Rebuild the Apple Mail database under OS X Mavericks to macOS Catalina

Delete Apple Mail files

For a few days now, I've been struggling with Apple's mail program, which closes after a few seconds after it starts. Apple Support has not been able to help me so far and has offered me a support ticket for 49 EUR, but to be honest, the stupid Apple Mail has now grabbed my honor. And of course I would like to save the 49 EUR ... :-)

Insert: Easier solution possible with Mac tool OnyX

What I only recently discovered: There is one free Mac app called "OnyX"which has an option "Mailboxes> Delete current index" under the menu area "Optimize". So you can forget these instructions below and simply have the app delete the corresponding files. If you don't want to work your way through the Apple Mail Library folder, you are welcome to use the tool. Everyone else can read on below.

The mail database or its index can also be rebuilt with the free Mac tool OnyX.

The mail database or its index can also be rebuilt with the free Mac tool OnyX.

Manually delete the Apple Mail mail database index

But this tip is only supposed to help people who want to rebuild their Apple Mail database. In earlier versions of OS X there was a trick where you had to hold down the ALT key while starting Mail to have Mail rebuild the DB, but that works on OS X. Mavericks (more ouch available) no more. For this reason, here are the instructions on how to solve it (works from OS X 10.7 to 10.15 (macOS Catalina)):

  • the first thing to do is to close Apple Mail
  • in the Finder hold down the "alt" key and select the "Library" folder in the "Go to" menu at the top (the folder is only visible if you hold down the ALT key)
  • then change to this folder "Mail" -> "V2" -> "MailData"
    Update: for Mojave please use this path: Mail> V6> MailData
    Update: January 07.01.2020th, 7: with macOS Cataliona the path is: Mail> VXNUMX> MailData
  • In the "MailData" folder you will find some files that begin with "Envelope Index"
  • these files must all be removed (deleted or moved) from the folder
  • when you start Apple Mail again, you will be informed that the database has to be recreated - this can take a few minutes, depending on the size
With this screenshot you can see where the envelope files can be found under macOS Mojave.

With this screenshot you can see where the envelope files can be found under macOS Mojave.

Update 30.05.2016: The instructions also work with OS X 10.10 "El Capitan", but in the 3rd step you have to open the folder "V3" and not "V2". This is where the corresponding data are under El Capitan.

Update 12.01.2019: I have just checked whether you can also follow these instructions under macOS Mojave (10.14). This works so far, only that the subfolder in "Mail" is not called "V2" or "V3" but "V6".

Here is another screenshot with my view of the MailData folder (under OS X 10.9) and the selected files that I have removed:

Delete Apple Mail files

These files can be seen in my MailData folder and the marked ones have to be deleted for Apple Mail to recreate the database.

Under the macOS High Sierra system, I have the "V5" folder, which is probably the corresponding folder for the current macOS. The folder is named "V6" for Mojave and "V7" for Catalina. Just take a look at what the highest value after the "V" in the file name is and access this folder. This means that these instructions should also work for future macOS versions.

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  1. Peter says:

    Brilliant instructions - it worked! but I'm still pissed off at Apple - they should have warned you. Thanks for the instructions!

    • Barbara says:

      It's even easier: at the bottom of the mailbox list it says "on my Mac" or "local"; If you point the mouse to the right of it, a link "Show mailboxes" appears! (High Sierra)

  2. Erwin Poshöfer says:

    the instructions were a complete success

  3. gee says:

    Funk super was almost desperate beforehand and wanted to uninstall mavericks again, before that mail had often used the cpu at 100% capacity, I received over 10.000 mails in some mailboxes ...

    • sir appleot says:

      Mail can handle a lot of mail. My local "mailbox" now has mails in the archive for several years and a volume of over 15 GB (yes GB not MB) ... if you have rebuilt the mail database, the mail management will work again smoothly. In the long run, however, you will not be happy with a defective mail DB, not least because of the unpredictable crashes that can take your nerve ...

      • Kerstin says:

        I deleted the data. . but I am not asked to create a new database. The signature display is no longer available. What I have done wrong? Work with El Capitan.

        • sir appleot says:

          Hello Kerstin!

          I don't think you will be asked to do so. Apple Mail simply creates the file when you restart - without any feedback. Unfortunately, I don't know what happened to the signatures. I suppose those will also be saved in one of the folders you deleted. Is everything else working?

          LG! Jens

          • Kerstin says:

            Hello Jens, otherwise everything works. However, when restarting Mail, the signature display is still missing. Did the same steps you instructed on a friend's MbP under El Capitan and it works as you described. . is there an overarching structure for the display that I might have deleted? 10 thanks!

          • sir appleot says:

            Hello Kerstin! That is hard to say. But look here:
            ~ / Library / Mail / V4 / MailData / Signatures
            There the signatures are with me (under macOS Sierra). If you copy this folder back in from the backup, the signatures should hopefully be there again.

          • Kerstin says:

            Hello Jens, thank you very much, the idea is great! The mail folder does not appear in the TM backup. Not even with the terminal command: Kerstin $ defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE. About to do a full backup. .

          • sir appleot says:

            Too bad. But if you search with Spotlight, you won't find it either. I think that won't be indexed. So you have to click through by hand until you are in the correct directory.

      • Hans says:

        Hello and thank you for the tip. Unfortunately I have the problem with mail every time I restart my mac. After deleting the envelope files, mail works again. But in the long run it is annoying to carry out the procedure after every restart of the mac. Is there a permanent solution to prevent mail from crashing? Thanks in advance.

        • sir appleot says:

          Hello Hans! Usually you only have to do this procedure once and then it should work permanently. In your case, I could only imagine that something is defective in the system. Perhaps you will make a backup with Carbon Copy Cloner on an external hard drive and reinstall macOS Sierra over it or repair the access rights. It shouldn't be that you have to do that again after every restart ... something is wrong. :(

  4. Christian says:

    That was a good help. Otherwise, Mail tends to hang a bit and gets incredibly tough - my Mail DB has also grown a lot by now. thanks

  5. Jens says:

    Hello, good guide!
    Also works at 10.10


    • sir appleot says:

      Hello, Jens! Great, then you can use the instructions for Mac OS X Yosemite. :) Will help a few people ... Mail problems are stable across all versions of OS X.;)

  6. […] Tried deleting the so-called “envelope files” (note: see my article here). Unfortunately, it doesn't work in this case. Is there another [...]

  7. Meadow like grass says:

    SIR Apfelot, you are simply the hottest!

    This variant actually runs under Mavericks as well as under Yosemite ... it's just a shame that these phenomena occur across all versions of the OS and Apple lets us users help themselves. The support was just as much too much for me, but my incentive didn't get me there like you did, although you really speak from my soul with your introduction. It shouldn't be that difficult, given the number of satisfied users, to fix such "teething troubles" on the part of Apple in the Mail.App. Even if text mails pose fewer security risks, most companies send htm or html mails and Apple can't get it right ...

    Another problem for me was the inconsistent font between the message block and html signatures. Unfortunately, one or the other HowTo didn't help me, such as editing the ~ / users / * Name * / Library / Preferences / Here I can recommend the "UniversalMailer" plug-in to anyone who has a similar problem. Running…

    Something that still annoys me is that Apple.Mail constantly but only sporadically and incorrectly reproduces, forgets the signature settings or assignments to the various mail accounts. You want to create a new mail and expect that the corresponding signature for the account is selected based on the respective marking of a mailbox. Ätsch ... go back to Settings> Signature and assign the signature to each account and ensure that the corresponding signature is automatically attached to the respective account.

