Apple Mail not working: top quick solutions to fix it

With Macs, things usually just work well. However, sometimes, Mac users may encounter Mac Mail problems following an update of their macOS. The problem was reported on a number of recent macOS versions, including macOS Monterey, Ventura, and Sonoma. 

In this article, we’ve collected the most common Mac Mail app problems users experience, along with the solutions to help you fix them. So let’s go!

Why is my Apple Mail not working?

Here are the most common reasons why users encounter Apple Mail issues:

  • Unstable internet connection
  • Misconfigured settings
  • Incorrect login information
  • Outdated macOS and Mail app
  • Apple server outages

How to fix Apple Mail not working?

Now that we’ve covered the main causes of Apple Mail issues, let’s proceed with the most effective fixes.

1. Force Quit the Mail app 

The first solution to Apple Mail not working is to Force Quit the app. There are several ways to do it: 

  • From the main Apple menu, choose Force Quit. Locate the Mail app on the list and click Force Quit.
  • Press Command+Option+Esc. It will open the same Force Quit menu. Now, follow the steps above.
  • With the Option key pressed, right-click the Mail app icon from Dock. Click Force Quit.

2. Reset the Mail app

Another quick fix that works in 99% of cases is to reset the Mail app. We use CleanMyMac X for this operation. It doesn’t delete the program itself but brings it back to its default state. This operation solves many app conflicts and incompatibilities. Also, your user files stay safe and are not being affected.

To enable this feature, you need to do one preliminary step — open CleanMyMac X Settings.

Have you installed CleanMyMac X? OK, let’s go:

  1. Open CleanMyMac X.
  2. From the menu bar, navigate to Settings.
  3. Click on Ignore List and choose Uninstaller.
  4. Deselect Ignore system applications.

Now, you are ready for the reset procedures. Just do the following:

  1. Open the Uninstaller tool in CleanMyMac X.
  2. Select Mail in the list of Apple apps.
  3. Click on the Uninstall button with arrows — this reveals the Reset button.
  4. Click Reset.

3. Check Mail Activity

Sometimes, it may seem as if messages are missing. Most commonly, it is when you try to find an email, and it is not there in the Inbox. It may be either one message or all messages. Luckily, this problem is also easy to fix.

It may be that the app is not showing messages in Inbox simply because they have not loaded yet. The very first thing to do is wait for at least 10 seconds. Another quick solution is to check whether you are connected to the internet — naturally, you won’t see the messages if your Mac is offline, and they won’t load.

If none of the above worked, check Mail Activity:

  1. Open the Mail app.
  2. Click Window > Activity.

You should see whether any processes are running in the background. The app may be downloading a large attachment or paused loading messages to save battery life or prevent overheating.

4. Clean up Mail attachments

As outlined above, there are a number of fixes for Apple Mail not working. One of them is to clean up Mail attachments. You can do it by hunting down files in the Library folder, but it requires a certain amount of technical confidence and know-how. It is also worth noting that deleting the wrong folder or file within Library could disable another app accidentally. But luckily, there’s software that can do all the fixing for you.

CleanMyMac X is a Mac maintenance app that is notarized by Apple. It’s developed by MacPaw, the makers of various productivity tools for Mac. The latest version of CleanMyMac has tools that help you troubleshoot Mail, beyond other things.

  1. Download CleanMyMac X for free.
  2. Click on Mail Attachments.

Now, if you click Scan, the app will search for unnecessary files in Mail it can delete.

Now, open Mail again — it should be working as good as new.

5. Disable your email accounts

If you have several email accounts, it may be that there is an issue with one of them. Therefore, a quick fix is to disable them one by one and check if it helped. 

Here’s how to disable email accounts:

  1. From the main Apple menu, go to System Settings. 
  2. Navigate to Internet Accounts. 
  3. Open your accounts one by one and click Delete Account > OK. Don’t forget to check if it helped after disabling every account.

Alternatively, you can turn off Mail for every account one by one. Like with disabling accounts, check if it helped before moving to another account.

6. Update macOS

Sometimes, apps do not work because some vital updates are missing. They may go together with a newer macOS version.

To update macOS, do the following:

  1. Go to the main Apple menu in the upper left corner of the screen.
  2. Move to System Settings > General.
  3. Open Software Update.
  4. Click Upgrade Now if new macOS versions are available.

It will also update the Mail app itself since it comes preinstalled with macOS.

7. Check Apple servers

It may be that the problem is not with the Mail app itself but with Apple’s servers. Note, though, that the tip works for iCloud Mail only. To check if that is the case, go to the Apple System Status page and check iCloud Mail. If it is green, no issues are experienced at the time. If there is an issue, your only option is to wait for Apple to fix it.

Apple Mail app not working or crashing may be an annoying issue. Luckily, it is easy to fix either manually or automatically with a Mac performance improvement app we introduced — CleanMyMac X. Hopefully, one of the tips above has helped bring you back online, and you receive mail again.

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