This is the nineteenth post in the 2017 FastMail Advent series. The previous post was about our usage of the modern web platform. The next post is a design spotlight on the Topicbox logo.

On Friday we launched a new feature to make it easier for our many users of Apple devices to set up their accounts with the built-in Mail, Contacts and Calendar apps.

While some people prefer the power and speed of our own app and webmail, others prefer the native integrations and offline support of the built-in apps on their iPhones, iPads and Macs. With our full support for push email, calendars and contacts, and custom tweaks for fast search, we aim to make FastMail the best service to use regardless of how you choose to read your mail.

Unfortunately, setting up your account can be tricky and error-prone. Proper support for autodiscovery of server settings is sadly missing still in most apps including Apple’s (despite the fact they literally wrote the spec…) and you have to set up mail, contacts and calendar syncing separately.

Howerver, now there is a better way thanks to a feature Apple provides called configuration profiles. A profile is a file which bundles all the settings needed for your account, and can easily be installed or removed from your phone or Mac.

Setting up your iPhone is now as easy as:

  1. Open the Settings → Password & Security screen on a PC or Mac and unlock the screen with your password (no awkward password entry on a mobile keyboard required!).
  2. Create a new app password. If you only want to set up mail and not calendars/contacts, you can choose that here.
  3. Open the Camera app on your iPhone and aim it at the QR code (2D barcode) on screen, then open the link when prompted.
  4. Tap Allow then Install to install the profile.

That’s it! Your mail, calendars and contacts are now all configured and ready to go. You’ll be up and running in no time, with nothing to type on your phone and no chance of messing up the settings. On a Mac the steps are very similar, but after creating the app password you’ll get a link to a file you just download and open to finish the setup. There’s further information in our documentation for iPhone/iPad and Mac.

We’re always looking for ways to make your email as hassle-free as possible, and we hope this saves many customers time and frustration in the future.