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Mac mail automatically deleting emails

11442 Views 12 Replies Latest reply: Jun 6, 2013 10:29 PM by appleCaptive RSS
beth73 Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Jun 6, 2011 1:54 PM

Hi everybody,


Has anybody come across this problem before? 


Last week, out of the blue, the Mac Mail program automatically started deleting all of the emails in my IMAP inbox older than 8 days.  They're not appearing in the Trash folder either.  I've gone into the Mail preferences and there aren't any options that I could set under the "Mail Behaviors" tab for the Inbox itself, only for the Drafts, Sent, Junk, and Trash folders, which I don't have problems with.


I've tried replacing the Messages folder for this IMAP account under ~/Library/Mail/IMAP-account/INBOX.imapmbox with a backup containing all of the missing emails, but they're still not showing up in my inbox.  I've also tried rebuilding the mailbox and reindexing it, but neither have worked either.


I've also been in touch with my email provider, and he said it wasn't anything on his end.


Does anybody have any suggestions?  I'd definitely appreciate it if anybody can offer some insight!  Thanks so much in advance!

iMac, Mac OS X (10.4.11)
  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (114,825 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 6, 2011 2:12 PM (in response to beth73)

    Do you have any rules setop?


    Have you looked in Mail>Preferences>Accounts>Advanced tab?


    But with it not showing, is this what you tried...


    Safe Boot from the HD, (holding Shift key down at bootup),  it will try to repair your Disk Directory while the spinning radian is happening, so let it go, run Disk Utility in Applications>Utilities, then highlight your drive, click on Repair Permissions, then move these folder & file to the Desktop.


    Move this Folder to the Desktop...




    Move this file to the Desktop...


    /Users/YourUserName/Library/Mail/Envelope Index




    If that doesn't do it and you can afford to redo all your Rules, try these & reboot...





  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (114,825 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 7, 2011 11:03 AM (in response to beth73)

    Can you use WebMail in a Browser to view your Mail on their Server, most have that feature.


    With 2 different Apps & computers doing it, it sort of does point to a problem on the other end.

  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10 (114,825 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 13, 2011 11:27 AM (in response to beth73)

    Whew, thanks for the report Beth!

  • suzanne3t Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    May 20, 2012 6:27 PM (in response to beth73)

    I can hardly believe someone else has had my exact same problem. I used to use Entourage when this started happening and I thought it was the app. So I switched to Mail. Soon enough, the problem found me again. It took HOURS, over DAYS, for Apple to untangle the POP/IMAP mess, but the problem kept returning.


    I got on the phone with my email provider. Why wouldn't they warn customers that they're changing from POP to IMAP? I have lost all kinds of business correspondence due to the conflicts in settings between my desktop and mobile devices.


    Now I understand why (my mobile devices!) Thank you for posting the problem and the solution!

  • nlb87 Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 9, 2012 5:06 PM (in response to beth73)

    Is there a way to recover the deleted messages?
    I've been having the same problem for months (messages randomly being deleted from both the sent and inbox folders) but I'm not sure it's a POP/IMAP issue.  I've just discovered today that an entire month's worth of sent messages has been deleted from the Mac Mail client.

  • Robinfromphoenix Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 21, 2012 4:33 AM (in response to beth73)

    Does anyone have an idea how to fix this without canceling accounts?


    I am also having this problem. It has been occuring for about a week now. I don't have the option to cancel any accounts. I have one account with gmail which I use to corresond with literally hundreds of people, professionally and personally so I need to keep the account. I've looked on my iPhone and don't see any option for erasing (or not erasing) old emails from my inbox. I've also looked through Preferences on my Mac computers. There isn't anything there either.


    BTW, if you really need to retrieve a lost email, you may be able to do it through the Time Machine. I just looked at mine and could see old emails, but I'm afraid of pushing the restore button, assuming that it will replace the more recent emails.

  • Happy-12 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 23, 2012 9:54 PM (in response to beth73)

    There is a setting in Apple Mail that can also automatically delete all emails odler than "x days" without telling you. And the default is "older than 1 month". Here is how to access the setting:

    Preferences-> Accounts -> highlight your account (gmail for me) ->Mailbox Behavior

    Under "Trash" category in the bottom set "Permanently erase deleted messages when" to "Never"

    click another tab on top (like "General") and Mail will ask you to save the changes. Close the Preference window.

  • nlb87 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 26, 2012 11:05 PM (in response to Happy-12)

    Thank you!

    The truth is that I've effectively stopped using Mail because I got so scared of my messages disappearing and can't afford for that to keep happening.

    I did change the setting, as you suggested above but am still nervous to retry Mail.

    Thanks for your help!

  • Robert J A Calculating status...
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    Jan 16, 2013 10:23 AM (in response to beth73)

    Same happened to me, I had a POP-account appearing on my iPhone that I deleted, because I changed it to IMAP. I also  choosed to erase deleted messages from the server after a month. Now, there are no e-mails left. My provider doesn't have them, not in Time Machine, just permantly deleted from my INBOX without me even choosing to do this.

  • appleCaptive Calculating status...
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    Jun 6, 2013 10:29 PM (in response to beth73)

    I'm having the same problem. Preferences are set to never erase deleted messages, yet they self-erase after a week. I suspect it does have something to do with switching from POP to IMAP.


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