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beth73 Level 1 Level 1

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

    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...





  • beth73 Level 1 Level 1

    Thanks so much for your advice, BDAqua!


    I don't have any personal rules set up, just the standard one from Apple.


    I did as you suggested, but it unfortunately didn't help.  Now it looks like the same thing is happening to my boss's email, which she picks up through Entourage.  Her emails now only go back to 4/22/11.  We think it might be something on our email provider's end. 


    Please let me know if you happen to think of anything else.  Thank you!!

  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10

    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.

  • beth73 Level 1 Level 1

    After much discussion with my email provider, we've finally figured out what was causing the email deletions.  If anyone else has a similar problem, this might be helpful:


    My email account was originally a POP account, which was then switched over to an IMAP account in order to sync it across several devices (two iMacs, a laptop, and an iPhone).  The POP accounts are still on all of these devices, except they had been deactivated so that I could have a record of past emails for reference.  Somehow, the POP account on the iPhone was reactivated, and the setting on that account was set so that emails would be deleted from the server after a week.


    I've since deactivated that account, and my emails are no longer being deleted.


    BDAqua, thanks so much for your advice!  Hope this helps others out there.

  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10

    Whew, thanks for the report Beth!

  • suzanne3t Level 1 Level 1

    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 Level 1 Level 1

    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 Level 1 Level 1

    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

    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

    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 Level 1 Level 1

    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 Level 1 Level 1

    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.

  • jononto Level 1 Level 1

    Hi, I know your post was from a few years ago but i am having the same problem now. messages in my inbox on my macbook get deleted after two weeks but last a lot longer on my other devices.  it sounds like you figured out how to fix it but it was clear to me from reading what i actually have to do?  any guidance would be appreciated.  thanks, JZ

  • BDAqua Level 10 Level 10

    Hi, is this a POP or IMAP account?


    Who is your eMail provider, the part after the @ sign?

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