    Until I have the right solution ready, I would rather be satisfied with doing this signature assignment manually every few days than throwing Apple down my throat for this epidemic. It doesn't even say that the support technician is up to the challenge. Experience has shown that he cannot localize the problem and recommends creating a new user account ... he has also thought of the individual settings of the respective user ... NO

    Charming greeting


    • sir appleot says:

      Thanks Daniel! :) Of course, I'm very happy about such comments. Blogging is usually a little one-sided, since you usually hardly get any feedback. But it encourages me to write more when I get such nice mail! I keep my fingers crossed that you can manage without the 49 EUR. I also think that the support would not have a silver bullet and would only recommend what you write: create new mail accounts. But I didn't really feel like doing that either ... it's always a huge sketch when you have thousands of emails in the administration. LG! The sir ...

  8. Other says:

    Hi Sir Applerot!
    Since the latest security update 2015-002 for Yosemite, Mail no longer starts at all. The "MailData" folder is EMPTY. When I copy the data from the backup folder, they appear briefly in "MailData" and after about 15 seconds. go away again ... So, I'm totally frustrated!
    Can you help me, SIR? ;-)
    Thank you!

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Andre! In that case I would suggest that you reinstall the system over it. To do this, press CMD + R when booting the Mac so that you start from the recovery partition. Maybe you can then let me know again whether that worked. I haven't had the case yet and only read the tip in the forum.

  9. Albrecht says:

    Thanks for the above instructions, some of which helped me.
    Dear Sir Apfelot!
    My problem is that I can no longer change the rules in Mail. In the preferences I can create new rules or delete old ones, but everything is the same again after restarting the program.
    I have now removed all files from the MailData folder that contain the word Rules and in fact all rules are gone when you restart - only the Apple News rule is there - and new ones can be created.
    But the next time I restart Mail, my rules are gone and the Apple News rule is in place. Obviously no mail rule file can be created and changed.
    Can you help me?
    In advance thank you!

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Albrecht!
      The problem seems to have existed before. This is probably due to the fact that user rights are not assigned correctly and the rules cannot be saved. Or the corresponding file is defective and cannot be written. I have selected an excerpt from a forum for you that will hopefully help you:
      If so, the combo update will do absolutely nothing, because the problem lies in the user library and it will not change it. The error message ~ / Library / Preferences… .. also indicates, hence my recommendation to bypass the user library by another user.
      Look for the plist file that belongs to Mail in the user library. It is probably damaged and can no longer be overwritten. Put them in the trash (do not delete yet!) And restart Mail so that the plist is created again. However, you will then have to set up all mail settings in addition to the mail account. Do not delete the old plist file until everything works again.

  10. Albrecht says:

    Addendum: I work with OS X 10.8.5 and Mail 6.6

  11. Michael Sazel says:

    Hello Sir Apfelot, I have a request and need your help: I ​​have the system on 2 Macs on 10.10. rearranged. New SSD hard drive - new system - no update. MAIL works fine on the MacBook. Searching in MAIL is possible to a limited extent on the MacPro. I received address suggestions in the search window - but no emails for the addresses were displayed. I've followed your advice a few times with rebuilding the database - no success. I re-created the email accounts - again without success. The Mac will find all entries under Spotlight. Do you have any advice for me? Thank you in advance. Greetings Michael

    • sir appleot says:

      Hi Michael! I had to think about your question for a few days and still didn't really understand what was going on. Are you looking for names in Mail and only names are suggested for addresses? But you would like an advertisement with an email address? Does he find the right emails when you search via email? Or are the search results also wrong? To me it sounds more like a display problem ... but maybe I haven't understood it 100% yet. :)

  12. walter says:

    Dear Sir,

    I had the same problem, Mail couldn't open after update 10.10.3, but your hint with envelope was spot on, thank you very much!


  13. JNR says:

    A perfect tip that saved me many hours of work and getting used to an alternative mail program. Worked perfectly for OSX Yosemite and an IMAP account> 40GB!
    Thanks for that !

  14. Ulrike says:

    Hi :-)

    just started a try with the instructions. But my problem seems to be different. It started with the fact that sending no longer worked properly. More and more often came a window for the password. Clicking on ok without entering a password worked sometimes yes, sometimes no, sometimes only the third time, etc. - Then at some point it was so far that when the program was started, the colorful ball rotated almost immediately, nothing works anymore. I can't get to the settings either ... Do you have an idea?
    As an attempted solution, I had already reinstalled the system. Then somewhere there was a hint to delete a file called But I can't find it on the whole Mac ... I would be very grateful for help! HG by Ulrike

    • sir appleot says:

      Hi Ulrike! I have no right tip. But if you can't find the file, you may have searched using the search (CMD + F). That will not do. You have to go to the library. It works like this: in the Finder hold the "ALT" key and then click on "Go to" in the menu at the top. There you will find an entry "Library". Then a window opens and there you go to the "Preferences" folder. Inside is a "" file ... that's the one you were probably looking for.

  15. Ulrike says:

    Good Morning :-)
    Thank you for the fast answer! I finally found the file and was able to delete it. Unfortunately nothing worked after reinstallation. So then I threw out the whole account after all. But that only worked after I switched off the wifi beforehand. Apparently something had actually hung up with the account. All in all, it is now working again. The emails are still there ... puuhhh ... THANK YOU !!

  16. sashmi says:

    and a big thank you from a grateful user :-)

  17. don.redhorse says:


    after upgrading to El Capitan, my DB was in a mess, search etc. stopped working. After I had deleted the envelope files and restarted Mail, the mails were re-imported, apparently also repackaged and sorted and the search works again. Thanks.

  18. Walter says:


    I installed the captain today, unfortunately the email program can no longer be updated, it keeps "pling-pling", and the bar and the update window repeats itself in an endless loop, please help ...
    had the same problem with yosemite, but don't know how I got it, it's a mac book pro 2012 ...
    Thank you very much

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Walter!
      Based on the explanation, I'd say your Mac is stuck in a reboot loop. That means it starts up, finds a boot system and then aborts due to an error and makes a restart.

      The first thing I would do here: hold down the SHIFT key while starting (right after the "Pling"). This starts the Mac in safe mode, in which no third-party extensions and only the most necessary drivers are loaded. Then when the Mac boots up, you know that some extension or driver is causing problems. I would then boot with the recovery partition (hold down the "cmd" + "R" keys when restarting) and use the hard disk utility to check and repair the file system.

      If booting in safe mode is not possible, you have to boot from an external system. A recovery partition would also work here (hold down the "cmd" + "R" keys when restarting) or an external hard drive. So that you can select the boot volume, press the "old" key when restarting and keep it pressed until a selection of the possible boot volumes appears.

      Maybe you can check it out and give me feedback!

      Best regards!


  19. Klaus says:

    Hello my dear,

    Even with me, the mail contents were no longer displayed in the overview since yesterday. Sometimes new emails were no longer loaded, etc.
    I solved the problem with YOSEMITE (I haven't migrated to El Capitan yet), "like before Mavericks" by holding down the ALT key (corrected by Sir) when starting Mail.

    Its working again!

    Many greetings and thanks for the great forum

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Klaus! Thanks for the positive feedback! But one question: do you mean "AT" key or "ALT" key? :-) I think it was the ALT key, right?

