Setting Up New Mac Studio (Mail)

I got a new Mac Studio (and Studio display) to replace my iMac Pro. I decided not to use the Migration Assistant - I wanted a new “clean” setup and had a lot of stuff on the iMac Pro that I didn’t want on the new system. I expected that the Apple apps linked to iCloud would synchronize saving me some work. That may have been a mistake. Calendar, Messages, Safari Bookmarks, etc. all synchronized successfully. But I had a lot of smart mailboxes set up in Mail on the old systems (the iMac Pro and a MBP16 Pro Max). Mail also synchronized - by deleting all the smart mailboxes! All three systems now have no smart mailboxes. I also seem to have lost a lot of archived mail. I have CCC backups for the iMac Pro and will try restoring. Not a happy experience - it was pretty obvious about the “direction” the Mail setup should go - existing systems to new system - but it went in the wrong direction.


Well, iCloud does not back up Mail.
Neither macOS nor iOS backups include email! :frowning_with_open_mouth: :open_mouth: :scream: :confounded: :angry:


This is whether the backups are on iCloud or Time Machine. The rationale is that “email is on the server.” Somewhat true if you are using an IMAP email account. Not true if you have a POP account where your email client has automatically removed the email from the server after 30 days.

Good luck on your CCC restoration!
The folders your need should be in:

Well, I tried restoring the mail data with CCC - it didn’t restore my smart mailboxes or recover any of the missing archive mail. I tried again, going back to a June of this year snapshot - same result. I can see the restored smart mailboxes plist, and can see the names of some of the missing smart mailboxes, but they don’t show up in Mail. At this point, I am just going to recreate them as needed - that will be faster than trying to figure this out. One discovery is I apparently didn’t have snapshots turned on for the iMac Pro - I had to go to my MBP to restore. All my sent mail is still present (back to 2014) - just not the archive mail. Ugh.

This is yet another example of why I don’t use email as a filing system. Any emails wit( information I need to save gets exported as a pdf and moved into my filing system. Easy to search and backup. In many years of doing this I have never needed one of the old emails as an email. The pdf always suffices.

1 Like

For archiving email I found Mail Archiver X (on the TidBits membership list).

It makes archive databases from both Mail and Thunderbird (which I use). By the time I encountered the need for it, I had several GB of old emails. The archive database is easily searchable and can be copied with CCC.

1 Like

If you use Mailmate for your email client, you can simply right-click on an email folder and choose to download that folder as an MBOX or as a folder of individual files. Which of course, you can store away safely. Either of which a wide variety of applications will permit viewing, responding and forward of.

There’s Mail Archiver X as mentioned above or DevonTHINK if you have that. Both will archive and permit a nice environment for archived email.

I’ll echo what others have said: if any email is important (or has value to me), it gets exported to archival, in my case DEVONthink.

Email providers won’t be around forever, and can suffer data loss (albeit very rarely these days.) Likewise, storing emails on your computer or other device doesn’t guarantee that they’ll still be readable years from now, or accessible if your computer suffers any data loss or corruption. (Archival, of course, should still be backed up regularly, ideally to more than one place.)

I’m curious, is there something generally wrong with using Mail’s Export Mailbox… to make an archive that you can later import on another Mac or possibly even push to another IMAP account later?

I have actually done that for the mailboxes I have now - to make sure I didn’t do damage when I was restoring the mail data via CCC. I am interested in the suggestions for the mail archive apps, though. I am retired and the mail I lost doesn’t have any intrinsic value - I seldom go back and look at it - but it is history and occasionally it is important.


Not in my experience, no, there’s nothing wrong with Mail’s Export Mailbox. I’ve been on my condo HOA’s Board for years now, and there are thousands of emails per year associated with that. I save them in a separate Mail mailbox for searching purposes. Every year, after the HOA Annual Meeting, when new Board members are elected, I archive the previous year’s emails for reference if needed.

I’ve been doing this for several years now, through various macOS versions, and I’ve had no problems restoring the archives to Apple Mail by importing them as usual. Granted, I’m not asking anything exotic of this process, just archive then restore if needed. But it works without issue for me.

1 Like

I found a earlier copy of my archive mail folder that I had saved to the iMac Pro - so I was able to recover some of the missing archive mail. I have looked at these programs for archiving mail and they have features I would never use. I will just periodically export the mailboxes - and they will be backed up by Time Machine.