Mac Fixes

Mac Mail Not Working

There are lots of reasons behind Apple Mail not working on Mac. How do you know it’s not working correctly? The Mac Mail app might be unresponsive and not receive new emails. The Mail app might not be opening at all. Fortunately, whatever the problem is, you just need to follow a simple set of troubleshooting steps to fix it.

 

Before we start

 

It’s frustrating when any app unexpectedly stops opening or loading correctly on your Mac, let alone when it’s an app that is used as often as Apple Mail. One of the best ways to keep your MacBook running smoothly is to regularly ensure all of your apps are up-to-date. To fix Mail on Mac, we recommend using MacKeeper’s Update Tracker to scan and automatically initiate any pending updates, reducing the likelihood of program or system crashes.

 

Here’s how you to use MacKeeper’s Update Tracker to update all your important apps:

  1. Download MacKeeper and launch the app on your Mac.
  2. Navigate the side menu to the Update Tracker feature.
  3. Click Scan for Updates to allow MacKeeper to check your software is up-to-date.
  4. On the left, choose the apps found by ticking the boxes and confirming to Update.

Why is Mail not working on Mac

If you’re encountering issues with Mail on your Mac, these could point to various problems, each presenting its unique challenges and disruptions. Specifically, when Mail not working on Mac, it can manifest into numerous scenarios, such as:

  • Mail app won’t open.
  • Mail is frozen and unresponsive.
  • You can’t receive new emails.
  • You can’t send emails because they get stuck in the outbox.
  • Mail won’t load your email accounts or inbox.
  • The Mail search bar isn’t working.
  • Apple keeps asking for your email passwords.
  • Mail is slow or keeps crashing and quitting.
  • Mail isn’t showing your email messages.

These common problems explain your and other users’ challenges with Apple Mail on their MacBook or iMac devices. But worry not, we’ll delve into several effective troubleshooting methods to address these issues, allowing you to regain productivity and smart control over the Mail app.

How to fix Apple Mail on your Mac

Luckily, there are various effective methods to resolve the Mail app issues that might hinder its performance. We’ll guide you through everything from connection checks to changing settings and re-linking your email accounts.

 

Here are several solutions to help with Mac Mail troubleshooting:

If your Mac is running slow before you begin any Mac Mail troubleshooting, then that’s the first issue you’ll need to address with the help of our supporting guide. Though it might be tricky to load or continually re-open the Mail app if your Mac is slow, we know how to help you oppose long loading times and crashes.

1. Open Mail from the Applications folder

If you’ve recently updated macOS, the Mail icon in your Dock app may still be an older version, as it mightn’t have updated automatically. To fix Mail on Mac, all you need to do is open the Mail app from the Applications folder:

  1. Launch Finder.
  2. Select Applications from the sidebar (or press Cmd + Shift + A).
  3. Find and double-click Mail to open it.
  4. If this works, drag Mail from the Finder to the Dock to update the icon.
To open the Mail app from the Applications folder, you'll first need to open Finder. It can either be accessed via the Dock on your MacBook device or you can do a spotlight search for Finder.
Step 1. Open Finder
Once you have located the Mac Mail app, you can double-click on it to open Mail from the Applications folder. You can also drag the icon into your Dock to update the Mail icon to the newest version if necessary.
Step 2. In Applications, find and double-click on Mail to open it

2. Check Mail Activity

Monitoring Mail activity on your MacBook lets you gain insights into how the app interacts with servers and handles incoming and outgoing messages. This method aids in helping you identify any connectivity problems or issues surrounding Apple Mac not loading emails correctly.

 

Here’s how to check Mail activity:

  1. Open the Mail application on your Macbook.
  2. Click on the Window menu at the top of the screen within the Mail app.
  3. Choose the Activity option from the dropdown menu. This opens a pop-up Activity Viewer window, displaying a real-time overview of Mail's ongoing operations.
  4. Monitor the Activity Viewer for insights into Mail's operations, including message sending/receiving, connection statuses, or potential errors.
To check Mail activity, you will need to begin by opening the Mac Mail app. It can be found via a Spotlight search or most likely located in your Dock.
Step 1. Open Mail App
Once you have opened the Mac Mail app, you will need to open it as a full-page view to see the Window Sub-menu. From here, you'll be able to click on Window and then scroll down to select Activity.
Step 2. Click on the Window Menu and select Activity
After you have clicked Activity, a pop-up box should appear. This is known as the Mail Activity Viewer which allows you to monitor and check Mail activity including message sending/receiving, connection statuses, or potential errors.
Step 3. Check and monitor Activity Viewer

Pay attention to network activity indicators or error logs displayed within the Activity Viewer. It’ll also display Wi-Fi connectivity issues as well as server-related problems.