      • Sabine says:

        Hello Sir Apfelot,

        ... unfortunately none of the tips helped: the data reconstruction seems to have worked (22831 mails were supposedly newly imported), but these mails do not appear anywhere! I've tried twice ...
        In detail:
        to do a clean-up with the new El Capitan, I previously copied the entire Mavericks hard drive to a bootable external hard drive, from which I individually import what I need.
        Unfortunately, the mail import only partially worked (accounts + addressees ok, but only a few "sent" mails from various years!). At first I didn't find that tragic because I thought it was safe on the external hard drive.
        But when I started from this, the mails only appeared in the overview or the sidebar.
        I now believed that I could fix things with the "restore" command - but then everyone was gone!
        Following your advice, I copied the mail folder and then had the database rebuilt. At first I was very happy because they were newly imported - but: see above ...
        I also tried starting the mail with the ALT key, a restart and a precautionary repair of the access rights and the volume of the recovery partition.
        I have now also copied the mail folder to the internal El Capitan hard drive, but I do not dare to open it there because I fear that the data will be damaged.
        Do you (still) have a brilliant idea?
        Thanks in advance
        PS: The Time Machine backup on another external hard drive no longer shows the Mavericks backups.

  20. Klaus says:

    Was the ALT key, of course


  21. Tai says:

    40 GB mail !!!! I think I would first delete 39 GB unseen, shouldn't degenerate into work. Remember: until Office 2003 Outlook simply refused to work if the email account exceeded 2 GB. I found cheese then, good today!

    • sir appleot says:

      Hi Tai!
      Yes, sometimes less is more. :) But I have not yet been able to tackle the concept of the zero inbox ... but it is definitely on the to-do list for this millennium. :-)

      • Sabine says:

        yesterday I described my mail import problem here, but luckily I was able to solve it today. Thanks to your instructions and various attempts.
        Thanks for that and best regards

        • sir appleot says:

          Hello Sabine! I'm glad it worked out now! :-)

          • Sabine says:

            ... unfortunately I was happy too soon because the internal hard drive finally gave up its ghost. So new hard drive installed, new El Capitan installed - and now I despair with mail again! I was able to import all of the mailboxes, but when I try to move them to the current inbox, the window "This Mac cannot be connected to iCloud because there is a problem with (my mail address)." The same window makes receiving new mails impossible. If I enter my Apple ID password in the iCloud settings as requested, nothing happens, even "Switch all accounts online" or "Synchronize iCloud" does not help. Every now and then, something suddenly arrives when I press "Later" on the window in question, i.e. not the "iCloud" system setting for allegedly troubleshooting. But the window keeps reappearing.
            Basically, I don't understand why I have to get my emails via iCloud and not via my POP server. So everything went smoothly under Mavericks ...
            A good tip?
            Thanks in advance

          • sir appleot says:

            Hello Sabine!

            Somehow that doesn't sound like an El Capitan problem to me, but more like a case for Apple Support. I would inquire there. Maybe something has to be synced with the iCloud or they can reset something. In any case, there shouldn't be a problem if you import the data. But I think I don't use POP3 but IMAP. Can you change that

            Best regards!


  22. Sabine says:

    Hello and thanks for the answer. I'm kind of stuck in an endless loop with this repeating error window. My attempt to get out of the dilemma by changing the Apple ID password did not help either. Now I don't know what to do next and can neither send nor receive emails ...
    I have seen the error described on the internet, but the suggested solutions have not worked for me.
    I only mentioned POP because I was able to specify other accounts with Mavericks, which is no longer possible. When I want to register the old POP account, I only get the message that it already exists, but it does not appear in the sidebar.
    I will research further. For the time being my iPad is helping me out of a tight spot ...
    Many thanks and greetings,

  23. Golf Clause says:

    Hello Sabine,
    the problem with the "invalid iCloud password" (IMAP) annoyed me for a few days.
    After what felt like 34 attempts and passwords changed several times (I made a mistake or not), I found in the MAIL / SETTINGS / ACCOUNT / ADVANCED settings that the first option "Apply account settings automatically ..." was not set.
    Since I activated this, I no longer had this problem.

    • sir appleot says:

      Hi Klaus! Thanks for the hint! I didn't know that either! If Sabine posts a success message now, it would be great! :)

  24. Sabine says:

    Thanks for pointing this out, but I thought of this tick right from the start ...

    • sir appleot says:

      Too bad. Maybe someone else has a tip. Unfortunately I have to pass. :(

      • Sabine says:

        Hello again,
        Now the more than 3000 imported mails and copied to "Inbox" are gone! This mailbox says "Read Only" in brackets. I'm afraid I've done even more damage through my trial and error. Could it do anything to delete and reinstall Mail? Or even the whole system? I'm just wondering whether a Time Machine restore won't bring the problem back into the import too ...
        Please again the advice from the specialist ;-)
        Many thanks in advance!
        A rather desperate non-mailer ...

        • sir appleot says:

          Hello Sabine!
          Unfortunately, the problem is difficult to remotely fix. I think I'd have to be sitting at my Mac for that. I'm sorry I can't help you any further. Maybe a reader has a tip.

          • Sabine says:

            Hello Sir Apfelot!
            Actually, that was just the general question of whether a reinstallation would make sense with such a persistent problem. But I understand that I'm annoying ;-(
            Thanks again for the help and best regards

          • sir appleot says:

            Hello Sabine! You are not annoying! This page is intended to be used to discuss problems. :) A new installation might be useful, but you might have to try to import the mails differently. What kind of mail account do you have? an address at @ Or another one? Best wishes! Sir Apfelot

  25. Sabine says:

    Hello and Ufff !!!
    The penny has finally fallen - for me, at least ;-) Not least because of your request, I logged out of iCloud, deleted all accounts and created my old account again without iCloud. Lo and behold, everything works and the mails are back. Then I set up iCloud again, but wisely without ticking the "mail" box (I had removed that again and again before, but without success): I think that the confusion was caused by iCloud trying again and again to create an account that I didn't want at all! For now there is peace in the box. If I'm particularly daring, I might create an iCloud account later, but for the time being I have been served by email ...
    Many thanks for your patience and best regards

  26. Oxide Aviah says:

    Does that also work under El Capitan?

    • sir appleot says:

      I just checked my system, which is running OS X El Capitan. There are also the folders and files that I mentioned above, but one folder is not called "V2" but "V3". But there you will find "MailData" again and there the "Envelope Index" files.

      As an alternative to manual labor, I can also do it for you recommend the program "CleanMyMac" that I have presented here in the blog post. This also has the item "Speed ​​up mail" in the "Maintenance" submenu. This does exactly the same thing and rebuilds the index files. It also has many tools and ways to clean up and speed up the Mac in other ways.

      I hope this helps you further!

  27. Thomas Alsch says:

    Thanks for the great tip. The effect for me: A mailbox had "inflated" for incomprehensible reasons so that it was about 130 GB on the SSD! occupied. Since the mailbox is very important to me, I didn't want to simply delete it on the SSD. After the database was rebuilt (almost 800.000 emails, duration about 10 minutes), this "data giant" is gone again. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

    • sir appleot says:

      Hi Thomas! Thank you for your feedback signal. I already have 15 GB of data in my mailbox…. but 160GB ?! That’s awesome. Nice that it helped you.

  28. Lena says:

    Thanks for the tip. Can report: also works under Sierra. The folder is now called V4 :)

  29. Arno says:


    looking for help with Apple Mail came across this blog. I liked what I read very much and in some cases has already helped me.

    But I still have a very big problem. I have to go back a little to do this.

