Why can’t I delete mail messages in Mac OS X Yosemite?

ROSA October 18, 2014

I just upgraded my system to Yosemite and now I cannot delete messages in mail. Please help – this is very frustrating!

  1. BFM
    November 27, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    I have the same problem as Ken and Rosa. Only delete works (on the keyboard or the ctrl-click menu).

  2. Ken Botwinick
    November 20, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    What I want to know is why I can't CUT (Command-X) my messages any longer? I used to do that for stuff I absolutely knew I didn't want like spam, etc., and which I didn't want littering my mail trash taking up space because I would never want it back. (But of course, I could still undo the cut if I did it immediately.)

    It no longer seems there is any option to IMMEDIATELY DELETE a message without storing it in some folder/trash/server, etc.

    Am I missing something? The way the person phrased the initial question, this might be the exact same question regardless of rebuilding, etc.

  3. Ellen Grossi
    November 20, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    This is the closest thread to my problem, so can someone tell me why I can't highlight all my mail to delete it? It only lets me do it one at a time after the upgrade to Yosemite.

  4. Anonymous
    November 6, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    The "Rebuild" worked (had to shut down and re-open mac mail after doing the rebuild though). Thanks,

  5. tom
    October 31, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    lifesaver. THANK YOU.

  6. Ben
    October 30, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Thanks. Rebuilding the folder worked for me. Kinda aggravating that OS X and Gmail don't get along better.

  7. david.beav@gmail.com
    October 28, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Are you using Gmail? Gmail is known to have unusual behavior, in that Deleting a message doesn't really delete it; it moves it from your Inbox to the All Mail folder (called Archive in Mail.app)

    That's the way it always worked, but in the past, pressing the Delete button did close the message. Now it seems that Delete button moves the message to the Archive folder but does not close the message window (which makes you think nothing happened

  8. Bonnie
    October 28, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    My problem is with one email message that is crashing my system - where do I find this email (path) on my hard drive? Using Yosemite.

    • Jan F.
      November 19, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      I only just saw your question:

      Finding one mail is ~ not impossible ~ but rather pointless. Apple Mail uses an elaborate folder structure and the final mail just has a message ID in it's name.
      If this one mail is indeed corrupt any way to find it will probably just crash e.g. the Finder or Spotlight too and you won't be able to preview it with Quick Look either.

      My suggestion is to select the message above, press and hold Shift and click the mail below. Then hit delete.
      Now go into the Trash folder, select the mail above, press and hold CMD and click the mail below. Now those two wanted mails should be selected and you can move them back to their original folder. Finally, right-click the Trash and Erase deleted items.

  9. Pam
    October 27, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    If this is like the problem I am having, I simply try to click "delete" from the preview pane and nothing happens. No message, blue dot doesn't disappear, just completely ignored.

  10. Jan F.
    October 18, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Do you receive any error message?

    In some cases e.g. when you attempted to modify/move/delete too many messages too fast the Mail Index gets out of sync with the actual folders content stored on your hard drive.

    The first solution you should try is to select the Trash folder in Apple Mail, then in the top menu select Mailbox > Rebuild. If that doesn't fix it try the same with the folder you are having issues to delete from e.g. select Inbox and rebuild it.

    You might see some messages disappearing or previously deleted ones reappearing. That is because Apple uses the Index to show the messages in the list and when rebuilding that Index is rebuild using the actual stored messages.

    Depending on the number of messages rebuilding can take a while. I suggest to click on Window > Activity to see the progress and wait for it to finish.

    • Kevin R.
      November 19, 2014 at 10:09 am

      Jan F. if I ever meet you I will hug you. You're a rock star. Your advice solved so much frustration. Thank you.

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