Apple Mail - Recovering Sent Messages.mbox

Posted on 2007-11-29
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-05-18
Hi guys,

I was wondering if someone could assist me.

I have an apple mac and use the apple mail for my email. Until yesterday I was unable to view my sent mail. I followed the steps from a website to restore the messages....


I found this article really useful, but wish I hadn't done this....

"Use "Rebuild" from the Mailbox menu, while selecting the target mailbox. This sometimes works if the problem has recently occurred."

After I did this all of my sent items disappeared. The sent items mailbox is still 2.6GB (I know I know)

I managed to solve the problem of not being able to preview sent messages by doing the following....

"So, what I did was go to my users > library > mail > email folder where my INBOX.mbox, Sent.mbox, Deleted Messages.mbox folders were, and simply added the word OLD to the folder names.

Then I moved them to the "Mailboxes" folder in the Mail folder.
As far as I can tell, Mail will automatically create new Inbox Sent and other folders when launched.

I then launched Mail, made sure my account settings were correct, and clicked on File > Import Mailboxes, Navigated to the Mailboxes folder, and imported all of the ones flagged "OLD." They imported fine, at which point I could move the "old Inbox" emails to my Inbox, the Old sent ones to my sent, etc..."

So I now have my email working with only two messages in my sent folder....


Can I import all of the content of the old sent messages.mbox file even though I have performed a rebuild on it. Whenever I try and import the 2.6GB sent message file I don't get anything.

Thanks for your time in advance
Question by:brookba
  • 2
LVL 41

Accepted Solution

Eoin OSullivan earned 2000 total points
ID: 20373177
You should be able to open/view the contents of the MBOX file .. inside the MBOX file/folder resides an info.plist file and a Messages folder with each mail stored numerically with a emlx file extension.

You should be able to open or re-import these files in a worst-case scenario.

The Apple MBOX format can also be imported into Thunderbird ..
You might want to try installing Thunderbird and try importing the Sent Mail .. to see can it read the mail and rebuild the MBOX file  .. then re-import it to Apple Mail


Author Comment

ID: 20373193
when open up the old sent items file it doesn't display any messages... can't understand why it's 265GB :/
LVL 41

Expert Comment

by:Eoin OSullivan
ID: 20374038
Have a look and see are there hidden files?
Visible via terminal .. or you can use the following applescript to toggle hidden files on and off

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