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Apple Mail Emails Missing? Here Is How To View Them

Published By Mohit Jha
Tej Pratap Shukla
Approved By Tej Pratap Shukla
Published On December 18th, 2021
Reading Time 5 Minutes Reading

Some users use different devices like mobile phones and computer or multiple applications to access their email messages. Sometimes while accessing the Inbox or any other folder, the email messages start disappearing.

While searching for emails in Mac’s Mail application, if you are not getting the email then, don’t be panic. This post includes some actually working tricks to fix Apple Mail emails missing issue.

Why are Apple Mail Emails Disappearing?

Mac Mail includes a convenient built-in search feature to find email messages according to headers, recipients, and content. However, occasionally users might find that it is not showing up with the results they expect. In most cases, the emails are actually present but not visible when searched. After detecting the causes like searching email in the wrong mailbox, Virus attack, unintentional deletion of emails, improper account configuration, the presence of bug etc., it will become easy for you to find the missing Apple Mail emails.

Fix Apple Mail Emails Missing Issue Using Some Simple Hacks

Mac Mail has the ability to rebuild the mailbox and this can resolve most of the issues related to emails including Apple Mail disappear from inbox. That’s why it is our first fix.

However this solution may take some time as it will delete all the messages from the mailbox. Hence, if your mailbox is large in size then, it is quite better to try any other method first.

Fix 1. Rebuild The Mailbox in Apple Mail

Below are the guidelines to rebuild the Apple Mail mailbox:

  • Open Apple Mail application, select the desired mailbox
  • Now, from the Mailbox menu, highlight and select Rebuild

After this, the selected mailbox will start rebuilding and it will re-download the messages from the server.

Fix 2. Check The Spotlight Privacy

If you have accidentally blocked the Spotlight from indexing (Library/Mail folder) then, this also can raise the issue. Thus, check the Spotlight permissions with the help of following steps:

  • Navigate to the System Preferences
  • Now, open the Spotlight and click on Privacy menu
  • In case if your Mail folder/ subfolder is displaying in this list then, just remove them with “-” button
  • Then, allow some time to the Spotlight to index the folder and after that, attempt to search your email once again

Fix 3. Check The Mail Settings

For the server-based accounts like iCloud and IMAP mailboxes, all your email messages and attachments must be downloaded from the mail server so that the Spotlight can index them. In rare cases, this can cause Apple Mail emails missing problem. For this:

  • Open Preferences in Apple Mail and click the Accounts tab
  • Select the email account from the left pane and click Advanced
  • Now, make sure that All messages and their attachments option is selected from the offline viewing pop-up menu

Fix 4. Re-index Apple Mail

Apple Mail missing emails issue can resolve via re-indexing the mail forcibly. Below are the guidelines for the same:

  • Open the Terminal from Applications and click Utilities folder
  • Enter mdimport -r /System/Library/Spotlight/Mail.mdimporter command followed by return
  • It will force the Spotlight to re-index all the emails however, other indexes will be left untouched

Fix 5. Reset The Complete Spotlight Index

Also, you can reset the whole Spotlight index. Yet, it will probably take a long time or maybe several hours as it depends upon the amount of data. But if it can fix this irritating issue of Apple Mail emails missing from inbox, then it’s worth the time.

  • From Applications, open Terminal >> Utilities folder from the Spotlight
  • After that, enter the command followed by return: sudo mdutil – E
  • In the next pop-up, enter the system password as only admin is allowed to utilize this command

Fix 6. Resynchronize Accounts

Re-synchronizing your email accounts is also a possible solution. But, this is quite a time-consuming process:

  • Choose the mailbox
  • Hit a right-click and select Synchronize from the pop-up menu
  • Once after completing the process, try to search again for that specific email that was missing

The Bottom Line

Apple Mail emails missing is a known bug in the Mail app. In this post, we have disclosed some amazing tricks that can resolve this issue in a few clicks. However, if none of the above methods works for you and you need to access the disappeared Apple Mail emails then, Mac MBOX Converter is definitely a great help for you. You can export the mailbox items in formats like EML, EMLX, PST, PDF, HTML etc. This helps you to either view the converted files (EMLX, EML) in Mac Mail including the missing emails or view all the missing emails in other email clients like Outlook without any kind of hassle.

Some Questions Regarding Apple Mail:

My emails in Mac Mail has suddenly started disappearing arbitrarily. How can I fix it?

There are six fixes for your problems. You can use either of them:
Spotlight Privacy
Mail Settings
Spotlight Index

The missing items issue is specific to only some of my mailbox folders. Can this be fixed?

Have you tried to check the filter settings of your mailbox folder? Go to View menu & Disable message filters mailbox by mailbox to get rid of the issue.

I cannot find some of my emails in my Inbox. However, they appear in the search results. How do I recover them?

In such cases, the Rebuild mailbox option is your best choice. It will take some time to finish, but can get rid of almost all issues with your muddled mailbox.

The Rebuild option is not working. Either my emails or missing or the contents are lost. How do I fix them?

Try opening Mac Mail in safe mode to see if the emails are visible now. If not, delete the account, relaunch Apple Mail and add it again. It should work now.


By Mohit Jha

Mohit is a Microsoft-certified expert who has assisted thousands of clients with Outlook & Microsoft Office 365 issues. He enjoys writing on email clients as well as data migration. He is always excited about giving troubled readers the most up-to-date knowledge, explanation, and refinements.