3. Use Connection Doctor to check your connections

You probably already know that you need an internet connection to send and receive emails, but if your device is offline, you might still encounter issues using the app, like Mail not opening on Mac. If you haven’t already, open a web browser and load a new page to test your Wi-Fi connection. If you encounter problems like loading, unexpectedly long lags, or if it's offline, you can follow these tips to fix your Mac internet connection.

 

Even if your Mac appears to be online, you should use the Connection Doctor in the Mail app to test the connection to all your email accounts. Here’s how:

  1. Launch the Mail app.
  2. From the menu bar, go to Window > Connection Doctor.
  3. The Connection Doctor will open, showing green or red lights next to each of your accounts.
  4. If there’s a red light next to your account, double-click it to make sure the username and password are correct.
To use Connection Doctor to check your connections within the Mail app, you'll first need to go to your Dock and open Mac Mail.
Step 1. Launch the Mail app
From the Menu bar inside the Mail app, go to Window and select Connect Doctor in order to check your connections.
Step 2. From the menu bar, go to Window > Connection Doctor
The Mail Connection Doctor window shows the list of your connections as well as their status and details. In the first place, ay attention to the red lights to manage the problematic connections and bring them in order
Step 3. Connection Doctor will open

4. Quit or force quit the Mail app

One of the best steps you can take when any app stops working on your MacBook or iMac—including the Mail app—is to quit and restart it. Of course, that’s easier said than done if the reason Mail has stopped working is that it’s unexpectedly frozen and you’re unable to get the app to respond. In such cases, performing a force quit might be necessary to fix Mail on Mac.

 

Luckily, you can easily force quit the Mail app even if it’s unresponsive.

  1. To quit the Mail app normally: Click the Mail app icon in the Dock to make it your active app, then press Command + Q to quit it.
  2. To force quit the Mail app: Press Option + Command + Escape to open the Force Quit window, then select the Mail app, and click Force Quit.
If you want to quit or force quit the Mail app to help reboot it if it's not responding then you can easily quit the Mail app just by pressing Command + Q on your keyboard with the Mail window open. This shortcut will close the app for you.
Step 1. Open Mail and press Command + Q to Quit
 If your Mail app is completely unresponsive, you may need to Force Quit the app. YOu can do this by pressing Option + Command + Escape on your keyboard. A pop-up window will then allow you to select which app you want to Force quit.
Step 2. Force Quit

When you properly quit an app using one of those methods, it'll completely terminate the app and stop any background processes or active tasks associated with it. This will give the Mail app a chance to restart properly the next time you open the Mail app.

5. Quit every app and restart your Mac

If Mail isn’t responding on Mac properly, or it takes a long time to load or reopen the app, then it’s likely due to having too many apps open all at once. Running multiple apps at once can eat into your processing power or RAM. All you need to do to fix Mail not working on your Mac is to quit every app and restart your Mac.

 

Here’s how to restart your Mac after quitting all open apps:

  1. Ensure you’ve quit all the active apps on your Mac.
  2. Click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of the screen.
  3. Choose Restart from the dropdown menu.
To Restart your Mac after quitting all your open apps, click on the Apple icon in the top left corner and select Restart.

6. Update macOS and Mail

Similar to the previous point, issues with Mail not working on Mac might stem from outdated macOS. Updating macOS is crucial as it encompasses Mail updates. So, if you're encountering problems due to an outdated Mail program, check and update macOS from the System Settings.

