The Apple Mail upgrade process in OS X 10.11 El Capitan has been problematic for many users. Let’s look at what has changed and optons to fix a bad upgrade.
Apple Mail is stored in your User’s Library. Apple hides User’s Library by default. You’ll need to unhide in order to continue. How to enable the User’s Library folder
Since OS X 10.7 (Lion), Mail has been stored in the User’s Library > Mail > V2 folder. Starting in OS X 10.11 El Capitan, Mail is stored in User’s Library > Mail > V3 folder.
This screen shot shows my V2 folder compared to V3 folder.
This is an example of a V3 folder with a bad upgrade. As you can see, it’s a mix of old folders with new.
To Repair Mail in El Capitan follow these steps.
Step 1: Make sure you have backup. If you have Time Machine or clone backup you are covered. If not, be sure to duplicate your Mail folder in the User’s Library.
Step 2: Quit Mail
- In System Preferences > Internet Accounts, uncheck Mail for each account.
- Go to the User’s Library
- Scroll to Containers. Drag the com.apple.mail folder to the trash.
- Scroll to Mail. Drag Mail folder to the trash.
- Scroll to Preferences. Drag any com.apple.mail.plist files to the trash
- Log out under the Apple in the Menu bar
- Log in
- Empty the Trash. If not, Mail will continue to try and use data in the Mail folder.
- Open System Preferences > Internet Accounts and check Mail for your primary account. I suggest adding one email account at a time.
- Open Mail and test account.
- For IMAP and Exchange users with no local messages under “On My Mac” there is no step 3 required.
Step 3: Import messages stored under “On My Mac”
Option 1) Use a Time Machine backup. Go back in time just prior to OS X 10.11 El Capitan upgrade. You should only see a V2 folder in Mail.
- If you are in your User’s Library > Mail folder, enter Time Machine. Restore the V2 folder to the Desktop. Follow step 2 to import the data into Mail.
- If you are in Mail under “On My Mac” folders (you’ll need to create a folder if one does not exist to see “On My Mac”) you can enter Time Machine in this view then go back in time and select to restore your folders.
Option 2) Under File in the Menu bar select Import Mailboxes…
Select Apple Mail
Navigate to your Mail backup folder. Select Mailboxes folder in V2 > Import.
(Most users did not export mailboxes prior to upgrading but if you did, navigate to your exported folders)
Your messages will show up under “On My Mac” in a folder named Import. It will most likely be at the bottom of your folder list and not listed alphabetically.
Occassionally, I have seen importing from V2 to show messages formatted incorrectly. If you cannot export from Mail in a prior version of OS X, you can use Emailchemy to convert these to mbox files that will import in the correct format. Emailchemy has a demo you can try first. $29.95 to purchase.