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Question: mail search completely broken in Catalina

I am no longer able to search.

1) if I search something all it does is show the numerical number of matches below the search bar - nothing changes in the actual email list

2) if I select the sender (right click) same result - nothing shows up except the numerical number of results which does not help


I tried to rebuild my mailbox but this does nothing.


Any help would be appreciated.

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Oct 10, 2019 2:56 AM in response to iPhoneXWizard In response to iPhoneXWizard

I went to system preferences, internet accounts and switched off my Gmail, leaving an exchange and imap account active. I turned my computer off and back on and search worked perfectly fine, I then re-added my Gmail account and it all seems to be working. I'd guess there's something in the gmail indexing settings that isn't playing well with catalina's new spotlight mail search integration.

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Oct 8, 2019 5:17 PM in response to JamesX77 In response to JamesX77

This solved my problem. My search was broken too. I followed the stop/start spotlight as mentioned in the post above and the search is gradually coming back to normal. I think Spotlight needed a kick to get moving.

Summarizing from the link:


1) Launch the Terminal.app (Just copy/paste the string starting with sudo.... and press return)

2) Stop Spotlight and remove the indexing: # sudo mdutil -i off -E / <return>

3) Enable it again by typing: # sudo mdutil -i on / <return>


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Oct 10, 2019 3:33 AM in response to theak123 In response to theak123

Well, i've done the same procedure and i can confirm that the problem seems to be related to Gmail accounts.


After this operation searches on Exchange accounts started to work correctly.

Searches on GMAIL account are still not working

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Oct 8, 2019 5:37 AM in response to runningwolf79 In response to runningwolf79

Same problem. Smart mailboxes are now dead in the water (as are searches) in Mail after the Catalina upgrade on my iMac. On my MacBook Pro after the Catalina upgrade searches and smart mailboxes are working just fine.

Oct 8, 2019 5:37 AM

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Oct 8, 2019 5:57 AM in response to JamesX77 In response to JamesX77

Do you just have Catalina installed, or do you have Catalina installed with another Mojave volume? In the latter case, it hoses Catalina Mail search, and special steps will need to be taken to get Mail search working correctly on Catalina. If this is the case, I will post those steps.

Oct 8, 2019 5:57 AM

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Oct 8, 2019 6:24 AM in response to VikingOSX In response to VikingOSX

hello vikingOSX, I only have Catalina installed, saying that, my email search is working again. I am not 100% what I did to fix this or if it corrected itself (which I doubt).


the only thing I did was rebuild my mailbox (more then once) and applied this fix

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/8583152


I do have another search problem though:

notes (app) do not show in spotlight search. I am not sure how to fix this so if anyone has any suggestions that would be appreciated.


Oct 8, 2019 6:24 AM

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Question marked as Helpful

Oct 8, 2019 5:17 PM in response to JamesX77 In response to JamesX77

This solved my problem. My search was broken too. I followed the stop/start spotlight as mentioned in the post above and the search is gradually coming back to normal. I think Spotlight needed a kick to get moving.

Summarizing from the link:


1) Launch the Terminal.app (Just copy/paste the string starting with sudo.... and press return)

2) Stop Spotlight and remove the indexing: # sudo mdutil -i off -E / <return>

3) Enable it again by typing: # sudo mdutil -i on / <return>


Oct 8, 2019 5:17 PM

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Oct 9, 2019 3:16 AM in response to miner2008 In response to miner2008

I'm having the same issue.

I tried rebuilding each mailbox, removing the Envelope Index files (in ~/Library/Mail/MailData), reindexing the volume with Spotlight, erasing the entire Mail folder, and finally disabling/enabling Spotlight.

Nothing worked.

Mail search is still dead in the water, and smart mailboxes and the "Flagged" folder are not responding.

Spotlight doesn't display any Mail results either.


The full reindexing with Spotlight took only a few minutes (it's a brand new laptop with not too many files). I assume this is normal, but is there a delay before it takes effect?


Thanks in advance

Oct 9, 2019 3:16 AM

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Question marked as Helpful

Oct 10, 2019 2:56 AM in response to iPhoneXWizard In response to iPhoneXWizard

I went to system preferences, internet accounts and switched off my Gmail, leaving an exchange and imap account active. I turned my computer off and back on and search worked perfectly fine, I then re-added my Gmail account and it all seems to be working. I'd guess there's something in the gmail indexing settings that isn't playing well with catalina's new spotlight mail search integration.

Oct 10, 2019 2:56 AM

Reply Helpful (19)
Question marked as Helpful

Oct 10, 2019 3:33 AM in response to theak123 In response to theak123

Well, i've done the same procedure and i can confirm that the problem seems to be related to Gmail accounts.


After this operation searches on Exchange accounts started to work correctly.

Searches on GMAIL account are still not working

Oct 10, 2019 3:33 AM

Reply Helpful (7)
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Question: mail search completely broken in Catalina