Error 503 – Valid RCPT command must precede DATA (iOS)

The “Error 503: Valid RCPT command must precede DATA” happens when sending emails. It’s telling you that your email server did not correctly authenticate your SMTP (outgoing mail) connection.

The two most common causes of this error are:

  • Your email server requires you to check email first before sending emails (checking email first is one way your email provider manages the security of your email account).
  • Your email client isn’t set up for SMTP Authentication.

Checking email before sending

When you first open your email client, it automatically checks your email first. However, if you attempt to send an email after about 30 minutes and see this message, simply check your email for new messages. You’ll then be able to send an email if this is the problem.

More often, Error 503 tells you that you need to set up SMTP Authentication in your email client.

Setting up SMTP Authentication

Configuring SMTP Authentication in your email client requires you to edit your email account SMTP (outgoing mail) settings. Add your email address and password to the SMTP settings, and you’ll receive no more Error 503 messages.

How you set up SMTP Authentication depends on the email client you use. Here’s how to set it up in iOS:

  1. On your iOS device, go to Settings.
  2. In the Settings screen, scroll down and click on Mail.
  3. In the Accounts list, click the email account for which you need to set up SMTP Authentication.
  4. The email information page for the account you selected opens. Scroll to the Outgoing Mail Server section and click your outgoing mail (SMTP) server.
  5. The SMTP page opens. At the top is the outgoing mail server for the account. Click on it.
  6. The settings for the outgoing mail server will open. Click the Use SSL slider to ON.
  7. Click the Server Port and set it to 465.
  8. Click Done. The new settings are verified. Close the Settings screen.

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