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Macmail search doesn't work

1727 Views 6 Replies Latest reply: Mar 25, 2014 1:59 PM by vkalinsky RSS
asge532ld Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Aug 20, 2013 9:55 PM

MacMail search engine is really driving me crazy.    It's obviously useless. googling "mac mail search problems" yields endless search results, including this article in macworld:  .   However these solutions didn't work for me.  I miss Eudora so much. I never had issues finding anything in that application.  Why won't apple just copy whatever they did? 


This is my issue now:

Need to find a password that was emailed me by a company in April.   For whatever reason,  If I sort by name, I get the hundreds of emails received from this company, but not in chronolgoical order.    when I search for terms that I know are in that very email, I get no results.  I realize that somehow I need to reindex all my emails, but the terminal scripts I found in macworld are not working.  I just reindexed the entire hard drive, and still, the macmail search engine cannot search contents of a message.  I open a message, copy text from a message and paste it into the search bar, and still no results.

  • sterling r Community Specialists Community Specialists (3,240 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 23, 2013 8:44 AM (in response to asge532ld)

    Hello asge532ld,


    Thank you for using Apple Support Communities

    I found a great article about rebuilding the mail box and re indexing the messages if the searches arent working forrectly.

    Named Mail (Mountain Lion): Reindex messages and is found here

    The title says that it is for Mountain Lion but it also applies to Lion as well.



    There can be several reasons why searching messages doesn’t return the results you expected.

    • Mail may not be looking in the Trash or Junk mailboxes, or searching encrypted messages. To include these mailboxes and messages when searching all mailboxes, choose Mail > Preferences, click General, and then select the appropriate checkboxes.
    • If you have an Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) or Exchange account, check that the option for keeping copies of messages for offline viewing (in the Advanced settings of the Accounts pane in Mail preferences) is set to “All messages and their attachments.” This ensures that an Entire Message search returns the best results.
    • You might need to sync the mailboxes on your Mac with those on the mail server. To sync mailboxes for all of your accounts, choose Mailbox > Synchronize All Accounts. To sync mailboxes for a specific account, choose Mailbox > Synchronize, and then choose the account.
    • If an Entire Message search doesn’t work after syncing a mailbox, you might need to rebuild the mailbox or reindex messages.Rebuild mailboxesReindex messages




  • Andrew Homzy Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 15, 2013 5:54 PM (in response to asge532ld)

    I also find searchin in Apple Mail to be poor - a failing grade, if you will.


    My work-around is to search my entire computer for a phrase I remember in the particular document. It comes-up in my search and cliking on that brings the "lost" email in to the Mac Mail client.


    Also, I find dozens, if not hundreds of duplicate messages when doing a search -


    Apple - what has gone wrong? Mac Mail used to work -


    Fix it (Notice that I diddn't say "please")



  • bcastille Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 19, 2013 6:11 PM (in response to asge532ld)

    I have the same issue, and I'm equally frustrated. Mail turns up zero results on any search. I've had this problem with Mavericks 10.9 and 10.9.1. Like you, I can search for the first email in my mailbox and it won't find it--or anything else. This is beyond frustrating, and has rendered my mailbox useless.


    I followed the MacWorld fixes, deleted the index files, re-indexed Spotlight, reinstalled the OS twice, and took my laptop to the Genius Bar. The Genius Bar could not fix it either, and they were perplexed. They recommended I reinstall the OS. REINSTALLING THE OS and RE-INDEXING SPOTLIGHT DO NOT FIX THE PROBLEM. Please, can we stop offering those up as solutions?


    This problem has persisted for six weeks now.

  • yaojen Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 30, 2014 3:37 AM (in response to asge532ld)

    Apple, has this Mail search problem been rectified? Any solutions?

  • vkalinsky Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 25, 2014 1:59 PM (in response to sterling r)

    Is there any update? Any solutions?


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