Now that you have created your new AOL email account or AIM messenger account, you will need to know how to access your mail, contacts, calendar, instant messages and everything else if you aren’t on your home computer where you are set to be signed in automatically (more on that later). And when you do use some other computer to sign in to your AOL Mail, you will also need to be sure you are able to log out when you are finished so that no unauthorized users can see your private mail.
How to sign in to AOL Mail
If you want to get to your AOL inbox to check your email or send a message, or simply access your personalized portal, the first step is simple and intuitive. Just open up any internet browser, and go to www.aol.com.
Now, look at the upper right-hand corner of the screen. If you are still signed in from before, you will see your name or user ID there. Otherwise, it may not be immediately clear where you have to go in order to log in to AOL Mail. In that same upper-right corner, you should see an envelope-shaped “mail” icon. Click on this icon to go to the AOL sign in page.
Once you are on the login screen, the rest of the process is straightforward and probably what you are expecting. Simply type your AOL email address or username into the first field, and then enter your account password into the second field. Remember that this is the password you chose when you created your account, and it is case-sensitive, which means that uppercase and lowercase letters are considered separate characters.
When you are sure you have typed in your email and password correctly, click on the blue “Sign in” button.
Note: If you are using your personal, private computer and want to stay logged in to AOL so that you don’t have to sign in every time you want to check your email, you can check the box next to “Remember Me”. This way, you won’t be automatically signed out when you close your browser window or turn off your computer.
This is NOT recommended for shared computers, because it will give other users easy access to your email and other account features.
In just a few seconds, depending on your internet speed, you will be taken to your personalized AOL account portal, which looks just like the normal home page but with a few subtle differences. For example, you’ll see your username in the upper right-hand corner, along with local weather. Meanwhile, on the left side of the screen, you’ll see a new navigation bar that will lead you to your AOL inbox and other email folders, as well as your contact list, calendar, etc.
How to sign out of AOL Mail
After you have done everything you need to do in your AOL account, like checking email, it’s a good idea to sign out in order to protect your privacy.
When you are using your own private computer, this isn’t necessary. But if you are using a shared PC, and especially if you are using a public computer (like at the library, for example), then knowing how to sign out of AOL Mail is extremely important.
To do this, go over to the upper right-hand corner of your AOL account portal again, where you see your username. Right below your name is an option that says “Sign Out”. All you have to do is click on it.
You might see this little waiting/loading screen while AOL works to log you out of your email and account. Just wait a few seconds, and you’ll be redirected to another page that confirms you were successfully signed out of AOL.
How to sign in to AIM messenger
If you have an AOL Mail account, you automatically have access to AIM instant messenger as well. There is a way to get to this feature from inside your email (we’ll talk about that in another post), but you can also go there directly, without having to log into your email first.
On the other hand, if you are one of the lucky few and were able to recover an old AIM screenname, your AIM account is not attached to an AOL Mail inbox. This means that you cannot access your instant messenger through the regular mail portal the way newly created accounts can. Instead, you’ll have to follow the steps provided in this section.
First, open your internet browser and go to www.aim.com.
You will see the AIM home page, which is also the login screen, unlike the AOL Mail portal. I’m sure you can figure out what you need to do from here, but just so that we’re all on the same page: type your AIM screenname (which is the same as your AOL email address, if you have one) and your account password into their respective boxes. Make sure everything is typed correctly, and remember that the password is case-sensitive.
When everything is entered, click “Sign In”.
In no time, you’ll see your AIM main page, with your buddy list and a place to enter the email of the person you want to start chatting with.
How to sign out of AIM messenger
Once you have finished chatting, it’s a good idea to log out of AIM before you leave the computer so that no one else can see your private messages. When using your private, personal PC, you don’t necessarily need to do this, but it should always be done on a computer that multiple people have access to.
When you are ready to sign out of AIM chat, simply go to the upper left-hand corner of the screen. You will see your name, or possibly a “display name” that you have chosen, and next to your name there is a small arrow that will open up a menu of options. Click on the arrow.
In the drop-down menu that unfolds, the very last option says “Sign Out”. Click on this to be logged out of AIM messenger.
Just like when logging out of AOL Mail, you may get a loading screen while the sign-out process is finished, but it should only take a few seconds.
And there you have it! Knowing how to sign in and sign out of AOL email and AIM messenger is one of the most basic steps for using your account, and also one of the simplest things you can do to keep it secure.
To get started using your email service on AOL, make sure you read our next tutorial on sending messages and attachments using AOL Mail!