Why does Mac Mail not delete eMails?

David Hallengren December 23, 2010
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Why is Mail for Mac not deleting the eMails I asked it to delete and how can I resolve this issue? I’m running the default eMail client for Mac on Mac OS X 10.6.5.

  1. Bette
    April 30, 2012 at 5:08 am

    Re: Mac Mail: I was saving emails to an "On My Mac" folder. I went to delete the selected files and now I have an error message. Its a pull down (?) that covers the mail box. And there are some of the deleted files in the pull down.A total mystery how this happened. I have search through the menu to see where I can delete it but to no avail. It has locked up my ability to access most all of the email functions. I am concerned that if I force quite Mac mail that it won't open. I cannot access emails and I do not have a back up email (like gmail). Look forward to some brilliant ideas! Please reply to my Facebook account. https://www.facebook.com/bette.steflik Thanks!

  2. Ron
    April 12, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Same here, Apple Mail keeps showing previously deleted emails.
    After selecting and deleting emails they disappear, but the next day they appear again!

  3. Doug
    March 25, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Just wanted to let you know that I was having the same problem(could not delete  emails with attachments) and used your method of deleting the deleted messages folder and .mbox.  You system cleared up my problem.



  4. Nortoftj
    October 22, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    I have a similar problem. Certain emails in one of my accounts will not delete no matter what I do.

    I tried Mike’s process above, but it made no difference in Mail’s behaviour at all. The stubborn messages remain.

    • Tina
      October 27, 2011 at 4:37 pm


      the above question is several months old and as you see you have not received a response to your comment. I'm afraid I cannot answer your question, however, I recommend you to ask a new question. It will be published on the Answers frontpage and you will receive replies for sure!

  5. Tina
    December 26, 2010 at 4:45 am


    did you try Mike's suggestions, did they work or were you able to fix the issue otherwise? Please let us know. Thank you!

  6. Mike
    December 24, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Do you get any error message when trying to delete Emails?

    Two things you can try:

    (1) Get Apple Mail to reindex your Emails
    - quit the Mail App (cmd + Q)
    - go to ~/Library/Mail/ inside your homefolder and delete the file "Envelope Index"
    - start Apple Mail

    (2) let Mail re-create the Deleted Messages folders
    - quit the Mail app
    - again, go to ~/Library/Mail/ inside your homefolder
    - move all "Deleted Messages.mbox" folders to your Desktop

    ~/Library/Mail/Mailboxes/"Deleted Messages.mbox"
    ~/Library/Mail/POP-youraccount/"Deleted Messages.mbox"
    ~/Library/Mail/IMAP-account/"Deleted Messages.mbox"

    now you can start Apple Mail again
    optionally you can import the Message folders to get all previously deleted Emails back

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