Following a tip from one of our members on the Club MacStories + Discord server last night (if you haven’t yet registered, it’s now a good time to do it), I came across the settings page on the beta.icloud.com website to set up a custom domain and email address with iCloud Mail. It’s the direct link on the settings page; it was working last night, but it seems to be having problems today.
Custom domains in iCloud Mail are a feature announced by Apple for the “renamed” iCloud + service at WWDC, which I was curious to try for two reasons: I have a personal domain that I can use to test this out, and iCloud Mail – unlike Gmail – supports proper push notifications on iOS. Given the beta nature of this feature, I don’t recommend trying it with your primary email address at this time; I set it up with a secondary email address that I barely used before.
I don’t recommend changing your primary custom email address to iCloud at this time, especially if your custom domain is used as the primary login for your Apple ID. But because I did …for science, I wanted to share some details on how it went.
After clicking on the link above, I was presented with a screen to choose if I wanted to set up a custom email domain just for me or for me and my family. I don’t hate my family and wouldn’t force them to test this feature just yet, so I chose the first option. The iCloud website then took me to a page where I had to enter my domain name and an existing email address that I was already using with that domain. This step is necessary because you will need to verify that you own the domain and its associated email address.
After verifying the email address by clicking a link in a message I received, iCloud was ready with instructions on how to update DNS records on my domain registrar’s website. This is the tricky part: Registrar websites have different ways of modifying DNS records and different propagation times, so you will need to be patient and careful. As you can see in the screenshots below, you will need to edit MX, TXT, and CNAME records for iCloud Mail. If you’ve ever added a custom domain to services like Gmail, you should be familiar with this process. Once you’ve changed the records, wait a bit (I had to wait a few minutes with mine), click the “Done” button and, if iCloud can find your updated DNS records, you’ll be good to go. .
Here’s the slightly confusing aspect of this process: As of iOS 15 beta 6, there is no section in the Settings app for iPhone and iPad that shows you the custom email addresses you’ve set up for iCloud Mail. Instead, they just to arrive after a while as an alias in the Mail app. I set up my custom email address last night, and it finally showed up as an option in the Mail app (by clicking the “From” field in the message editor to send a message) this morning alongside my other iCloud email aliases. You can, however, see the custom email addresses and set a default one on the iCloud beta website as shown below.
Rough edges are to be expected during a beta process, so I’m assuming the public version of this feature will have a proper presence in iCloud settings on all Apple devices. But for now, if you don’t know how to get started using a custom email address for iCloud, just wait until it shows up in Mail next to your aliases.
This is how you can set up a custom domain and email address with iCloud Mail right now. Apple has a support document you can read here if you want to learn more about DNS records and domain registrars. Now I just have to figure out what to do with this new personal email address.