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G.McGilli

macrumors 6502a
Oct 19, 2015
614
508
1. Save your work and close all of your apps
2. Close Mail app
3. Hold the Shift key and open the Mail app
4. Close the Mail app (don't search or perform any other actions)
5. Hold the Shift key and open the Mail app (repeat of Step 3)
6. Close the Mail app (repeat of Step 4)
7. Restart your Mac
8. Open Mail app like you normally would
9. Try searching your mail

Let us know if this works
Thank you for this - has been driving me nuts and this fixed it for me!
 

tsbrown86

macrumors newbie
Dec 6, 2020
1
1
Had the same issue of search not working. Found a simple solution: In the general preferences tab select the Encrypted Messages radio button in :When Searching all mailboxes, include results from:"
 
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fikonhjul

macrumors member
Sep 9, 2007
44
9
Sweden
OK, me too. That is, search has stopped working and both the shift-opening hocus pocus and re-indexing Spotlight methods described above fixes things, but only for a day or two. Then suddenly, search in Mail just won't find a single thing again. And the last tip above ("include results from"...) doesn't change anything here, unfortunately.
 

Dofar

macrumors newbie
Dec 10, 2020
1
0
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
1. Save your work and close all of your apps
2. Close Mail app
3. Hold the Shift key and open the Mail app
4. Close the Mail app (don't search or perform any other actions)
5. Hold the Shift key and open the Mail app (repeat of Step 3)
6. Close the Mail app (repeat of Step 4)
7. Restart your Mac
8. Open Mail app like you normally would
9. Try searching your mail

Let us know if this works
This works for me. Will see if it sticks. Grateful.
 

ALOHAPPLE

macrumors member
Apr 3, 2014
36
4
Same as many of you, I've completed the close mail/ open with shift key/ restart process several times and it works for a little while-- until it doesn't. Clearly in the middle of a work flow, you don't always have time to go through this (or just can't close something down), so my (obviously less than ideal) solution when I need to search for an email has just been to access my account through a web portal (iCloud.com or Microsoft OWA for me) and search from within there.
 

tekfranz

macrumors regular
Mar 16, 2017
187
49
I cannot search for dollar values for online orders in Mac Mail on Big Sur. Something is not working with searching for numerals.
 

jacg

macrumors 6502a
Jan 16, 2003
975
88
UK
1. Save your work and close all of your apps
2. Close Mail app
3. Hold the Shift key and open the Mail app
4. Close the Mail app (don't search or perform any other actions)
5. Hold the Shift key and open the Mail app (repeat of Step 3)
6. Close the Mail app (repeat of Step 4)
7. Restart your Mac
8. Open Mail app like you normally would
9. Try searching your mail

Let us know if this works
Thanks. This worked for me too.
 

GDMcG

macrumors regular
Jul 30, 2008
141
48
And yes, I've tried most all of the suggested fix I could find.

Who else has this problem (anything and everything I search for now comes up with zero results), and has anyone managed to fix it?
Same here. Even the 11.1 release didn't fix. As others have noted, the Shift-Open close and restart routine seems to work for a day or so then Mail reverts back to not finding anything when a search for a known to be present term is performed. I have submitted Bug feedback directly to Apple here: https://www.apple.com/feedback/mail.html
Please consider doing the same.
 
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redantman

macrumors newbie
Dec 28, 2020
2
2
Hi all, I had exactly the same problem and tried all the methods mentioned above and none of them worked – so I had an online chat with Apple and I think it's now resolved it...

Basically, in System Preferences > Spotlight if Mail & Messages are ticked, untick them and close Preferences. Reopen and recheck the box – this then allows Spotlight to reindex the mailbox, although it could take up to an hour to complete, so just leave it for a while and come back see if it works – it has for me, so fingers crossed for you guys. Let me know how you get on... ??
this worked for me (after i also tried the launch with shift-key then restart mac procedure)
 

nadador

macrumors member
Apr 23, 2009
37
34
this worked for me (after i also tried the launch with shift-key then restart mac procedure)
Is there any reason to not KEEP the mail/messages unchecked in the Spotlight settings? If I'm ever doing a spotlight search on my Mac (outside of mail) I am never looking for an email.
 

TheNormsk

macrumors member
Jun 23, 2015
81
36
Colorado
1. Save your work and close all of your apps
2. Close Mail app
3. Hold the Shift key and open the Mail app
4. Close the Mail app (don't search or perform any other actions)
5. Hold the Shift key and open the Mail app (repeat of Step 3)
6. Close the Mail app (repeat of Step 4)
7. Restart your Mac
8. Open Mail app like you normally would
9. Try searching your mail

Let us know if this works
I don't know what this did but it worked for me. On my Intel iMac my mail worked just fine. On my new M1 MacBook Air search in Mail was completely hosed and it would not find anything. This did the trick! Thank you.

Now read other messages stating this may not last. Fingers crossed it does..
 

jeanlain

macrumors 68020
Mar 14, 2009
2,430
933
I too have a problem with search in Mail. This is after a clean install.
After a reboot, search appears to work fine, then it simply breaks and doesn't find anything. Until the next reboot.
Annoying.
 