    After Windoof annoyed me so much again, I bought a used MacBook per 17 inch with OS X 10.8.4. I was super satisfied with that, so much so that I've only been working with Apple devices since then (for over three years now).

    But unfortunately my MacBook Pro took its time, so I got myself a used MacBook Pro 15 inch. The ElCapitan operating system was preinstalled on this.
    After a few problems I managed to integrate my emails into Mail on the new Mac.
    After the first update of ElCapitan came the big awakening ... a lot of my emails had apparently disappeared.
    Here, too, after a long googling and experimenting, I managed to reintegrate my lost emails into email with little loss.
    When an update was due again, I previously created a backup with Time Machine, in the hope that if something should go wrong again I would have a backup which I could simply restore.
    But that was a fallacy. Because I have the same problem as after the first update. Playing back with Time Machine was also unsuccessful. Here, too, after a long time back and forth and again with some loss of emails, I made it again. I haven't updated any more since then.

    Allegedly, under ElCapitan, Mail in the directory “User / Library / Mail /“ only uses a folder with the designation V3.
    But I also have an order V2. Emails are also stored in this folder (recognizable by the change date and a number of tests).

    Now comes my question:
    What can I do so that the Mail program saves all my emails in the V3 folder and not in V2? Because I suspect that is the root of my problem.
    I would like to do all the updates again without fear of losing my mail.

    Since I need the emails for work (my own company), I obviously don't want to experiment with them and possibly lose them all. That would be the worst case scenario!

    I would be very happy about your feedback and help.

    Greetings in a friendly manner

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Arno!

      I'm glad you're a halfway satisfied Mac user. ;-) I am always frightened when I have to go to the PC ... but luckily that doesn't happen very often.

      But now to your problem ... first of all a tip from me: I think Time Machine is a good backup solution, but I don't trust it 100%. I always use the SuperDuper program to make 1: 1 backups of the internal hard drive so that in the event of a TimeMachine failure, I won't be left with my pants down. For large updates of OS X or macOS, this is always mandatory for me.

      You seem to be correct in assessing that the cause of your problems lies with the V2 and V3 folders. I had to google it myself and wrote a guide to solve the problem, because rebuilding the mail database doesn't seem to help here. You can find the instructions here:

      I hope it helps!

      LG Jens!

  30. Jott Dee says:

    The search for the solution to the following problem brought me to this page.

    One of our Macs in the office is also having problems with mail.
    This iMac with OS X 10.11.6 is integrated into our network and Mail retrieves the mail from the company mail server. Both general mailboxes, to which all clients in the local workgroup have access, and local folders, created by the user, are created.

    Recently, Mail has had the problem of being slow to respond. If you move an email, it becomes light gray in the view and remains in its place for a long time before it is actually moved. Overall, the program reacts slowly and with a delay. The general spam / learn directory was only recently subscribed to. Since then the problem seems to have existed. But I'm not quite sure about that, but maybe a relevant tip for solving the problem?

    My question is whether I can try the above solution without this:

    - This affects subscribed mailboxes on the mail server
    - the local folders are deleted after execution

    This is not very clear from the solution.

    Thank you for an answer!


    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Jott! Unfortunately I can't do anything with the "general spam / learn directory". What is that supposed to be? I only know and use Spamsieve, but it works locally for me. Of course, a server-based service can have an impact on the performance when syncing the mailbox, but moving a mail shouldn't take that long. Could you temporarily deactivate the service to see if it gets better?

      Because of the effects on the mailboxes: if you delete the files that only contain the index of the mails, there should be no problems, because the mails themselves and the folder structure are not affected (neither locally nor the IMAP mailboxes). You just force Apple Mail to create a new index file.
      But if I were you, I would definitely copy the mail folder (in the library) somewhere as a backup. In a pinch you can put everything back to the old state.

      I keep my fingers crossed that you get the problem solved. A slow mail program is one of the most annoying things that everyday work can have. ;-)

  31. Jott Dee says:

    Almighty Sir Apfelot!
    So I finally carried out the instructions, but they did not lead to the solution. But also not to further problems. So the folder structure was back 1: 1 after the execution.

    The previously mentioned Spam / Ham / Learn folder is a subscribed directory of our mail server. We, approx. 8-10 employees, move the spam emails that arrive here into this directory.

    And then there is just an iMac / Client where mails can only be moved with a delay. If I put an email in the spam folder or in the mail folder of another colleague, the mail remains "grayed out" in the inbox.
    It will take a while for it to appear in the new folder. You can speed up this process a little if you close Mail once and then open it again.

    I am a little at a loss and have now tried all things. I also quit Kaspersky once.
    My guess is still that the mails to be moved are somehow "scanned". Something, some setting must lead to this delay, which is not set on the other clients.

    But what I just noticed:
    When I followed your instructions and backed up Mail's library folder on the desktop to be on the safe side, it copied a whopping 22 GB over. Do you have any idea where this mass of data comes from? The total amount of local folders is just a few MB.

    And that's right, delayed processing of emails is really annoying. That is why I would be very happy if you could give me some help if necessary.

    With thanks in advance and greetings from the Rhineland,


    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Jott! It's a strange problem. And because of the 22 GB: These have to be lying around somehow in the form of emails. Maybe in a folder that you don't have on your screen? Spam folder, junk, trash, sent messages? Somehow he uses up the 22 GB for something. My idea for troubleshooting would be that you test it with a different mail client like Thunderbird. This can be installed "parallel" to Apple Mail. Then I would just start Thunderbird and wait for it to sync everything. You can see this by clicking Network in the Activity Monitor utility. If Mail or Thunderbird no longer appears there with high network traffic, then it is done. And when you drag an email from one folder to another, it should be quick. If there are problems with Thunderbird, then you know that it is more related to the mail server and that you have to look for the problem there.

  32. Anna says:

    Hello! I'm trying my mail / accounts from my old Mac 10.9.5 to a new (clean) Mac 10.12.1 and have followed all the steps. But the only account that has now been taken over is the gmailaccount and the locally stored emails / folders. I am missing 4 other accounts. What could be the reason? I've been looking for days and just can't find a smart solution ... I would be incredibly happy about an answer!

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Anna!

      I think there are differences between IMAP and POP accounts. The data is (I think) stored in a different subfolder for the pop accounts. But don't ask me where to go. I think it might help you more if you make a backup and the Export emails (see instructions) and then re-import in the new Mac. Or you can use the migration assistant to get the data onto the new Mac. That should work too.
      LG! Jens

  33. Stefan Hass says:

    Hello Sir Apple Lot,

    In contrast to my PB, my Mac-Mini does not display the Apple Mail program correctly, the ENTIRE accounts are marked with a "!" Make mistakes and the desktop folders do not show the programs that are behind them and cannot be copied into them. In the Envenlope list, numbers 3 and 4 are missing. Already a total of 2,5 hours of telephone conversation with an Apple employee did not bring any clarification - whereas I trust YOUR recommendation - the only question is, what can you do with the description of the error?

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Stefan! Brief question: You have set up the mail accounts as IMAP (you can recognize this in the mail settings of the account by the fact that something with imap in the mail server name)? If so, you can basically completely rebuild the mail folder on your Mac Mini. It will then synchronize all emails again after they have been created and bring them up to the status that is running on a Powerbook (you still have one?) The problem could possibly also be hidden here, because your Powerbook certainly does not have macOS Sierra. Accordingly, the number in your mail folder in the sub-folders is different.
      My recommendation would be to delete all accounts in the mail program on the Mac Mini and then to create them again by hand. Then it would have to sync again and the "!" Error should disappear. If he stays there anyway, he won't be able to access the mailboxes for some reason. Then you have to click on the "!" Symbol and write what he thinks about it.

