How to Manually Restore Emails from Time Machine Backup



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David A. Woodbury

Thanks for this advice! My wife and I had worked together on a long e-mail response in a POP account and suddenly it was gone. But we were able to recover it entirely from Time Machine, only one hour old and complete, using these instructions. Great!



Hi everybody
I followed the same procedure for two purposes:
1) restore manually my "Contacts" list
2) restore an old inbox file

The first worked perfectly.
The second not, because when I try to import it in the "Mail" I get an error message "No valid mbox files were found." Is it possible that the size of folder (2.15Gb) is responsible for this error message?



Mac Lifesaver

I Agree with BuffyzDead although...

You will have written over your Mail Preferences file and will also need to restore that.

It will be in the User Library as described above then the Preferences folder. Replace all the apple.mail preferences you can find in your Time Machine backup and Mail will be just like it was before.

Good luck!!


Mac Lifesaver



I stuplidly set a date based rule to any instead of all and hosed half my inbox

The steps described in the comments work except the emails then vanish again.

I restore as described by Mac Lifesaver and others and the total number of messages returns to the original number.
I did this with wifi off and then, as soon as I connect to the internet, the restored messages are lost again.

I'd appreciate any ideas how I can force the restored inboxes to update the IMAP server(s) - 3 accounts - instead of the other way round



I agree with BuffyzDead. I would like to add to his comment to make sure Mail is not running when you do this.



This is Not the Apple Way.

Let's try again.

1) While in Finder, Select Go from the Menu and press the Alt key
2) When Library shows, select it & navigate to Library/Mail/V2 folder
3) Start Time Machine App from Dock or Launchpad
4) Now go back to a day before you deleted your account and restore the folder.




"This is not the Apple Way"


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