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Thread: emails moved to subfolders are gone

  1. #1


    Member Since
    Aug 03, 2012
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    emails moved to subfolders are gone
    I have subfolders in Mail under each email address I use. The subfolders are still there but emails I have moved to them are gone. A couple of the subfolders have some emails in them that go back 2-3 months, although there should be emails starting several years ago, and some are empty. It almost seems as if subfolders that I have moved things to recently are the ones that show up for the last couple of months and subfolders that have not had anything moved into them for a few months have had everything disappear. Anything I can do to get the emails to show back up? Thanks.

  2. #2

    chscag's Avatar
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    Jan 23, 2008
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    Do you have a backup? Time Machine? That would be one way although sometimes it's difficult even with Time Machine to restore email.

    Also... if your email account(s) are pop3 accounts, it's possible that old email may still be archived on the server. However, nowadays most accounts are IMAP which means that old email has long ago been deleted.

    I have email subfolders that go back 5 years or more with stored items of various subjects and have never experienced loss even when updating macOS. Stored mail does not disappear by itself. Are you sure that they are really gone and did you do anything that might have impacted your mail?

  3. #3


    Member Since
    Aug 03, 2012
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    3
    All my accounts are IMAP. And all except one are gmail. The one that isn't is a work go-daddy account. Some of the go-daddy subfolders go back to 2015 but stop at July 2016, or only have emails from 2016 and not before or after, where there should be more information in them.

    I have tried to restore emails with Time Machine (which is on my desktop but not my laptop) but it does not seem to work. But then again, I am not sure when the messages have disappeared so maybe I did not go back far enough. I have noticed this for a while and have tried to find a solution by googling when I had the time, but was not successful. Obviously.

    I mispoke earlier - I have one of my gmail email accounts where I regularly move messages to a subfolder and those go back to December 2016. This is the only gmail subfolder that has them that far back and there should be some a lot older than that in there. The rest of the subfolders go back to February or May 2018 or have nothing at all in them.

    The one gmail subfolder that goes back to February 2018 should have information in it from 2013 forward.

    To my knowledge, I have not deleted the information out of them. I am not sure how I could have; what could I have done to have caused the deletion of emails out of 26 different subfolders?

  4. #4

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
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    Not sure, but I believe the problem is with gmail IMAP. At one time I had most of my mail and subfolders listed on my Mac and was using a gmail IMAP account. For some reason those folders were deleted. Fortunately I had a CCC backup and could restore. However, for some crazy reason gmail kept changing or removing folders. I went back to using a pop3 account and have had no problems since.

    I must admit I don't know how gmail handles folders and subfolders for an IMAP account since everything on the server seems to get reflected on your Mac. That's the part I do not like which is why I switched back to pop3. My iCloud account is IMAP and that seems to be OK.

    What I suggest from now on is that you think about using a mail organizing and archiving application especially since you have multiple accounts. That kind of app not only organizes your mail and archives it but it preserves it which is the most important. There are several apps you can look at so do some googling and pick one you can live with.

    As for restoring from Time Machine.... that requires a bit of black magic. What works is to first open Mail and se

  5. #5

    pm-r's Avatar
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    Oct 16, 2010
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    I have almost no experience with IMAP or gmail, but would it help to salvage stuff by running Mail's mailbox Rebuild function???

    I can't see that it would hurt as it's already kaput it seems.


    EDIT:
    Here's what Apple's Mail Help says:
    Rebuild Mailboxes
    Select a mailbox, then choose Mailbox > Rebuild.
    When you rebuild mailboxes for IMAP and Exchange accounts, locally stored messages and attachments are discarded, and the messages and attachments are downloaded again from the server to your Mac. Your mailbox appears empty until the download is complete.



    - Patrick
    ======
    Last edited by pm-r; 07-02-2018 at 05:07 PM.

  6. #6

    MacInWin's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 01, 2009
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    Winchester, VA
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    As I understand it, IMAP give the server the power to delete email on your system by deleting them from the server and then the next time you sync (get mail), they disappear from the inbox on your system. What I do to avoid that happening (it has not, so far, as my mail service doesn't delete anything) is to COPY, not MOVE incoming emails from the Inbox to a different folder. That way, if the ISP starts deleting old emails, I'll still have them in that other folder. I think when you MOVE emails the application still knows that particular message by reference number, so when the IMAP server copy is deleted, so is yours. But a COPY is a new message, which the server knows nothing about. That's my theory, anyway.

    And if what is happening is the service is deleting them from their inbox and you do what Patrick suggested, all you'll get back are the most current messages that the server has on it.
    Jake

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