Thursday, March 30, 2017

Re-Connecting Mac iMail Folders After Emails Disappear

Using iMail on a Mac prevents people from needing to log into their email every time they want to access an account the way using webmail can. Additionally, a useful feature of using an email application is having locally stored copies of email. This allows you to access existing emails even when you are not connected to the Internet. Unfortunately, issues can happen even with email programs. One such issue with iMail is that all of the emails in folders "On My Mac" can seemingly disappear for no reason.

If you are using iMail and emails in folders stored on the Mac "disappear", you may simply need to reconnect those iMail folders with the emails again. Re-connecting the folders with their data allows those emails to be listed and accessible.

Re-Connecting Mac iMail Folders After Emails Disappear

When creating additional email folders within iMail, the default folder location is "On My Mac". So as new folders are created, they are stored on that particular device, making them accessible on that device even when it is offline. Unfortunately, the indexes that manage these folders can get corrupted, which causes a disconnect between the folders and the emails within them. This can happen any time and is noticed when iMail opens and all the emails within the On My Mac folders appear to be empty. 

If this happens, try re-connecting these folders with their respective emails by recreating the indexes using the steps outlined below.
  •  Navigate to the mail data folder for the affected user profile
    • Open Finder
    • Click Go and select "Go to Folder"
    • Type "~/Library/Mail"

      • The ~ is a placeholder for the current user profile.
      • If you are logged in as a different user than the one experiencing the issue, type out the user name in place of the ~ symbol.
  • Open the latest mail folder (in this example, V4 instead of V2) 

  • Make sure the iMail application has been exited
  • Open the MailData folder

    • Select all files with the name "Envelope" and move them to the desktop or another folder (this is just a precaution in case they need to be restored which is unusual)

  • Open iMail and wait for the index files to rebuild
    • Depending upon the number and size of emails within each folder, this process can take some time
    • Click on folder names located on the Mac and emails should being to appear
    • Once finished, all emails previously located in these folders should be listed

  • Continue using iMail as before!
Opening an email folder only to find its contents missing can be extremely disconcerting. In this situation, unless you specifically emptied the folders, it is likely the emails still exist on the computer even though the application does not "see" them. Before doing anything drastic, try re-indexing those folders to see if the emails are restored. The re-indexing process re-connects folders created locally On My Mac to emails stored in folders within the Mail folders on that device.

As always, knowing how to recover from the unexpected can be the key to getting those items you need back the way they belong!

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