Why does Mac Mail not delete eMails?
Question by David Hallengren /

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.

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Answers (7)
  • Bette

    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!

  • Ron

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

  • Doug

    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.



  • Nortoftj

    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


      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!

  • Tina


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

  • Mike

    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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