      Unfortunately, I didn't understand the programs in the desk folder. Do you really mean standalone Mac apps by programs? And what is the desk folder? Something / User / Desktop /? If so, why should there be programs there? They belong in / User / Applications / or / User / Programs / ...

  34. Stefan Hass says:

    …… hello Jens, I hope you are better, which is why I am telling you now that EVERYTHING is POP, I would also be happy to send you * .jpg's to your email address
    if you have any questions!

    Now get well soon and take your time, on Friday that's enough for me too!

    LG Stefan

    • sir appleot says:

      Hi Stefan!
      Well, it's okay. I commute between Mac and sofa.: D.
      With the POP account it is a bit more complex, as the mails are actually only stored LOCALLY. That means, if you kill the folder, your mails will be lost. But the most important thing is to know what your Mac is doing when you click the "!" reports. There's sure to be an error message, right?

  35. Stefan says:

    …… hello Jens, the error message is, "The password could not be checked" so I ordered new ones, but because of the holidays, they won't come until after the New Year. I'm just wondering why they work on my PB on the Mini but unfortunately not, should I try to install El Capitan again? As for the problem with the folder icons, which are only available on the mini, the best thing to do tomorrow is to send you a PB and a mini JPG.

    LG Stefan

  36. Harald says:

    Hi sir, maybe I can find an answer to a mail problem here. Exported my mailboxes on my old Mac and then imported them back onto a new Mac. However, only the first 6.000 emails were readable, the other emails were a copy of the first email in the respective mailbox. If I then deleted the first 6.000 mails in the mailbox on the old Mac and exported the remaining mails, it worked again for the first almost 6.000 mails. Is this bug known? What is the cause and how do I fix it for the future? LG Harald

  37. L music says:


    I have now worked my way through this and other blogs and forums after Mail found NOTHING.

    I rebuilt the V3 Envelope Index files several times. In the folder itself and via the terminal. No success.
    Clean My Mac 3 concerned. Top! The mail problem was not solved.

    I then marked ALL mails as unread, then as read again.

    I had to communicate, maybe it will help ...

    I beg your forbearance that I am not addressing anyone personally except of course the noble knight, Sir Apfelot. greetings

    Over & Out

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Stefan! How did you come up with THIS idea ??? And that really did it? Unbelievable ... thanks to you for this tip! I think nobody knew him before! But I also often get annoyed about searching for Apple Mail. Maybe I should test it out too. But with 40.000 mails on the IMAP server, one ponders whether to take such actions. : D

      • L music says:

        Hi sir,

        after a few days I can see that the search function is working again without any problems.
        I also "treated" an IMAP account with> 20000 mail. Running.
        Duration per process approx. 20s.

        MB Pro mid 2009. OS X El Capitan. 8 GB of RAM.

        • sir appleot says:

          Hi Stefan! Ok, then that seems like a quick and easy solution to some problems. Probably because then all mails are simply "touched" again and maybe a new index is created. No matter why: the main thing is that it works! : D

  38. Courier says:

    Hello sir, I have had a strange mail problem for a long time - since Mavericks to be more precise: If I click on the mail icon in the dock, the window does not open. Rather, Mail starts minimized. Only when I click on (the open app to the right of the trash can) again does the window open completely. Do you have an explanation for that? By the way, I work with 2 Imap and 1 Exchange mailbox ..

    Thank you for your help

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Courier! Interesting behavior. The main window always opens with me - regardless of whether I had it open or closed before. So it is normal from my point of view. It can't really be because of your mailboxes if your mail behaves differently. I'm a little on the tube. Unfortunately, I don't know any tips on how to influence that. :(

  39. Guido says:

    have the following problem:
    Use Outlook exchange in the office and MAIL at home
    MAIL pulls the data from the Exchange.
    In the Exchange I have several subfolders and the mail mapped in exactly the same way.
    Since last week the following problem:
    Office / Outlook: Move an email from the inbox to a subfolder (from the inbox)
    Private / MAIL: the moved mail is in the correct subfolder BUT is still in the inbox.
    If I then want to delete it there: "Mail could not be moved to the trash. An error occurred while moving" (ie it cannot find the mail in the inbox.

    What now ?

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Guido! Unfortunately, you didn't find the right supporter with me. I have NO idea about Exchange, but I strongly suspect that this issue is due to Exchange or the interaction between Apple Mail and Exchange. One attempt might be to completely remove the mailbox from Apple Mail and then set it up again. Then he has to re-synchronize everything and it might be right ... but that's just a shot in the dark. LG! Jens

  40. Syrabo says:


    Thanks for the tip - I did it on macos Sierra - it worked out fine.

  41. tome says:

    hmmm i'm outraged and frustrated

    i have a big problem with APPLE MAIL

    I want to search my mail because I want to search by name

    however it does not work! I go on the mask and give something then it doesn't work, nothing comes

    the same was brought by experts from the net with the envelops
    done it all
    still have the problem

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Tom! Unfortunately I cannot understand the error, but if you have already tried all the instructions without success, then I don't really know what to do next. Sometimes the search depends a bit on me. Then I type something into the Apple Mail search and there is simply no result for 1-5 minutes. During this time, the CPU load in the activity display is often over 100% and triggered by mail. When the CPU load has calmed down, the result usually comes. It happens to me every couple of days ... but I haven't found out why.

    • Dirk Str says:

      So sometimes I use Spotlight to search;

      It is helpful if, when entering the search term in Apple Mail, I go to the suggestions - which arise below my entry - go down with the selection and click on any one; then I can change the area, for example, "from" to "subject" - I have made further progress.

      The prerequisite was that my folders were synchronized and could also be switched offline.

      In some cases I had created Smart Folders and used them as a search. It is important that the "Sent" folder is included. But I've also gotten used to the impression that Thunderbird is a powerful, better and good alternative here - which is why I use it (is quite possible with IMAP accounts) when the search in Apple Mail does not return the desired results.

    • Stephen Locher says:

      Hi Tom,

      that sounds like the problem i had too.
      Check out my comment from February 4th.

  42. © WiesewieGrass © says:

    Hi all,

    I can perhaps also contribute something to the "unsuccessful" search in Apple Mail.

    As a rule, the search is based on the corresponding file indexing on the hard drive or the volume used.

    Check whether the volume is indexed (in the terminal):

    mdutil -s / Volumes / YourExternal Disk Name

    Re-index volume:

    sudo rm -rf /Volumes/NameYourExternalDisk/.Spotlight-V100

    Manual indexing of Spotlight on hard disks / volumes on the graphical user interface:

    1. Choose Apple menu ()> System Preferences and click Spotlight.
    2. Click the "Privacy" tab.
    3. Drag the folder or volume that you want to reindex to the list of locations that Spotlight cannot search. Or click the Add (+) button and select the folder or volume to add.

    You can only add objects in the "Privacy" tab that you have access rights to as the owner. For more information about access rights, go to Help from the Finder menu bar and search for "Access Rights".

    4. From the same list of locations, select the folder or volume that you just added. Then click the Remove (-) button to remove the folder or volume from the list.
    5. Close System Preferences. Spotlight will now re-index the contents of the folder or volume.

    The search result should then be displayed again if, for example, "to Emily" or "from Emily" or "to Emily for renovation" is typed into the search field. Assuming indexing is complete.