 

Here’s how to check for any macOS updates:

  1. Begin by opening System Settings on your Mac.
  2. Click on General > Software Updates.
  3. Allow your Mac to check for any macOS updates. If a macOS update is found, you’ll be able to click Update Now.
  4. You may need to enter your Admin login and password to action the download. Then all you need to do is allow your macOS system and apps, including Mail, to update.
To be able to check if your macOS system needs updating, you'll need to check for any pending macOS Updates. This can be done by opening System Settings, and going to General. From here you'll see the Software Update tab.
Step 1. Go to System Settings > General > Software Update
After clicking on the Software Update option, allow your device to scan for any outstanding updates. You can also turn Automatic Update On or Off to allow your device to keep on top of updates for you automatically.
Step 2. Allow Mac to Check for updates
If your Mac has found an update for macOS, you can initiate the update by entering your Admin Username and Password. Then your update will start right away.
Step 3. Enter the admin password to begin the process

Note from our experts: MacKeeper’s Update Tracker provides an efficient alternative solution to updating not just Mail but all your apps. With its help, you can streamline Mail updates alongside macOS updates by simplifying the update process.

 

Here’s how to use MacKeeper’s Update Tracker to update Mail and other apps:

  1. Download MacKeeper and launch the app on your Mac.
  2. Navigate the side menu to the Update Tracker feature.
  3. Click Scan for Updates to allow MacKeeper to check your software is up-to-date.
  4. On the left, choose the apps found by ticking the boxes and confirming to Update.
To use MacKeeper's Update Tracker feature as an alternative method of checking updated Mail and other apps, you'll first need to download the app from the official MacKeeper website if not done so already.
Step 1. Download MacKeeper on your Mac
Once you have downloaded and opened the MacKeeper app, you can select the Update Tracker feature from the left-hand side menu and then click Scan For Updates.
Step 2. After launching the app, navigate to the Update Tracker
Give the app some time to scan your MacBook for any app updates. If any are found for Mail or other apps they will appear with boxes next to them that you can tick to allow MacKeeper to update for you.
Step 3. Click Scan for Updates, and if any are found, tick the boxes to update

7. Merge and close windows

If Mail isn’t responding on Mac, or it’s taking a long time when opening or loading in and out of your messages, it might be trying to do too much at once. This can happen if there are too many Mail windows open in the background. In this case, the solution here is to see how many Mail windows you have opened to help you merge and close any that are unnecessary.

 

Here’s how you can merge and close windows from the menu bar:

  1. Open the Mail app on your MacBook.
  2. Go to Window, locate and select Merge All Windows.
  3. Once you’ve successfully merged all windows, you can batch-close them.
In the Mail app, go to the Window tab, and in the newly opened drop-down menu, find and select Merge all windows as the other troubleshooting method to fix the Apple Mail malfunction

8. Rebuild your mailboxes

If Apple Mail isn’t loading emails, or it takes a long time to load and reopen them, we recommend rebuilding your mailbox. It’s a handy solution to fix issues with missing messages or if your Mail inbox seems disorganized. This feature essentially re-syncs all messages, ensuring a seamless loading and reopening of content in your accounts, thereby enhancing overall productivity.

 

Here’s how you can rebuild your mailboxes:

  1. Open the Mail app on your Mac via Dock or a Spotlight Search.
  2. Click on the Mailbox tab at the top of your screen.
  3. Select Rebuilt and allow your device to refresh all your messages.
To rebuild your Mail app and the messaging within it, you'll first need to go to your Dock and open Mac Mail.
Step 1. Launch the Mail app
Another way to bring your Apple Mail back to life again is to rebuild your mailboxes. For this, go to Mailbox and choose the Rebuild option from the menu bar.
Step 2. Select Rebuild and allow the app to refresh and sort your messages.

9. Reset your Mail preferences

The reason behind Mail not working on Mac may be due to an unexpected bug in the file that saves all your app preferences. This isn’t entirely uncommon for Mac apps, but fortunately, it’s fairly easy to fix. All you need to do is delete the plist file that holds your Mac preferences. This makes the Mail app create a new plist file that will set all the preferences back to their default setting. You may need to edit some options to get it how you want again.

 

To reset your Mail preferences:

  1. Launch Finder.
  2. From the menu bar, click on Go > Go to Folder.
  3. Enter the following file path and hit Enter to go there: ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.mail/Data/Library/Preferences.
  4. Drag the com.apple.mail.plist file to your Desktop to reset your preferences.
  5. Now, restart your Mac and try using Mail again.
  6. If Mail still isn’t working, move the plist file from your Desktop back into the Preferences folder to restore your preferences.
To reset your Mail preferences, you'll first need to open Finder. From the menu bar, you'll need to click on Go > Go to Folder.
Step 1. Launch finder, from the menu bar click on Go > Go to Folder
Once you have clicked on Go to Folder you can enter the following path into the text box ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.mail/Data/Library/Preferences.
Step 2. Enter the path ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.mail/Data/Library/Preferences
After getting Enter, you'll be automatically taken to a group of plist files.  Drag the com.apple.mail.plist file to your Desktop to help reset your Mail preferences.
Step 3. Drag the com.apple.mail.plist file to your Desktop
After dragging the correct file onto your desktop, you'll now need to click on the Apple icon and select Restart to restart your Mac. Then load back into your Mail app to see if resetting your Mail preferences was successful.
Step 4. Restart your device and load it into the Mail app

