Where is that mailbox?

Does someone have a work-around for a problem I’ve encountered - and I can’t believe I’m the only one! I use Mac OS Mail (on Catalina 10.15.7) with my MacBook Air (early 2015). When I try to find a mailbox within another folder, I have to search through the first and then subsequent levels to find it. In older systems, I remember that I could search for a mailbox and I would see where it was nested and how many levels deep. This is how the finder works when I search “This Mac” but it does not reveal mailboxes and it is not how Mac OS Mail works. It identifies the folder I am looking for but not where it is nested.

Any idea of how I can fix this. It is quite frustrating. I have not been able to find the answer on the web or through Apple Help.

Sorry, but I’m not understanding the question. Are you trying to find where the mailbox is stored on your hard drive? (Which it isn’t, if it’s an IMAP or Exchange mail account.)

Hi - I am trying to locate the mailbox in mail. For example, let’s say that I know that I have a mailbox called “Cats” but I don’t know in which folder it is. I type “Cats” into Mail’s search box and it shows that I do have a mailbox called “Cats” but it doesn’t indicate where it is. After a lot of searching I find that it is four levels down in my mailboxes: “Barry”, then “Home” then “Pets” and finally “Cats” but I have to do the search myself. If I have a folder on my hard drive it indicates at the bottom of the page Barry > Documents > Home > Pets > Cats. Previous versions of mail did show this; but the one I have now (Version 13,4) does not.

I don’t think it is possible to do what you want in Mail. But you can in the Finder:

  1. Open your Library folder in the Finder. (Go > Library, if you don’t know where it is)
  2. Open the highest numbered Vin folder. I’m on Ventura so it is V10.
  3. In the Spotlight field in the upper right corner, search for your desired folder name, in quotes, with extension .mbox.
  4. The folder you want should be a search result. Click to select it.
  5. The path to that folder will be at the bottom of the Finder window.

For example, if you search for “Cats.mbox”, you should see:

userid > Library > Mail > Vnn > weird UID folder name > Barry.mbox > Home.mbox > Pets.mbox > Cats.mbox

Hi Michael - yes, that is one way to do it. It’s cumbersome when all I want to do is put a newly received email in its mailbox. I can also track down the mailbox through “move to” in Mail. Still, there should be a simple way. Thanks again, Barry

Here I am, with another thread hijack. Blame on stream-of-consciousness.

I subscribe to a weekly publication. I file the issues in a Mail folder that includes the year in the folder name. Until mid-November of last year, Mail wanted to move the issues to the 2022 folder. (In mid-November, Move to… started defaulting to the 2023 folder rather than the 2022 folder.) So far this year, Mail wants to move the issues to the 2023 folder. Is there some way I can educate mail so that Move to… offers to put issues from the current year in the current year’s folder? Thanks.

I don’t know of any, and if I had to wager, I’d wager that there isn’t.

Mail’s filing suggestions are based on where you have previously filed similar messages. When you switch to a new year, Mail doesn’t see any functional difference between issues dated this year and issues dated last year (it doesn’t parse dates that way or for that purpose), and will simply suggest where you have more frequently recently filed other issues of the same newsletter. It ought to learn it more quickly than 45 issues, though.

Mail doesn’t parse any meaning out of your folder names. They could be named random strings of Unicode and Mail wouldn’t treat them any differently from having meaningful names. It really doesn’t parse meaning out of the messages either; it just looks for similarities in deciding where to suggest to file. Things like the sender, the format of the subject line, frequently used words, etc.

Apple has yet to release a macOS Mail that uses any of the more sophisticated AI models like GPT, which at least theoretically would be capable of the kind of parsing you’re wanting. Maybe we’ll get that in the next major OS upgrade, since they’ve been indicating that their big thing this year is incorporating AI into all their stuff.

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