How to move mail from old MacBook to MacBook?

hipnetic

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 5, 2010
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285
Hi

My wife was overdue for a laptop upgrade (2012 MacBook Air 13) and decided on the new Air. Purchased it at Best Buy earlier today and I've been getting it set up for her. One thing I'm not sure about is how to go about transferring her email accounts (which Apple calls "Internet Accounts" in Settings) and all of her old/existing email.

I'd prefer to *not* use Migration Assistant because my wife's laptop has a lot of crap on it and I think she even got some malware-type stuff and I want to make sure I don't transfer any of that garbage over to the new laptop.

I did some Google searching and came across this article:
https://www.lifewire.com/transfer-apple-mail-to-new-mac-2260915

...but it sounds a lot more complicated than it seems like it ought to be. For example, it advises that I should do a backup first. Why and to which laptop? I'm guessing that it's advising me to do a backup on the new laptop, but the new laptop is fresh out of the box where I haven't set up any new email/internat accounts (other than logging into my wife's iCloud account during the initial setup). Do I really need to perform a backup?

Later, the article tells me to run a repair on my keychain files. Scrolling further, it seems like that article is awfully long and complicated for something that I would think should be a lot easier and more straightforward.

Any guidance would be appreciated.

Also, my wife's old laptop is low on space and she hasn't upgraded to Mojave. I'd prefer to not have to upgrade it in order to transfer things over, but let me know about that, too.
[doublepost=1549147198][/doublepost]This is another article I found:
http://www.macinstruct.com/node/183

It's much older, but it's also much simpler. I'm currently following its instructions (my wife's Mail folder is 18GB, so it's going to take a while to transfer to my flash drive with her USB 2 connection).

Please reply to let me know if I'm doing the right thing or am about to screw something up.
 

niji

Contributor
Feb 9, 2003
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tokyo
hi

i think the way you have chosen to do it is the way is indeed the most simple and direct.

in the past when i have bought a new machine i too have chosen not to use Migration Assistant.

to move my Mail from an old machine to a new machine, I have always chosen to simply import the Mail folders from the older machine into the new machine's macOS Mail.

i have done the above through either of 2 ways:

1 first, copying the old machine's Mail folders to a USB or other off-line storage device, then manually importing into the new machine's Mail these folders

or

2 using my Time Machine as the source of these Mail folders and doing the same manual import into the new machine's Mail.

either one will work, flawlessly. and i have been doing it this way for 5 or 6 years every time i buy a new machine.

macOS Mal folder(s) are hidden but easily accessed. find out through google how to view them in finder, then simply drag the entire overall Mail folder to yr storage device. it will take time for them to copy since yr old machine is USB A 3.0 speed.
once copied to the storage device, on yr new machine: Mail/File/Import Mailboxes.
it gives you a choice of either apple Mail, or, mbox format. I have found that even though the boxes are in fact mbox format, its always been smoothest if i click the apple Mail format to import them.
these imported mailboxes will appear in yr new machine's list of mail boxes as imported. once imported, you can rearrange them on yr new machine anyway that you want.
advice: the structure of the mail boxes (the sub-folders of the main Mail folder) can be complex, and the folders that actually contain the email themselves can be named with just a long string of numbers. best to simply import all of them through importing them all by specifying the main encompassing Mail folder.
 

hipnetic

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 5, 2010
969
285
niji, thanks for your reply, but in looking into this a bit more, I'm now thinking that maybe what I should do is:
1) Manually set up the multiple email accounts on the new MacBook.
2) On the old MacBook, export any local ("On My Mac") folders.
3) Import those onto the new MacBook.

It still seems silly that Apple doesn't give you an easy way to migrate the email/internet account settings (login info, etc.) from one Mac to another. I still feel like I'm missing something obvious there.
 
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BasicGreatGuy

Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
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In the middle of several books.
If your wife had the email accounts in the stock app, the accounts should be saved on the cloud. All you should have to do, is input the password on some of the accounts. Any folders made previously should still be there.

I have never had to migrate email from 1 Mac to another when the accounts have been in the cloud.
 
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hipnetic

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 5, 2010
969
285
The biggest problem is that our email accounts are so bloated with old email (much of it probably spam). Right now I'm watching my wife's new MacBook Air slowly download over 80,000 emails. Next step for her will be to trash a lot of that old email.
 

BasicGreatGuy

Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
11,971
10,930
In the middle of several books.
The biggest problem is that our email accounts are so bloated with old email (much of it probably spam). Right now I'm watching my wife's new MacBook Air slowly download over 80,000 emails. Next step for her will be to trash a lot of that old email.
That is going to take her a while to delete. Wow. She might want to institute a system (manually or via a app) that will help her keep her boxes lean and clean.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
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5,672
80,000 emails....?

Yipes!

Who is EVER going to be able to sort that out and get it trimmed down to manageable size?

I'll bet she would never need even look at more than -50- of that 80,000 again.
 

hipnetic

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 5, 2010
969
285
80,000 emails....?

Yipes!

Who is EVER going to be able to sort that out and get it trimmed down to manageable size?

I'll bet she would never need even look at more than -50- of that 80,000 again.
Yup. And I'm guilty as well. It's gotten to the point that I rarely launch the Mail app on my MacBook anymore, because it's such a dog, and I'm sure it's because I simply have way too much email in my inboxes. I guess my problem is that my habit is to read my email and leave it there, rather than delete it (just in case I might ever want to read it again). Next you thing you know, you've got over 50K emails.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
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5,672
It might be better to forget about "importing" it, and just start over -- basically, "from scratch"...
 
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hipnetic

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 5, 2010
969
285
It might be better to forget about "importing" it, and just start over -- basically, "from scratch"...
Yeah, that's pretty much what I ended up doing. My wife had a small number of locally-stored mail archive folders that I exported/imported, but otherwise, I just set up her email accounts on the new laptop and waited (quite a while) for it to re-download/cache all of her online emails (Hotmail and Gmail).