    Sunny greetings from the Münsterland

    • sir appleot says:

      Thanks for the info! Just a small addition from me: Please always be careful with the command "sudo rm -rf". The deletes the specified directory or the file without a "Are you sure?" But the above guide only clears the Spotlight index. Sunny greetings from Northern Hesse back!

  43. Anna Samson says:

    Thank you very much for these instructions, the mail program is finally working again. Had the problem with mail since June that it wouldn't open. Had tried other instructions but they were unsuccessful.
    Now the only problem I have left is that I can receive e-mails on my i-phone4, but not send them - with the note "E-mails cannot be sent. A copy has been placed in your outbox. The recipient" anna. ******@***** "was rejected by the server." How can I restore that too?
    Thank you for your help

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Anna! Is the error message directly in the program or in the mail that comes back from the server? If the program outputs it directly, then either something is wrong with the access data for the SMTP server or you would have to ask the Internet or e-mail provider. In the mail program you actually enter the access data for calling up the mails and again for sending the mails. Something seems to be wrong here when sending. But it is difficult to diagnose from a distance. :(

  44. Anna says:

    Thanks for the help, the SMTP server was wrong.
    Greetings Anna

  45. donation says:


    I read through all of this and unfortunately found no solution to my problem.

    I have an MBPro 2012 and 10.10.5 running.
    Since switching to Yosemite, my mail has the problem that it is mostly when starting
    Keeps hanging.
    No mails are displayed in the inbox and after a while the usual spinning wheel comes up.

    But I've found that it works if I enter my mail before exiting
    Go to Junk Folder and then quit so that Mail shows the Junk Folder the next time it starts.
    Then I can go to my inbox and everything is fine.
    So it seems to be a problem related to the inbox that I don't
    is very full because I always move my mails to local folders.

    It also works when the Shift key is pressed when starting, which I sometimes forget and with it
    Mail must end with immediate termination.

    I don't have any third-party plugins.

    I also tried the following tips:

    - Delete envelope files
    - Delete saved state
    -Remove the tick from the automatic configuration via Apple
    -plist delete file

    Everything without success.
    If it works everything is fine, but starting is always a torture,

    I just wanted to install the 10.10.5 combo update over it,
    unfortunately I get the error message that this volume is the
    Requirements for the update not met, whatever that means.

    Thank you don

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello don! It could be that there is some mail in your inbox that is causing you to hang up. Can you try the following times: Create a new local folder, for example "input test". Then you put all the mails in there that are currently in the inbox. Then quit mail and start again. Maybe then it works? In that case, you would have to check which email exactly caused the hangover.

      Alternatively, you could not try mailbox recovery. To do this, mark the "Inbox" folder (if the list is not visible, press ⌘ + ⇧ + M) and then select "Restore" under the "Mailbox" menu at the bottom. In some cases that also helps.

      And because of the combo update: That would be interesting to know why he doesn't want to do the update on the volume. No space or something?

  46. donation says:

    Thanks for the quick help.

    The approach seems correct, but I have not yet been able to find out
    where the problem actually lies.

    I have moved all mails from the inbox (almost 60 pieces) to a local folder,
    so that the entrance was empty.
    Then I have the mails back in the inbox one by one
    moved back.
    In between it was stopped and started again and again.
    That worked until about the 40th mail and then it started again.

    Now I have the last two emails out of the entrance
    and started again, assuming that it should work again.
    Unfortunately, that was not the case.

    I suspect it has something to do with the server synchronization, but what exactly it is
    I haven't been able to find out in the last six months.
    Since it works with the Shift key held down, it is definitely due to the inbox.
    With Shift-Start, Mail does not select a folder or mailbox, and does not cause any problems
    when I then switch to the input folder.

    Unfortunately, restoring the mailbox didn't help either.

    I've had the problem since moving out of Yosemite and have because of this
    Assumption that the inbox had already been completely emptied.
    That means, the mails that are now in the entrance were added later,
    however, the problem remains.

    The combo update can definitely not be installed, but there is enough space
    in any case.
    I have a cloned system on my second internal disk and have it
    also tried there, but also in vain.

    The recognized hard drives are shown to me, but all with one
    Warning sign and the strange error message that the volumes are not allowed for this.

    • sir appleot says:

      It could be that the inbox file may have been damaged. You can actually only fix this if you completely remove the mailbox and then create a new one. If it is an IMAP mailbox, the mail program then fetches the folder structure and everything else from the server. After deleting the mailbox, I would dump Apple Mail and then restart it so that it actually removed the file. Possibly. Play it safe again and check the / Library / Mail folder to see if the mailbox is gone.

      Because of the OS X update: I'd have to sit in front of my Mac. It's hard to say anything from afar. Warning sign and strange error message sounds really weird. : D

  47. donation says:

    It's a POP mailbox, but I don't know how to delete the inbox.
    In my entrance there are 10 different accounts, all from the same mail server and all POP accounts.

    I have to look into the folder structure and try to find it.

    I found something about the combo update.
    You have to remove the java script in the PKG, which checks what kind of system is installed.
    The classic "ironing over it" does not seem to work anymore.
    You can't update 10.10.5 with a 10.10.5 combo.
    I try that too, but the PKG could not be copied from the IMG to the HD.

    obviously I have too much time at the moment, otherwise I would put up with it.

    I am still very grateful for the help.

  48. donation says:

    Regarding the combo update problem:
    (adjusted it to 10.10.5)

    that's working.
    After modifying the update, the restrictions are lifted.
    However, only recommended after a backup.

    Now I'll see if that has any effect on my mail problem ...

    Greetings, don

  49. donation says:

    Sorry, I posted a link and didn't look to see if that's ok.

    Well, apparently nothing helps with me, everything as before.
    The shift key is my only means.
    This forces Mail to start without a specific folder or mailbox
    to choose.
    Then I can continue to work normally.

    If someone knows if you can start Mail with the Shift key pressed
    I am very interested in this information.

    Combo didn't do anything either.

    Great site by the way.

    Thanks again for the time and effort.


    • sir appleot says:

      Hi don! Thank you for your feedback signal. I wasn't on the computer and was only able to activate the comments now. It's a shame that nothing helped you. Maybe the problem with High Sierra will be solved ... there would be a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Incidentally, you can still install it if you boot from the recovery partition and then reinstall the current macOS version. Then the latest version with all updates comes on it. And no private data is deleted. That was also necessary for me recently ...

  50. donation says:

    Hello again :)

    one more quick question.
    Is it possible to open mail with a specific mailbox?

    I can choose a default account to write mails,
    but would like to know if there is an option that mail for example
    always starts with selected "sent" or "junk" mailbox.

    As an alternative, it would also be helpful if I sent mail without the selected
    Could open mailbox, just like holding down the Shift key.

    Thanks in advance


    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Don! I've just tried it out with myself: when you quit and restart Apple Mail, it always goes to the folder that you last clicked on. Starting with the Shift key is a kind of "safe mode" for Apple Mail. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a way to make it permanent for either (a fixed folder or always with no folder selected). Sorry ... :( Maybe you can do an Automator action and you always start with this icon instead of the Apple Mail icon? Would be my last idea for a workaround.

  51. donation says:

    I always selected the junk box before exiting and so that
    Avoid hanging the program when restarting.
    It was an acceptable solution, but I forget about it every now and then.

    Safe mode would be the best solution, then I have to go with it again
    Expose Automator. Not one of my favorite apps.