If that didn’t work, here are some other Mail system files you can try removing:

  1. Launch Finder.
  2. From the menu bar, click on Go > Go to Folder.
  3. Enter the following file path and hit Enter to go there: ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.mail/Data/Library/Saved Application State.
  4. Move any folders or files from here to your Desktop.
  5. Now, go back five levels to the Containers folder.
  6. Move the following folder to your Desktop: com.apple.mail and com. apple.MailServiceAgent.
  7. Now, restart your Mac and try using Mail again.
  8. If Mail still isn’t working, move the folders and files from your Desktop back into the folders they came from.
To reset your Mail preferences, you'll first need to open Finder. From the menu bar, you'll need to click on Go > Go to Folder.
Step 1. Launch finder, from the menu bar and click on Go > Go to Folder
If that didn't work at resetting your Mail preferences, instead go back to your Go to Folder via Finder and insert the path  ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.mail/Data/Library/Saved Application State
Step 2. Enter ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.mail/Data/Library/Saved Application State
Move any folders or files from this new path location onto your Desktop to help reset your Mail preferences.
Step 3. Move any folders or files from here to your Desktop
Now go back five container folders and look for the folders starting with com.apple.mail and com.apple.MailServiceAgent. Highlight them both and drag them onto your desktop in order to reset your Mail preferences.
Step 4. Go back to Containers and move the folders com.apple.mail and com.apple.MailServiceAgent to your desktop
After dragging the correct file onto your desktop, you'll now need to restart your Mac. Then load back into your Mail app to see if resetting your Mail preferences was successful.
Step 5. Restart your Mac and try using the Mail app again

10. Remove your email accounts

If you’re still having issues with Mail not working on Mac, you could try removing your email accounts. Be aware, that doing this will remove emails that are waiting to be sent in your Outbox, so make a note of them first.

 

Follow our instructions below to remove an email account:

  1. Launch the Mail app and go to Mail > Accounts from the menu bar.
  2. This will take you to your Account settings with System Settings. From here, you can manage your email accounts.
  3. Locate the email you want to delete from your Mac and confirm the action.
To remove your email accounts, first you'll need to open the Mail app and go to Mail > Accounts.
Step 1. In the Mail app, go to Accounts
Once you click on Accounts, you'll be taken to account management in your Mac System Settings. From here you'll be able to choose the email address you want to remove. Just click Delete Account and confirm your choice.
Step 2. Select the account you want to remove, click Delete Account, and confirm

11. Re-link your email accounts

Re-establishing connections with your email accounts can play a pivotal role in addressing Mail-related issues on your Mac. Challenges like loading disruptions or unresponsiveness within the app can often be resolved by reconnecting your email accounts to the Mail application.

 

To re-link your email account, follow these steps:

  1. Launch the Mail application on your Mac.
  2. Click on Mail in the menu bar and select Accounts.
  3. This will take you to your Account settings with System Settings. From here, you can manage your email accounts.
  4. Now, click the Add Accounts button to re-link the email account to your Mac again.
To add and re-link your email accounts, first you'll need to open the Mail app and go to Mail in the menu bar and select Add Account.
Step 1. In the Mail app, click Add Account
You can now add and re-link a new email address by just clicking the Add Account button and following the login process.
Step 2. Click the Add Account button to add your email account back onto the Mail app

12. Clean up Mail attachments

Clearing unnecessary Mail attachments is a smart solution to significantly improve the performance of the app, as it can free up essential storage space on your MacBook. Over time, accumulated attachments can burden the Mail app, leading to slower operation and potential disruptions. That’s why regularly cleaning up these attachments is an effective way to enhance responsiveness.

