Apple Mail files are typically stored in ~/Library/Mail/ folder on Mac. Many Mac users have experienced or are experiencing the Mac Mail folders disappeared issue. The issue may be due to an accidental deletion of the Mail folder, an upgrade from macOS Big Sur to latest macOS 12 Monterey, from Catalina to macOS 11 Big Sur, or among other situations. This article will show you different ways to restore Mac mail and make folders show up again.
In some cases, you need to restore the missing Mail folders from Time Machine backup (if available) or with the help of data recovery software for Mac. In other cases, the Mac Mail mailboxes, folders or subfolders only disappear from the sidebar in the application and different methods will be needed. All the methods provided in this article are applicable to macOS Monterey, Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, Sierra and some older versions.
I lost all of my Mail files but I didn't backup system by Time Machine, and also didn’t do any other backups, how can I restore my Mail files?” ― Asked by a Mac user
Not all Mac users back up their Macs with Time Machine. Also, sometimes, restoring Mail from Time Machine just doesn’t work. Is there a universal way to restore the disappeared Mac Mail folders?
Cisdem Data Recovery for Mac is an easy-to-use and powerful app to recover lost, deleted or formatted photos, videos, documents and other types of files on Mac, including Mac Mailbox emlx files. It can also recover data from external hard drive, SD card, USB flash drive, digital cameras, iPods, etc. If some important data, say Mac Mail mailboxes, have disappeared, don’t panic. This app will be able to recover them efficiently. A free trial is available for all Mac users.
Compared with restoring Mail folder from Time Machine, it’s a lot easier to restore deleted or lost Mail using Cisdem Data Recovery. Below are the steps.
It is the easiest way to restore Mac Mail files. There is nothing complicated. All the Mail files can be recovered without loss. This data recovery app is easy and safe to use.
Here’s a scenario. When opening mail, you find that all the folders previously associated with your iCloud or Gmail account are not showing. When you select “Get Account Info”, they are all listed. They just don’t display in the mailbox. If it’s your case, you can go to "Preferences" and change the settings. By doing so, you will restore the Mail folders. This method works in many cases.
If the steps above are useless in your situation, just try the other methods.
The missing or disappeared Mac Mail Mailboxes may be just caused by sync problems, all the mails are kept update to date in the original mail account but not synchronized in Mail app.
If not working for you, keep reading and try the following methods.
If the Email accounts are working, but the mailboxes have disappeared, the second method will probably be of little help. That being said, you can still try it out. On the Apple discussions forum, there are a number of threads about Mac Mail mailboxes disappearing. With situation like this, you can try re-indexing the mailboxes to do email recovery on Mac by following the instructions below.
Hopefully this method can work. But there are some users to whom this method is not useful. They rebuilt the mailbox and still can't get the messages to appear. The re-indexing will not work if the Mail folders files don’t exist on the computer anymore. If it’s the case, it means t hat your Mail folder is lost and you need to use a professional tool to restore your Mail folder.
Sometimes when our social media or mail account runs into errors, we will log out and re-login to fix the problem, and most of the times, it solves the problem magically. To fix “Mac Mail Mailboxes Disappeared”, we can also use this workaround, delete the account first, then re-add and re-load mails in Apple Mail app.
Many Mac users back up their Macs with Time Machine. If you are one of them and you have lost Mail messages recently, you can restore Mail from Time Machine. An article on macissues.com provides three options to manually restore disappeared Mail folder from Time Machine.
Sometimes, restoring missing Mac Mail folders from Time Machine is just able to recover a few messages. This approach may simply not work in some cases. And if you want to restore your entire system to a prior backup, you need to guess what if something terrible happen and we need to give up one of the three. Because the whole process of the full system restore will take you some time, and you lose some third-party application registrations, which will take some terrible things for you. You'd better have a mental preparation.
Rosa has worked in Mac software industry for more than eight years. She believes that the purpose of software is to make life better and work more productively. In addition to writing, Rosa is also an avid runner.
I was lucky the 1st explanation was the correct one for me.
Yup, for me too. Nice; simple and quick! Thank you!!
Thank heavens for your site - the first action - preferences unchecking and checking the little box worked for me - thank you
I love you! Seriously. I have been dying here since 7 am (It's almost one in the afternoon now) All my mailboxes saved disappeared when I launched Mail this morning. My airline and hotel reservation for my SEMA trip to Vegas. Everything gone. And it's all back!! Yeah!!!
Hi Kevin, what was the code for recovering your mailboxes or what did you restore? I am panicking for the same reason! Please help.
Excellent article. A big thank you
Hey, your article is excellent. And i tried cisdem data recovery, the scanning process was smooth, but the trial version didn't allow me to restore, and i consider to buy one. Thank you.