) and the username (email address I am trying to add) were correct


TLDR; If you encounter the vicious log-in loop, ignore what ATT Customer Service tells you by phone and on their website, if you're an Apple user, add to your AT&T email address as ‘other’ (not yahoo) and use the secure mail key as the password and change the host name. You may need to change the hostname to the incoming server to imap.mail.att.net, the hostname for the outgoing server to smtp.mail.att.net, and the username for both incoming and outgoing to the email address you are adding.

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