Androzani

macrumors newbie
Sep 20, 2016
7
16
The 9 steps listed above seem like overkill – simply logging out and logging in again cures the problem for me (doesn’t need a full restart or rebuilding the mailboxes).

But then the problem reoccurs after a while.

I’ve narrowed down the cause to logging in as a different user (bizarrely). Does this happen to anyone else?

So, login as a user. Search Mail – it works.

Use fast user switching (from the menu bar) to login as a different user.

Log out that user and return to the first user’s desktop… and Mail no longer searches.

Log out and in again as the same user and it works once more.
 

jeanlain

macrumors 68020
Mar 14, 2009
2,430
933
You're right! I can reproduce the problem after switching to another user and back.
 

mollyc

macrumors 604
Aug 18, 2016
7,793
46,962
I have intermittent issues with it. My MBA is on Big Sur and my iMac is on Mojave. I was looking for a specific email in my MBA recently and knew which gmail folder it would be in, so I focused my search there. The Big Sur search found exactly zero emails with my keywords. I used the exact same search on my iMac and found close to 10 candidates.

Ironically, I did the same search today on my MBA after reading this thread and they all came up. But I needed the results in a time sensitive manner, and Big Sur let me down. :(
 

am2am

macrumors regular
Oct 15, 2011
223
103
The 9 steps listed above seem like overkill – simply logging out and logging in again cures the problem for me (doesn’t need a full restart or rebuilding the mailboxes).

But then the problem reoccurs after a while.

I’ve narrowed down the cause to logging in as a different user (bizarrely). Does this happen to anyone else?

So, login as a user. Search Mail – it works.

Use fast user switching (from the menu bar) to login as a different user.

Log out that user and return to the first user’s desktop… and Mail no longer searches.

Log out and in again as the same user and it works once more.
There is something about different accounts I believe. I was switching back & forth between two accounts and it was working fine until I logout from 1 account and switch back to another still active - bang - no search results.
The only workaround for me is to logout and login again - magically it is fixed until if fails again.

Interestingly (but not surprisingly) mail search is not only broken in mail app. Searching spotlight on any Mac normally produces results from different sources including mail - when it fails in mail I see no results on mail items in spotlight as well.

Annoying.
 

Ezz1

macrumors newbie
Jan 14, 2021
1
1
Hi OP, I am also facing the same issue with Outlook on Big Sur M1 MBP. Search Result appears to be empty regardless of what I type. not sure if anyone has the same problem for Outlook?
same problem with outlook 365... did you have a solution ?
 
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Ifti

macrumors 68040
Dec 14, 2010
3,919
2,431
UK
I use Apple Mail on Big Sur - no issues searching for mail at all for me. Worked first time, and every time since.
Strangely I did have the issue when I upgraded to Catalina last year, although it was fixed with a subsequent update.
 

notgonna

macrumors regular
Sep 24, 2018
130
51
Hi OP, I am also facing the same issue with Outlook on Big Sur M1 MBP. Search Result appears to be empty regardless of what I type. not sure if anyone has the same problem for Outlook?

I've this issue with Outlook 16.45. I've done all of the Spotlight fixes, adding to Spotlight Privacy and then removing (per Microsoft support docs), and using Onyx to nuke Spotlight and rebuild the index from scratch. Put Group Containers in Spotlight Privacy, and then removed. I can see MDS processes rebuilding, but it doesn't fix the problem.

I did read that there has been a problem in the past when using Migration Assistant when moving to a new Mac, which I did to MacBook Pro M1 and Big Sur 11.1, from a MacBook Pro 13" early 2015 also running 11.1.

I tried the Shift launch fix on Outlook, and of course, it didn't fix search.

Any suggestions?
 
Last edited:

macuros

macrumors member
Jul 11, 2020
78
53
This search is annoying as hell. Did all the tricks in this thread, but the search issue comes in again after a few days.

I have several email addresses that I really need daily also to search through it...

And to be complete, I have a Flagged mailbox in Favorites, and it constantly shows number 1 although there is no email flagged (checked million times). More, when I flag an email now it does not update the Flagged mailbox with a new number and when I click on that mailbox no flagged emails are shown.

I'm starting to be disappointed.
 

macuros

macrumors member
Jul 11, 2020
78
53
This search is annoying as hell. Did all the tricks in this thread, but the search issue comes in again after a few days.

I have several email addresses that I really need daily also to search through it...

And to be complete, I have a Flagged mailbox in Favorites, and it constantly shows number 1 although there is no email flagged (checked million times). More, when I flag an email now it does not update the Flagged mailbox with a new number and when I click on that mailbox no flagged emails are shown.

I'm starting to be disappointed.
This is fixed by deleting the Envelope index..tmp.aH40AZ-shm and Envelope index..tmp.aH40AZ-wal in the MailData folder. Not sure why, but they were there from mid-December. Not at least flags are working, but not the search.
 
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