Mail crashes every so often for decades

For more than a decade, I’ve used my iMac (recently replaced by a Mac Studio) as my email hub, with Apple’s Mail and Spamsieve leading the charge. I have about 8 different email accounts that Mail & Spamsieve manage. This combination works well, except for when it doesn’t. That being about every few weeks, when Mail crashes, and stops responding. I then have to Force Quit Mail, and then restart it. Because of the Force Quit, Spamsieve won’t load, complaining that mail unexpectedly quit, and that it will load the next time mail is started.

I’m leaving on a 3 week vacation soon, and would love to not have to contend with Mail, so I’m reaching out to you all, for your very considered suggestions and responses.


Just chiming in to tell that this is not normal. I have been away from my Mail/Spamsieve combination since the beginning of June. It just works.

Hope you get help, but if you do not, look into a workaround using automatic reboot and automatic start of mail after reboot. It is easy to set up. Let me know if you want instructions on how to do it.

That’s not normal. I suggest that you record a sample of Mail when this happens to see why it’s hanging.

I don’t recall there being an error message in SpamSieve about Mail unexpectedly quitting. You should just be able to relaunch Mail, and SpamSieve won’t care that it had quit. If something like this happens again, please note what the error message says.


I had the exact problem and never did figure out why it would just hang/crash every now and then. I had to stop using Spamsieve on it. I chalked it up to having six or so iCloud accounts.

Since I am a lot away from home, I have run SpamSieve and Apple mail since 2015 in an advanced modus called Spam Filtering Drone. It is running on a mac mini that does other server functions for me and is very stable. I have one iCloud and four different IMAP mail servers that get a lot of mail and spam.

I suggest working with Michael Tsai @mjtsai who is the developer of SpamSieve to resolve your problem.

Just as an aside, I found out about the spam filtering drone ability of spamsieve just a few months ago, and, boy, does it work great. I now have four accounts running this way with TrainSpam and TrainGood folders (and I’ve not used TrainGood a single time; spamsieve really is a great solution.)

I did have an issue, though, with Mail crashing when I first started, but I wrote a script to restart mail if it stops running. I’m away from the Mac Mini right now, but I’ll dig up what I did in a bit and post a reply.

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Ok, just checked it out. In ~/Library/LaunchAgents I’ve put a file called mail.restart.plist. The file consists of the following lines:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
<plist version="1.0">

And then I opened Terminal and entered the following command:

launchctl load -w ~/Library/LaunchAgents/Mail.restart.plist

Any time that Mail crashes, it will immediately restart.

If you want to stop that behavior, from the Terminal you would enter the following command:

 launchctl unload -w ~/Library/LaunchAgents/Mail.restart.plist

Based on your description that Mail just freezes, though, I’m not sure that this will help you, unfortunately, but if it ever gets in a state where it’s actually just crashing, this may help.

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Yes, I still recommend recording a sample of Mail during the hang, as described above. I think the most common Mail hang that I see is when there’s something wrong with the macOS Contacts database. Sometimes there are also problems with Mail’s built-in junk filter, and that can either be reset or SpamSieve can be configured not to update it.


Yes, it is really great. I just had a look and in 3 1/2 month I had only 3 false positive and 1 false negative and a lot of spam stopped. The false negative was a newsletter and nothing important. Because of its reliability, I have turned off filtering on my domain’s IMAP server hosted on and rely solely on SpamSieve for those mails. All important communication on mail I have moved to that mail address. I got Tidbits via my iCloud mail before and several times iCloud decided it was spam. Never happened since I moved over.


Sorry about the delay response, as I’ve been on vacation in Europe. I’m noticing that I’m getting a ton more spam being delivered to my mailbox, which to me is an indication that Mail is not responding, and needs to be force quit. I’ll try to remote into my Mac Studio, in the hopes that I can record a sample, before force quitting Mail.