    Since I don't have any plugins, the safe mode would be perfect for me too

    Thank you.

    • sir appleot says:

      Hi don! Unfortunately, I don't use Automator either. I haven't had a muse to work myself in there yet. But there are sure to be easy tutorials for that. It's just starting an app with the button pressed. It can't be that complicated! I think so. But as it always is: The devil is in the details! ;) Good luck in any case!

  52. donation says:

    Here is the solution to my problem, possibly also interesting for many
    others who tried unsuccessfully to get help from Apple.

    With this script, Mail opens without selecting a mailbox and
    then does not get stuck.

    Apple Script:

    tell application "System Events"
    key downshift
    tell application "Mail"
    tell application "System Events"
    key upshift
    end tell
    end tell
    end tell

    Backed up as a program and it works.
    That has been with me for half a year and annoyed me ...

    I can't work with Automator at all, but you can use Apple Script
    understand if you have to.

    Thank you again for the help and the suggested solutions


    • sir appleot says:

      Hi don! I'm glad you found such a little detour for your problem. It's not the best solution to always work with Mail in SafeMode, but better than crashes. ;-) And thanks for the miniscript!

  53. Maren says:

    Great, thank you, I've just googled for hours and tried various stuff, and your description also solved the problem for me. Since this morning, Mail has kept crashing after 1 sec since this morning (Sierra 10.12.6). Thanks alot.

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Maren! I'm glad if it helped you. But it's a shame that you had to try it out for so long. : D Well, the next time it'll work right away! LG! Jens

      • Maren says:

        Yes, if you google like that and try everything, a few hours go by in no time. However, I first looked for "mail crashes" and something like that and not for "rebuild database". I only came across your entry after I finally understood that it must have something to do with the folders and such.

        • sir appleot says:

          Well, maybe I'll write another article with "Apple Mail crashes" in the headline. Then the next ones don't need to google for long. : D

  54. Superussi says:

    Hello Sir Apfelot,

    I had the problem under 10.10.5 that my search in Mac Mail no longer worked. I then deleted the index files as described, restarted Mac Mail. Here it tries to re-import my emails (approx. 300) and breaks off due to lack of space in the user folder. What am I doing wrong?

    • sir appleot says:

      Hi! This is a good question. "Insufficient space in home folder" sounds like the hard drive is too full. I guess the mail already takes up a few GB, but maybe you can solve the problem in the short term if you copy a few large files from your hard drive (videos or something) to an external hard drive, then delete these files from the internal hard drive and Start Apple Mail again. You can copy the files back to the internal disk later when it's done.

  55. KG Gerdts says:

    Sir Apfelot, after 30 years of Mac I am desperate. Mail slower and slower, the colorful ball of death more and more often. Tried everything, even a stupid thing: A POP mailbox with 20.000 mails was deleted and re-created. Now still the colorful Ball of Death every 15 minutes and the POP mailbox empty. Have time machine backups. Question: How do I get mail quickly under 10.12.6 AND how do I get all the mails from Time Machine back into the current program. Apple support helpless. hopefully not too complicated and not too much at once? Regards KG

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello KG! So first the simple thing: Repeat emails from Time Machine: You can read here at Apple how it works with the Time Machine. I think there was an example with emails too:

      I don't know exactly what the Mac does when the colorful beach ball is playing. I assume he is now downloading all the mail or synchronizing something with the mail server. Maybe you need to let it go for a while. When Apple Mail is at work, it slows down the entire Mac even with newer systems.

      And for future backups, I would no longer just rely on TimeMachine, but always do a 1: 1 backup with Carbon Copy Cloner or Super Duper. You can then boot from them in an emergency.

      I know that wasn't really helpful now, but I hope that you can get a little further with Apple's Time Machine manual. And if mail is getting slower and slower, you could also try what happens if you deactivate the mailbox and then let mail run. If things then go well, it's because Mail is messing around with the mailbox. You just have to try to isolate the problem somehow ... it's not always that easy from a distance. : D

  56. Harald says:

    The tip with v3 worked perfectly. Until now. After rebuilding the database, I kept cleaning mail, deleting newsletters and other things, and of course emptying the mail trash. But I just kept the mails that were important to me in the mailbox and of course these mails will keep growing.

    When I restart Mail, I get the screen that over 11000 mails are being imported. At the end I am again in front of a mail program that simply does not display anything.

    My INBOX.MBOX is 1,2GB in size
    I also cleaned the storage space on my drives, since I had read that rebuilding requires space.

    Is there anything else i can do?

    Thanks & greetings,

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Harald!

      Yes, I have a few notes or comments on:

      1. 1,2 GB is not a lot. Apple Mail should handle this problem-free.

      2. Mail does "nothing" for me in between. That means, I select an email, but the content is not displayed. When that happens, Mail does "something" in the background that needs to be done first. You can see this when you go to the Activity Monitor program. "Mail" should then be listed there with over 100% CPU load. If that has not returned to a normal value of a few percent (mostly 0% for me), you cannot work with mail. I always go to get a coffee (15 minutes) and then it's usually ready. But my mailbox is also more in the range of 15-20 GB in size.

      3. If you have a lot of emails with attachments and you are using an iMAP mailbox, you can free your drive from ballast by pressing "Clean My Mac"(my tip!), deletes the attachments of the mails. These are then only deleted locally on your Mac and remain on the mail server. If you need the attachment from an old mail at some point, it will be loaded when you send the mail That saves a lot of memory for me, since I get print files sent to me every now and then, but then with a high probability I will never need them again.

      To create space on your drive, I can generally recommend the Clean My Mac mentioned above. In the "Smart" pass it only cleans up harmless things and still takes out a lot of GB of space that you would not otherwise have.

      LG! Jens

  57. Holger says:

    I was able to set up a new MBP 13 with a touch bar (graphics card crash of the old MBP) and successfully got my two IMAP mail accounts up and running again. So far.
    Now I had created various local folders and operated them with rules in order not to let the IMAP mailboxes become too large.
    I am still missing these local folders. Where can I find it and how can I reintegrate it into Mail?
    Problem: I can't see the library folder in the TM backup, so I can copy files.
    Thank you in advance.

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Holger!

      Unfortunately, Mail does not replicate these local folders for you when you create a new IMAP mailbox. If you want to get the messages in the Time Machine backup, do the following:
      1. In the terminal you enter: chflags nohidden ~ / Library (alternatively you can also use a program like TinkerTool to make the hidden files and folders visible)
      2. Now go to your user folder and see the "Library", please switch to this folder
      3. Now you start the TimeMachine and you should be able to load the backup exactly into this folder and restore files or folders

      I hope everything works out. I wish you success!

  58. Olivier says:

    Hello Sir Apfelot

    I deleted the envelope files in the V6 folder. Mail restarted - approx. 40.000 mails reloaded. Unfortunately, the search still yields 0 results.

    MacBook Pro 2012, macOS Mojave, 10.14.4

    Do you have any other tip? Thank you for a short feedback.

    Warm regards, Olivier

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Oliver! It was similar for me ... it also didn't help in the long term. I finally solved it like this: Backup the internal system hard drive to an external hard drive (with Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper); start from backup; Erase startup volume with Disk Utility; Transfer the backup from the external hard drive to the newly deleted one and then start from the new system hard drive.

      After that everything went smoothly with Spotlight again for me (for 2-3 months). I suppose the backup removes corrupt files so the back and forth backup kind of repairs the system. Maybe it will help you too!

