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Question: Do e-mails get stored in the computer when erased?

I would like to know if e-mails are stored in the computer even if it has been deleted in the e-mail box......If so , where do I find them, and how do I delete them from the hard drive?

iMac, macOS Sierra (10.12.5)

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if you delete them from your HD using Apple Mail they should be gone from your computer, but if you use a Time Machine backup it would still be on the backup. It is advised you don't start deleting from the backup in this case, it can cause serious problems.

If in doubt and you plan to sell or donate the comptuer, reformat the drive and install a clean copy of the OS which will delete anything and everything permanently from the drive, and follow the directions here.

What to do before you sell or give away your Mac - Apple Support

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Mar 17, 2018 4:45 PM in response to karlssongunvor In response to karlssongunvor

on the computer if you delete them from your trash folder they may still be available if you have a backup, and the domain host may keep them for a period of time on their servers depending on who you use and what the options available to you were and how they were configured e.g. Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft, Gmail, etc..

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Mar 16, 2018 11:47 AM in response to karlssongunvor In response to karlssongunvor

What system version are you using? Your profile says you are using a relatively modern OS version on a modern computer but you posted in a forum for 15 year old computers. How drive security is handled differs greatly.


Mail does store a cache on your computer. I don't know if this includes a copy of deleted messages. I suspect it does because I can go to my Mail application and click on Trash and it immediately shows what I have trashed recently whereas Mail typically takes a minute or two to finish updating from the server.


Some of the answer to this will depend upon the level of security you are wanting and in what scenario this is being done.

Mar 16, 2018 11:47 AM

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Mar 17, 2018 4:45 PM in response to karlssongunvor In response to karlssongunvor

on the computer if you delete them from your trash folder they may still be available if you have a backup, and the domain host may keep them for a period of time on their servers depending on who you use and what the options available to you were and how they were configured e.g. Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft, Gmail, etc..

Mar 17, 2018 4:45 PM

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Question marked as Apple Recommended

Mar 20, 2018 6:12 AM in response to karlssongunvor In response to karlssongunvor

if you delete them from your HD using Apple Mail they should be gone from your computer, but if you use a Time Machine backup it would still be on the backup. It is advised you don't start deleting from the backup in this case, it can cause serious problems.

If in doubt and you plan to sell or donate the comptuer, reformat the drive and install a clean copy of the OS which will delete anything and everything permanently from the drive, and follow the directions here.

What to do before you sell or give away your Mac - Apple Support

Mar 20, 2018 6:12 AM

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Question: Do e-mails get stored in the computer when erased?