How do I locally backup gmail IMAP in

Discussion in 'macOS' started by mixvio, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. mixvio macrumors 6502

    Apr 12, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    I'm sure I've seen this before but I can't for the life of me find a thread about it here or even searching online.

    I use to connect to my gmail account through IMAP. I would like to be able to back up that mail locally so that I have an offline copy of everything available as well. What I've done in the past is just drag and drop everything from the IMAP folders onto a folder on the local harddrive, but this is cumbersome and a little irritating. On top of that I've had a strange issue where if I copy my mailbox to another computer, (or after reinstalling things for Snow Leopard) it resurrects some emails incorrectly, without appropriate metadata like to/from/subject, etc. Just the body of the email is there. It only does this for a handful of messages but it's got me feeling like I'm doing something wrong.

    I'm sure I've read some sort of software howto on TUAW before but I can't find the entry now and it's driving me crazy. So is there a correct way to do this or is the easiest method just dragging and dropping messages all the time?
  2. mixvio thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 12, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
  3. Pendora macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2007
    You can use Time Machine for this. Mail makes a file for every mail you get. With TM activated while you're running mail you can go back in time.
  4. swiftaw macrumors 603


    Jan 31, 2005
    Omaha, NE, USA
    Why not just go to Mail->Preferences->Accounts->Advanced->Keep Copies of Messages for Offline Viewing?
  5. mixvio thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 12, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    That's set but if I understand it correctly I believe that doesn't store them in such a way that they're restored after I load from a Time Machine backup or drag the folder into the appropriate place.

    I know that even after dragging and dropping the emails the way I was doing previously, some weird things happened to a few messages. Thankfully they were stored on Gmail still so nothing was lost, but it made me think I wasn't doing something correctly.
  6. ruinunes macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2010
    Here's a solution


    If you want, there's a "for time being" free solution online called backupify.
    It worked to backup my accounts from twitter, facebook, gmail, googledocs, flickr, delicious, picasa, wordpress and so on.
  7. Vishal Thakur macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2011
    A simple solution for gmail IMAP backup


    I am one of the developer team member.
    I would suggest you to use Beyond Inbox, which is a simple tool for IMAP backup and can easily be used on MAC.

    It helps you to by giving an option of incremental backup for your gmail account.

    It also have drag and drop feature for restoring downloaded mail to specified IMAP account .
  8. MattInOz macrumors 68030


    Jan 19, 2006
    In your user library folder. There should be a mail folder in that a folder with a name that will be named something like imap-gmail. You can back up that folder. Have a peek around inside you see a folder for each imap folder and each message is a text file that can be open with TextEdit to find the raw version of the email.

    If you every need to restore you can point mail import to the backup of this folder.
  9. munkery macrumors 68020


    Dec 18, 2006
    Click on the "name".imapmbox folders within the sub-folders of User/Library/Mail. There will a folder inside each mbox called messages that contains the locally stored emails.
  10. waynep macrumors 6502

    Dec 31, 2009
    I don't back mine up, other than it's included in my time machine backup. It's on gmail's servers, so if you had to do a restore, when you re-config gmail with Mail, it will re-download what you need again.
  11. dazweeja macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2010
    Why not just make a rule/filter that copies all incoming messages from your Gmail account into a folder called 'Archive'?
  12. bluetortilla macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2011
    Yeah, these days I wouldn't trust Google to walk my grandmother across the street. You can't 'always just get it back from Google.' They could lock you out anytime.

    As far as I'm aware, and as is true in my case for sure, has always archived mail for me whatever its source. You can find everything (messages in readable form included, .emix) in Mail in your ~Library/Mail folder. I just double-checked mine and it's all there. My mail folder is over 15 gigs btw- that's over ten years worth of mail without cleaning out the junk. I guess I could get it down to 4 but I don't need to bother really.

    Just as long as you got your system backed up, you'll have all your mail backed up. Now, if you switch platforms, there is probably a utility you could use to export. Theoretically though, as long as you don't actually close your account, even then your gmail should be floating around in Google's vast databases, harvesting marketing data for all while you wait to re-download it.

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