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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Beware of adware included in installers

Downloading an installer? Beware! You might getting more than you wanted. Before you install, check for additional installers. Especially Genieo. It’s Adware and will take over your browsing experience. OS X 10.9.3 added Genieo to list of incompatible software. Another good reason to upgrade to Mavericks.

Recommended

After a user reported the following comment on Apple Discussions, I wanted to see what CNET was doing to a perfectly good utility installer. [Just to be clear, Etrecheck is just one example of what CNET is adding to installers. You can download Etrecheck directly using this link: http://www.etresoft.com/etrecheck. It will not contain the adware. I advise downloading directly from the developer.]

Etrecheck is a no go on my system. Three days ago I downloaded it from CNET and ran it. It hijacked Safari and Firefox. Without asking It installed an Amazon shopping plugin, a Ebay plugin, a Searchme plugin, reset my home page and locked me to the new page. It took me a couple of hours to recover.

I downloaded Etrecheck from CNET. When I tried running the installer, Little Snitch brought up this request. There is no reason for Etrecheck be asking for a connection to www.mybrowserbar.com.

cnet-LS

I continued the install on a test drive and found the following.

The first window looks OK.

cnet installer

However, the second window showed the following was going to be installed unless I select under custom install to remove the extensions CNET was installing along with the utility Etrecheck.

cnet installer ads

Use new User to test for problems

Your Home folder is your main User folder. Your Mac can have multiple User folders so each individual can have their own private personal space. You can also create a new test User for troubleshooting your Mac.

Troubleshooting is a process of elimination. Testing in a new User will quickly tell you if the problem is system wide or if it’s your User’s folder that contains the problem.

A new User will put you in the default setting and preferences with no conflicts from other applications that might be launched automatically in your User’s folder.

CREATE A NEW USER

Go to System Preferences > Create a New User in Accounts (Users & Groups). Switch to the New User by logging out under the Apple in the Menu bar or use Fast User Switching.

You will not see the icon in the Dock for non Apple applications. Simply go to the Applications folder to open or drag to the Dock.

If you need to test specific data in the new User, place data in the Shared folder first.

Your Hard Drive/Users/Shared

 

 

 

 

 

Data in the Shared folder can be accessed by the new User. After you log into the new test User, drag from Shared (it actually copies) your data and place it on the Desktop for easy access.

Remember to drag your data back from Shared for access in your regular User after testing. This is especially important if you are testing your Entourage or Outlook Identity. If not, when you open Entourage or Outlook, it will open in a new blank Identity.

Any POP mail you download into the Identity in the test User will not be available unless you set to “leave on server” in Account > Advanced settings/Server.

Do you still see the issue?

If yes, then the problem is with your base files.
If no, then the problem is in your User’s folder.

If the problem exists in the new User, it could be the application or OS X files. See this link for further testing options.  There are specific instructions for Microsoft Office testing but it includes general troubleshooting tips. If you need personal help you can contact me for private help. See my rates here.

For free help you can ask on the forums:

Apple Discussions

Microsoft Office for Mac Forums