Reader question: Apple Mail shows message "Loading e-mail 1 of 41" and doesn't finish

Apple Mail Tips and Tricks

A few days ago, my reader Philipp wrote to me that he was struggling with Apple Mail. The e-mail program usually shows in the bottom left of the sidebar when it is retrieving or sending e-mails. Then there will be a notice “Activity” and the corresponding processes it is currently busy with. Most of the time this appears so short that you don't really notice it.

At the bottom left in the sidebar, Apple Mail informs you about current activities.
At the bottom left in the sidebar, Apple Mail informs you about current activities.

Message: Load email 1 of 41 ...

Under “Activity” there was a permanent indication that Apple Mail is currently retrieving new emails – but the message just didn’t go away.

Here is his abbreviated cover letter:

Hello, I recently became a MacBook owner. Unfortunately I'm having problems with Apple Mail. It keeps showing “Loading email 1 of 41” in the lower left corner… endlessly. Do you have an idea?

The reason for this behavior is probably a broken index in the mail database, which means that the Mac can no longer manage mail properly. The solution to such problems is relatively simple: delete the index of the database and in this way “force” Apple Mail to create it again.

A backup of the mail folder (to be found under Library) is definitely not wrong, but if you follow the instructions or use the tool mentioned below, nothing usually goes wrong.

Delete the mail index with the OnyX Mac tool

My first idea was that you could use the OnyX tool rebuilds the mailboxes or their index. This is relatively easy with the free tool, as you only have to tick the appropriate boxes and then click on “Run”. This is marked in the screenshot.

You can also remove all the other options and just delete and rebuild the index of the mailboxes, but I leave everything active most of the time. Then the action lasts a few minutes longer, but everything is "cleaned up".

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 mail database index

In the meantime, Philipp had found another manual on my website in which I explained how to delete the Apple Mail index or database manually can.

For him, the manual route has led to the goal, but for some Mac users the route via OnyX is certainly easier, as you don't have to tinker with the hidden library files here.

In any case, his feedback was clearly a success report:

Hi Jens, I deleted the 3 files in Maildata, as described on your site. At the moment it works with it! Thanks!

I hope that this way you can get your problems with Apple Mail under control. At least in the case of an endless loop when calling up new mail, these instructions seem to be of fruit.

My tips & tricks about technology & Apple

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8 comments on "Reader question: Apple Mail shows message "Loading email 1 of 41" and doesn't finish"

  1. Unfortunately, this measure under Ventura did not lead to the desired success for me. Mail is currently loading 7 of 86 mails and has 21 new mails. Strangely enough, I don't have any problems of this kind on iOS or iPadOS.

    1. Hi Alex! Have you tried to click on the mailbox in Mail and then restore the mailbox under "Mailbox" → "Restore"? It takes a while, but sometimes everything works again. Or restart Mac...

  2. I have to revise my statement regarding iOS and iPadOS. A strange message appears there. At the moment it also says very briefly "Load 1 of 5..."
    I assume that it is then because of the provider. Maybe Vodafone tweaked something on the UUID...???...

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