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Question: missing mailboxes how to recover?

had been running Yosemite for a number of years, and have been using Apple Mail for forever

(2 Gmail accounts, 1 iCloud account, archives ON MY MAC mailboxes)

recently thought I seemed to have lost a single mailbox from one of the Gmail accounts, sidebar 😕

Seemed odd, scratched my head for days, convinced I def HAD that mailbox once upon a time and so went digging in my Time Machine backups.

<27 Sept I had 17mailboxes in that Gmail account

>5 Oct I only had 10!!!!! 😮

No idea what occurred during that period, no major crashes or fails I recall, but thats when they appear to have vanished.

Unfortunately I didn't notice until after 17 Nov when I upgraded to macOS Sierra (not high).

The FULL backup I took of Yosemite on that day does not include the missing 7 mailboxes if I look in ~/Library/Mail/V2/iMAP-account

I've tried all manor of methods to get this mail back but i'm at an impasse it would seem.

I've tried pulling back JUST the Mailboxes but they wont IMPORT,

I've tried resetting Sierra mail and setting up from scratch with the recovered V2 directory (just gives me the latest version of my mail with seven missing)

Resorted to restoring a FULL time machine to the 27Sept and the 20 Sept, on a seperate drive.

When I open Mail, it displays ALL seventeen mailboxes but NONE show content.

...the moment I put the network interfaces online the 7 boxes vanish! 😟

I can open the app up with the mailboxes visible, but the network has to be off.

ANY tips on how I might get into the contents of these mailboxes?

they all show various sizes in Get Info, so it would appear there is SOMETHING lurking in the mbox files

frustrated dot com

iMac, OS X Yosemite (10.10.5), late2013-27"/3.5 i7/24GB RAM/1TBSSD

Posted on


Dec 21, 2017 5:20 AM in response to Eric Root In response to Eric Root

cheers Eric. not sure how Rebuilding the Spotlight index is going to put mailboxes & messages back in my Yosemite Mail? 😕

its not that I cant find something with a search, its the fact the mailboxes are not in the sidebar of Yosemite mail.

When I do recover the system to a state where the boxes appear, they are empty

and I cannot turn networking on, as the Gmail IMAP service promptly deletes them again.

I have tried rebuilding/reindexing/ouija board, but nothing seems to recover these much needed mailboxes 😢

Dec 21, 2017 5:20 AM

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Dec 28, 2017 1:02 AM in response to Eric Root In response to Eric Root

Eric, apologies been busy...

yes I did try the second link

here is the rub:

Linc Davis wrote:

When you rebuild mailboxes for IMAP or Exchange accounts, messages and attachments stored on your computer are discarded, and then downloaded again from the mail server to your Mac. Your mailbox appears empty until the download is complete.

The RECOVERED mailboxes from 3 months ago appear empty. The second I turn the network interface back on the IMAP mailbox then DELETES the mailboxes because they no longer exist on the server.

The recovered boxes have data sizes LARGER than that of an empty mailbox, yet Apple mail needs it to 'sync' to the server to repopulate. This is a bit daft, seeing as this is the very reason I am doing the recovery, because its missing from the server now.


Dec 28, 2017 1:02 AM

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Jan 12, 2018 2:52 AM in response to havinabubble In response to havinabubble

so I'm still struggling to recover these missing boxes...sick of clicking IMPORT, sick of selecting recovered copies and sick of never seeing this mythical IMPORT MAILBOX that should appear at the bottom on the mailbox list. 😠

BUT I have stumbled across an odd anomaly in HIGH SIERRA.

my daily driver is now SIERRA (V4 mail folder) ....and yes I know this is posted in OS X Yosemite, but thats where my mailboxes appear to have gone missing.

I also have a MacBook Pro which is High Sierra (V5 mail folder)

the MBP was a Yosemite > Capitan > Sierra > High Sierra upgrade path.

on hunting the Mail folder structure I have stumbled across the missing mailboxes!

Mail / V2 / MailData /Account.plist (as you would expect following an upgrade) - from its Yosemite/Mountain Lion days

Mail / V5 / 13E9D25C-CC99-4B95-9F07-D81380336804/ all my CURRENT visible mailboxes in Apple Mail Gmail acc

Mail / V5 / 709F713C-3752-483D-8910-8D571CDD7829/ The Missing mailbox list dated 21 Sept 2017

Apple Mail, somewhere along the track, has doubled up, or parked these mailboxes for whatever reason.

I've tried reimporting but no joy.

any thoughts on how to get them back into my mail again?

BTW I have a FULL Yosemite system restore to September 2017 as mentioned in a previous post. And as long as I DONT turn networking on it has the full original mail structure and files if that could be of any use

Jan 12, 2018 2:52 AM

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Question: missing mailboxes how to recover?