Apple Mail app problems: Top 7 Mail app problems and fixes

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 and Ventura. 

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!

1. Mail not launching since macOS update 

This is one of the most common problems people keep encountering, and it seems the fix is pretty simple too. 

Fix: Open the Mac Mail app from your Applications

If Mail launches that way, drag the icon out of the Dock. Once that has vanished, drag the icon — a copy of it will be made — back into the Dock. Then close Mail and attempt to open it again via the Dock. Providing that works, your problem is fixed.

Tip: As a temporary solution, use the web version to access your email accounts instead of the Mail app.

2. Mail crashing

Now, if the above solution doesn’t work and Mail is either crashing or running slowly, there are other ways you can get it working smoothly again. No one can be without access to email for too long! 

Fix 1: Force Quit the Mail app 

Do this the usual way, and if that doesn’t work, move on to the next step. 

Fix 2: Reset the Mail app

One of the quick fixes that works in 99% of the 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 app in the list of Apple apps.
  3. Click on the Uninstall button with arrows — this reveals the Reset button.
  4. Click Reset.

    Fix 3: Delete saved Mail states

    If the solutions above don’t work, let’s start clearing out some prior-state files on your Mac. 

    This requires going into your hidden Library folders.

    1. Open Finder > Go > Go to Folder...
    2. Now hold the Option key and Select Library to open these folders.
    3. Find this folder: Containers > > Data > Library > Saved Application State
    4. Within that, move this folder into Trash:
    5. Empty the Trash and try to restart Mac Mail the usual way. 

    Important: Back up the mentioned folder so you can put it back if something goes wrong.

    If that has worked, you can restart Mail, and it should be running smoothly. If not, there are other solutions below, and some that don’t involve quite so much digging within Library folders and files — which aren’t always so easy to find for those who aren’t Mac power users. 

    3. Mail won’t open on Mac

    Sometimes, Mail app just won’t open. To solve the problem, first, check the internet connection. The thing is that the app needs a strong signal to open and work properly. You can easily do it by clicking Connection Doctor. Just open the Mail app and select Window > Connection Doctor. 

    If it does not help, we have other solutions for you.

    Fix 1: Check the App folder

    Here, simply check if your app is in the right place. It should be in the Applications folder.

    To do it, follow these steps:

    1. Go to Finder and navigate to Applications.
    2. Search for Mail. If the app is not there, find its location by using the Spotlight feature.
    3. To find the app, simply type “Mail” and drag it from the current location to the Applications folder.
    4. Last, restart your Mac and the Mail app.

    Fix 2: 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 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.

    4. Mail app is slow

    Sometimes, your Mail is slow because it has to deal with tons of open windows buried beneath other apps. 

    Fix: Merge Mail windows

    Specifically for this, your email client has a lesser-known command called “Merge All Windows”:

    • Click on Mail > Window.
    • Now, select “Merge All Windows.”
    • Close the redundant windows to minimize the impact on your Mail’s memory. Hopefully, it will get snappier.

    5. Mail app junk

    As outlined above, there are a number of fixes for Mail not working. Some of them require 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.

    Fix: Clean up Mail attachments

    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. 
    CleanMyMac X - Mail Attachments module

    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. 

    6. Mail folders missing

    In some cases, these problems have caused Mail folders to go missing — without those, the app won’t work, so there are solutions to these that most users can manage without too much difficulty to get the Mail app working again.

    Fix: Check your Mail Connections

    1. Open the Mail app.
    2. Go to the Window in the top menu and click on Connection Doctor.
    3. This will show whether there are problems with connecting to the Mail app.
    4. Now re-check account settings and delete and re-add your Mail account to reset this.
    5. Your Mail app and every email should be accessible again.

    7. Mac mail not showing messages in Inbox

    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 Inbox. It may be either one message or all messages. Luckily, this problem is also easy to fix. 

    Fix: Check Mail Activity 

    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 online 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.

    As we mentioned above, CleanMyMac X is a really useful Mac performance improvement app. It comes with a whole load of features and tools that improve how a Mac runs and can get your Mail app up and running again without stress or it taking very long. Hope you are receiving mail again — stay tuned for more Mac tips.