Beware Mail Data Loss in Catalina

Since you’re using iCloud, the next question is what happens when you look at those messages on

Um, but the messages are in the On My Mac mailbox, so they wouldn’t appear in (And I know, because I logged into without thinking about it, and they weren’t there.) So, while I’m using iCloud, not in this case.

On replying to unwanted commercial email:

Confirm that the message is from the actual organization by checking the domain of the sender (and any Reply to header). In almost all cases, if it’s not the actual domain of the the organization, it’s probably a scam. Also, most good email programs let you preview the URL for any link in the message. Again, be sure that the URL is not suspicious before you click on it.

One exception: Many political campaigns use a service associated with their political party to deal with donations (for example, the Democrats in the USA use The sites involved with such a campaign may have links to the service rather than the campaign.

I get that. If it’s something I signed up for I won’t report it as spam.

But let me show you the other side of the coin. When I publish an article my email address gets listed as a footnote. Companies that sell equipment for use in lab environments like one I work in harvest email addresses from these journals (even non-open source journals usually list the authors, affiliations, and email in the free preview) and then send me marketing email about their latest spectrometer or whatever. Is that spam? It sure is in my book. I never asked for their email, I left my address obviously for interested readers of that journal, not for marketing. I don’t care if their marketing comes with an unsubscribe link. I will add them to my blacklist and I will report their email as spam. How a business thinks they can get new customers by sending them obviously unwanted ads is to me baffling. The fact that they keep on doing it, to me indicates though that at least at some point they have been successful. Puzzling to me.

Maybe, but it may also be a legitimate third-party mailing-list company. For example, I get a lot of stuff from Mailchimp domains, most of which have no indication that they are Mailchimp unless you perform a whois lookup on them.

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Yes, if you have no relationship with the company in question, it’s totally fine to mark their email as spam and they can suffer the collateral damage. But particularly if their email will regularly get through your spam filter in the future, it’s also worth trying to unsubscribe.

The main thing is that marking something as spam is not the way to unsubscribe from something you signed up for and no longer want. That’s just obnoxious.


I am suddenly finding that messages are going missing in Mojave. I’ve delayed upgrading to Catalina because of reported Mail problems, and now I’m seeing them anyway. I’ve kept all email messages of any substance for years now and suddenly my history has holes in it. I’ve switched from Verizon to Gmail, but I think the missing messages go back to before the switch. Do I need to abandon Mail and find another app? If so, what do you suggest?

If you put your saved messages in folders on your mac, you can back up using time machine.
I found whole folders empty and had to back up some - but it also got me to do some housecleaning.


Have the email problems been fixed in Big Sur? I just bought a slightly used laptop for my wife and am debating upgrading her from High Sierra to Catalina or Big Sur. She has email coming in from Outlook, Gmail, POP and IMAP.


@david_tuma and others: I’m embarrassed to say that as a long term Mac user I’m not sure how to look for my email folders that hold all the many, many, many e-mails I still have - I too keep important mails for a lifetime and it is amazing how often an old email comes back as important.

An example: I once performed a marriage for a couple and over 15 years later they needed a confirmation that I had sent them an item from the wedding! I was able to recover the email and the attachment title so I could search through tons of old saved PDF documents and locate the original! They were very happy and so was I!

So what is the best way to archive? I tried Mail Archiver X but it took forever, the file was massive and took up my hard drive, and it kept breaking. Suggestions most welcome! Thanks.

I have been very satisfied with EagleFiler – not only robust but great features and excellent support.

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@davbro Thanks for the suggestion. I have used the Tidbits discount and the Black Friday discount and purchased it. Hope it works well because i was very disappointed in my results with Mail Archiver - not that the program was not good, just I think all my e-mails were a crusher - my bad. Thanks again.

I’m still curious if there is a way I can just copy all the e-mails to a separate folder that I can keep on some external hard drives although that sort of defeats the incredible value of another program, InfoClick, which has been absolutely invaluable to me and rock solid as a program. Doesn’t surprise me that InfoClick is made by the same folk who make Nisus Writer Pro, my constant companion lol.

Thanks again, David.