Hard Drive Crashed-Lost e-mails

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by SactoMike, Aug 6, 2011.

  1. SactoMike macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2011
    Hello there, I have a simple question that someone will be able to answer.
    The hard drive crashed on a computer that has Mac Mail. I assume that the e-mails have been lost. On Hotmail, or Gmail, the e-mails are kept permanently on some computer owned by Microsoft or Google. But in the case of Mac Mail, if I understand the matter correctly, the only permanent storage of e-mails is on the computer of the person who received the e-mails. Am I right about that?
    I will appreciate any help, thank you.
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    You are confused about what a "mail client" is and what an "e-mail account" is.

    A mail client is just a program that is used to access an e-mail account. Examples of mail clients are Mail.app ("on your mac"), Thunderbird, Outlook, Pine, Sparrow, PostBox, etc.

    An e-mail account is a logical address to which e-mails are sent. They can be set up through services like GMail, Yahoo, AOL, etc. E-mail accounts usually come in one of two flavors - POP and IMAP - that have different behaviors.

    In a POP account, your new messages are downloaded to your client each time your client polls the e-mail server. Messages are then removed from the server and are stored locally. If you have a POP account and your hard drive crashed, you likely did lose your e-mails.

    In an IMAP account, messages are synced with your client but are generally still stored on the server. If you have an IMAP account you probably can re-sync your client with the server and recover your e-mails.

    In summary, "Mac Mail" is not an e-mail provider, it is a client. It is different than GMail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, and the like.
  3. rc135tx macrumors member


    Feb 15, 2010
    If you are using the Apple Mail client (program) on your computer & if you moved your messages from the server to your computer, then, yes, they are only on your hard drive.

    If you copied them to your computer, then they probably still reside on Apple's server.

    The old mac.com mail was a POP account server & mail from those days is most likely on your hard drive.

    The newer me.com (MobileMe) mail is IMAP - if you never moved your emails, they may still be on the server.


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