 

Here’s how to clean up Mail attachments to boost performance and overall productivity on your Mac:

  1. Open the Mail app on your Mac.
  2. Choose the mailbox containing attachments you wish to clean.
  3. Click on View and use the sorting feature to arrange emails by attachment size.
  4. Review and identify emails with large attachments.
  5. Select emails with unnecessary attachments and delete them.
  6. Click Erase Deleted Items to remove attachments permanently.
To clean up Mail attachments, open the Mail app and in your chosen mailbox, click on View. Fro her you'll find the option to sort emails by attachment. Select that option and your emails will be re-arranged
Step 1. In your chosen mailbox, click on View and sort emails by attachment size
Once you have deleted your chosen email from your mailbox, it's important to then head to your mailbox Bin and click Erase Deleted Items to completely remove them from your system.
Step 2. When you delete an email, empty your mailbox bin

13. Remove and reindex envelope files

Refreshing the envelope files within the Mail app is a strategic method for Mac Mail troubleshooting as it relates to message visibility and organization. Sometimes, due to indexing errors or glitches, messages might not display correctly or are seemingly missing. This can also cause the loading of messages to take a long time and even glitch when you try to reopen them. By removing and reindexing these envelope files, you can rectify these issues.

 

Here’s how to remove and reindex envelope files:

  1. Close the Mail application if it's currently open.
  2. Go to Finder, click on Go in the menu bar > Go To Folder.
  3. Enter the path ~/Library/Mail/.
  4. Locate and select any files that say Envelope Index.
  5. Drag these files to the Trash folder.
  6. Reopen the Mail app - this will trigger a re-indexing process.
  7. Allow the app some time to reindex all your emails before reopening the app.
To remove and reindex envelope files, you'll first need to open Finder, and then click on Go in the menu-bar. This will allow you to select Go To Folder.
Step 1. Go to Finder, click on Go in the menu bar > Go To Folder
Enter the path ~/Library/Mail into the text box and hit Enter. Then look for any files or folders that begin with Enevelop Index.
Step 2. Enter the path ~/Library/Mail
Once you have found any files or folders named Envelope Index, you can highlight them and click Move to Bin. Then re-open Mail for emails to be re-indexed.
Step 3. Look for files that begin with Envelope Index and move them to Bin

14. Check Apple Servers

Verifying your Apple program can shed light on whether Mail issues are originating from server-related problems. Sometimes, disruptions in email features might occur due to offline server maintenance or remote issues at Apple's end. This step involves checking the status of Apple's servers to rule out any widespread service outages or disturbances affecting Mail services.

 

Here’s how to check Apple Servers:

  1. Open Safari and search for Apple's System Status page.
  2. Look for the Mail service status among the listed services.
  3. Verify if there are any ongoing issues or interruptions indicated for Mail.
  4. Keep an eye on any updates provided regarding the Mail service.
Open Safari and search for Apple System Status. Click on the official Apple webpage and the System Status page will appear. From here you can check the list to see if Mail is not operating.

If you face unexpected issues with Safari so slow on Mac, you may need to restart your device first before continuing to fix Mail on Mac. Also, your Mail issues might be linked to the same issues as a slow browser—poor correction or too many apps running in the background. Check these two points as well.

15. Test Mail in safe mode

Finally, if all those solutions have been unsuccessful at fixing Mail on Mac, you may want to try running the Mail app in safe mode. Running Mail in Safe Mode is an effective diagnostic method to identify whether third-party applications or plugins are causing disruptions and hindering user productivity.

 

Here’s how you can test the Mail app whilst in Mac’s safe mode:

  1. Quit the Mail application if it's currently open on your Mac.
  2. Hold down the Shift key and simultaneously relaunch the Mail app.
  3. Check if Mail operates without disruptions or issues in this mode.
  4. Note any improvements or persistent problems while using Mail in Safe Mode.
To test the Mail app whilst in Mac’s safe mode, quit the Mail application if it's opened and restart it by holding the Shift key.

Resolving Mac Mail issues: concluding remarks

After trying out our Mac Mail troubleshoot suggestions, we hope your Mail app headaches are now a thing of the past. We aimed to make this guide a lifesaver, tackling unexpected Mail issues head-on to smoothen your user experience and not hinder your productivity.

 

What’s more, don't forget about MacKeeper's Update Tracker tool, as your very own trusty MacBook sidekick that keeps all of your apps and your system running like a charm. This nifty tool is super easy to use and ensures your Mail app, as well as other software, stays on top of its game with all the latest updates.

 

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