Troubleshooting Apple Mail in OS X 10.11 El Capitan

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.

Compare V2 folder to V3

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.

upgradev3

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.

Or

  • 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.

restore from tm

Option 2)  Under File in the Menu bar select Import Mailboxes…

File-import

Select Apple Mail

File-import.

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.

File-import..

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.

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No Mail Sounds with POP Accounts El Capitan v10.11.1

Apple issued a fix for no mail sounds in OS X 10.11.1. However the fix is only working for users with IMAP accounts.

I verified this by creating a new User as a blank canvas for testing.

  • I added a new POP account and tested. No sound.
  • I deleted the POP account and added it back as IMAP. Now I get sound when receiving.

Is this a bug or by design? It’s hard to understand how sound can work for IMAP and Exchange but not POP if not by design. Users need to send Apple Feedback so it can be logged and put in the queue to be fixed. http://www.apple.com/feedback/macosx.html

In the mean time, the only workaround seems to be to create a rule to play a sound. See this example by ThoughtForce on Apple Discussions.

I suggest all users with POP accounts switch to IMAP if possible. Most email providers offer IMAP as an option now.

What’s the difference between IMAP and POP?

IMAP works by keeping mail on the server. All folders (Inbox, Drafts, Sent, Trash) including your custom folders are saved on the server.

POP works by downloading from your Inbox only. If you read on one device, the read status will not be reflected on other devices. If you delete from server the message only exists on your Mac.

Moving to a new computer or recovering from a crash, IMAP is the easiest option with no loss of data.

By default, Mail will setup most accounts as IMAP. However if you have your account set as POP you will need to remove the account first then add it back as IMAP.

Before deleting your POP account in Mail, any messages in your POP Inbox will need to be saved. Create a mailbox (folder) under “On My Mac”. Move all the Inbox messages for the POP account to this folder. Do this for every POP account that you have. When you remove the POP account, Mail deletes all messages in the Inbox. It does not delete messages in your other folders.

If your provider is not in Apple’s default setup, check your email provider for setup instructions. If your provider does not offer IMAP there are many good free options you can use [ iCloud, Comcast, Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, MSFT’s (Hotmail, Live, MSN, Outlook.com)]

If you need assistance switching to IMAP, you can post a comment for help.