  59. Duke says:

    my colleague's mail program always crashes after starting the latest Mojava. I wanted to reload the program (delete index files), but I can't find the files in the library. There are no envelope index files and no MailData folder. And that with 3 different devices that all run on 10.14 Mojave.

    What shall I do now?

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Duke! Yes you are right. I couldn't find these files under Mojave either. Apple has apparently changed something in the folder structure and the files. Fortunately, there is the Onyx tool, with which you can do this rebuilding with a graphical user interface. I have this described here in the post. Hopefully it will work again then! A mail program that doesn't even start is pretty annoying. If nothing helps, I would pull out the “Mail” folder completely in “Library” (for example on the desktop) and then create the accounts again. When it comes to IMAP mailboxes, nothing is lost because everything is managed on the server.

    • Daniel says:

      Hello Duke,

      have a look in the user library (~ / Library / Mail> V6 / MailData). You may have been in the library or system library. There are several of them, but where the desired data is not available.

      You can also get there via the menu 'Go> Go to folder ...' or use the key combination '⇧ + ⌘ + G' and then enter this path (~ / Library / Mail> V6 / MailData). Now press 'Enter'.

      I have also installed macOS Mojave (10.14.6 [18G103]) and have this structure very well.

      PS: Alternatively, the variant over onyx!

      Sincerely yours


  60. mt says:

    Thanks for the contribution! It also works under Catalina. Then folder "V7"

  61. Lisa says:

    Hello Sir Apfelot!

    The explanation is easy to understand. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite work. I exported my mailboxes and then I wanted to import them on my new Macbook (Catalina). Unfortunately this did not work. Then I imported the mailboxes from my BackUp under the Library / Mail, which at least worked. Unfortunately, the mailboxes are only partially full. Many say "No subject" & "No sender". After clicking restore on one, the folder is just empty. Deleting the "Envelope Index" data indicated that it was not possible because there was not enough space. Then I deleted the imported mailboxes and tried again. And now it still fails.

    Can you help me?

    Greetings, Lisa

    • sir appleot says:

      Hi Lisa! Unfortunately, I cannot diagnose it remotely. When restoring, it sometimes takes your Mac a few minutes to get everything back together. Depending on how many emails you have ...
      What's the problem with "insufficient storage space"? Is the system disk full? If so, then I would try to make some space. Maybe this is the reason why the import and the restore do not work. Otherwise I would not have an explanation from the moment. :(

  62. Hello and thanks for the explanations / instructions. My new mails were no longer loaded. It was shown at the bottom left that mails were being loaded…. forever many.
    I work with El Capitan, I did everything like this, well, when starting Mail a window appears saying the mails have to be imported. At first it says "10 minutes duration" but then it gets longer and longer (remaining time 44 minutes ecpp) and eventually stops. Allegedly I have 32.000 emails sitting there. That can't be, I mean ... now what?

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Fiona! That doesn't sound good. Maybe you could log into your account via webmail? Most hosters also offer a web login for emails. You may be able to look there to see whether there are actually that many emails. And is there any way you can tell whether you have an IMAP or a POP3 mail account? LG

      • Thanks for the quick reply - I still have a POP account. Of the 2 free GB, approx. 700 MB were full. Here the hook was set wrong - no mails were deleted that I deleted on MAIL and believed to have been deleted. As far as MAIL is concerned: 32.000 mails are actually supposed to be reloaded when starting, it rattles and rattles, takes hours, then at some point shortly before its destination it hangs and stops. What is being loaded there ... in the MailData folder there are now 6 Envelop Idex pieces, is there the error? .... Kind regards, Fiona

        • sir appleot says:

          Hello Waltraud! Difficult to say if the envelope index pieces have anything to do with it. If it is a Pop3 account, all mail should be on your Mac. Then why is 700 MB full in the mailbox? What happens in the end when he's finished rattling? Is there an error message? Or does Apple Mail crash? Or is it just not going to go on? And can you use the Apple Mail menu? Or can you not get there at all?

  63. Hello from Munich and thank you again! The mail menu can be operated.
    It just stops loading. Maybe the background is important: the Ionos mail server was down for half a day. Then I had to set up the account again. The mails were then deleted. They were imported from the external hard drive - but that only worked in parts. Does it matter? And is it okay that there is "Mailboxes.mbox" in the library mail folder for V3? VG!

    • Well, I can't answer that correctly, whether it has something to do with the V3 folder. If the mail menu can still be opened, it could be opened via Mailbox> Recover to attempt. Maybe that will do something? Otherwise I would - if it is an IMAP account - remove the accounts from mail and create them again. But please: create a backup beforehand. Not that all mails are deleted afterwards.

  64. Sven Keller says:

    I treated myself to a new iMac after exactly 10 years. From iMac 2011, i7 to iMac 2020, i9. Now I wanted to copy all data manually WITHOUT the migration assistant so that I don't take all the junk from Preferences and Co. with me. A lot accumulates in 10 years! After two weekends now everything is running except for the Apple Mail. Actually, I don't need the Sch… Apple Mail anymore because I've switched to Outlook. For the thousands of archived emails, it would be very cool to be able to access them in offline mode. Therefore I copied all data from the library according to these instructions. Unfortunately, Mail (version 14) does not recognize mail from the old Mac (version 11.5). I can't get any further with OnyX either. Since there are a lot of folders, I don't want to copy the folders manually. Is the jump from MacOS 10.13.6 (High Sierra) to 11.3.1 (Big Sur) too big a step or is there a simple method to copy all mails via the library?

    • Jen Kleinholz says:

      Hello Sven! That should work, but the folders in which the emails are located are named differently for each major version of the operating system. In the "Mail" folder (in the library) I have a "V8" folder in which the mailboxes are located. It may be that you have one from your old Mac called "V6" or something. You would then have to name it V8 so that it is recognized under Big Sur.

      • Sven Keller says:

        Hi Jens! Thank you for your quick response. Without appearing disrespectful, unfortunately I was that far ;-) No effect. Could it be because of the files in the "Containers" folder and the Preferences? Somehow it doesn't want to work ...

        • Jen Kleinholz says:

          Maybe you still need to copy the Library> Preferences> file? I don't know for sure ...

          Ah, and you'd have to do a re-indexing using Apple Mail> Inbox menu> Recover too. It is possible that he will therefore still show you the old status.

  65. Sven Keller says:

    Here is my solution if someone has the same problem:
    Problem: Apple Mail complete export from OS X El Capitan (10.11.6) to Big Sur (MacOS 11.3.1):

    I'm not an IT expert, but attempts to simply copy the files have failed me. So I created an image of the old Mac (on a Thunderbolt SSD hard drive) and installed all the new operating systems (on 10.12 -> 10.13 -> 10.14 -> 10.15 and finally on 11.3.1) individually and after each installation the Apple Mail program started. With each new operating system, "Mail" created and initialized the structure anew. It is best to save all systems on a fast hard drive overnight so that you don't have to wait hours.

    Then copy and overwrite the following files from the image to the new Mac and in the same location: (Press Alt key and Finder go to Library)

    User> Library> Accounts
    User> Library> Containers>
    User> Library> Containers>
    User> Library> Containers>
    User> Library> Mail
    User> Library> Preferences>
    User> Library> Preferences>
    User> Library> Preferences>

    Then restart the computer and everything will be as it was on the old Mac.

    • Jen Kleinholz says:

      Hello Sven!

      Thank you for the detailed description. I am sure this will help someone. Sounds like a very time-consuming undertaking. But the bottom line is whether it works! : D

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