OS X EI Capitan Mail Restore

Refael used Ask the Experts™
Hello Experts,

Really hope to get help here....

Last night I formatted my hard drive. I am using time machine capsule.
I wanted to manually restore the MAIL and bring all my emails, folders and settings back.
I have followed few of the "how-to" online yet none of them works.

Here is what I did:

I Copied the folder Library -> Mail from the backup the current folder Library -> Mail
I could not find in the Library->Preferences-> com.apple.mail.plist

Am I doing something wrong?
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
Hi Refael,

What emails are you trying to restore? If they are IMAP like (Gmail, Yahoo, etc...) then all of your emails live on their servers, so no need to pull them from Time Machine. If you do have POP accounts then we need to look at how things were backed up before you wiped the HDD.

Also, after you wiped he HDD, did you restore from Time Machine, or did you perform a clean install and then pull certain things down from Time Machine?

Thanks for your time.


Hello Justin Pierce

Thanks you. I performed a clean install (not via the time machine).


Oh sorry I am talking about the POP accounts.
Introduction to R

R is considered the predominant language for data scientist and statisticians. Learn how to use R for your own data science projects.

Hi Refael,

Okay, I think the best path for you would be Migration Assistant. Go to Applications/Utilities/Migration Assistant (MA).

Now, since I don't have my external HDD with me to take snapshots for you at each stage of the process, the best I can give you is the two main windows that you'll see when you start Migration Assistant (Oh, if you're working on something, go ahead and save it because MA will close everything and go into its recovery mode).

Here are the 2 screens you'll see:

1st Screen
2nd Screen
Just go through the wizard and choose to restore your entire mailbox. Here is a link (steps 3-6 will help you to understand the process better.)

Lastly, if you're emails are not POP then you don't have to do any of this, simply go into Mail and add the accounts like you would've done when you first setup your Mac.

Thanks and I'll be popping on/off throughout the day so feel free to hit me up if you need a bit more help. ;)
Tim LapinComputer Consultant (Desktop analyst)
Don't forget to look for mail that had been saved (archived) to the Mac explicitly, regardless of account type.  If one goes back far enough, mail server space was limited and it was important to archive mail to the local drive, even if one had an IMAP or Exchange account.

As well, one might have archived important email from an account that the user wanted to delete as it was no longer of any use.

In short, even without POP, local mail might still exist.

That mail should be in the <user>/Library/Mail/V2/Mailboxes path.


Justin Pierce , Tim Lapin Thank you guys so much!

So when starting the Migration Assistant is will give me the option to only restore mail?
I tried it before but i stopped it because i was worried it will restore the entire system.
Do I need to create the pop mail accounts before starting migration or not?
Hi Refael,

Yes it will give you the option but it's called Applications. Here is a nice article from Intego on it: Link

No need to create the POP accounts before migration.


Justin Pierce and Tim Lapin Thank you for your help!!!

With the Migration I was able to store my mail completely.
Yet because it restore all the files in user library what I did is the following:
- restored the mail
- exporting each mail box individually
- I re-formatted the HDD and New installed the OS X
- imported all the mail boxes

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial