Moving my mail settings and messages

Discussion in 'macOS' started by UKmacman, Nov 25, 2011.

  1. UKmacman macrumors 6502

    Oct 4, 2007
    I have my mail set up on my snow leopard macbook but want to put all the data on my new lion air but don;t want to use the migrate feature. Can anyone tell me (an idiots guide) way to do this i.e basically the same mail accounts and stored emails as I currently have on my old system.

  2. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I usually migrate, but the last time I did a Time Machine restore, my folders got corrupted. So before I begin, I need to know if you have all your email sitting on a server or is it only on your Mac? If you have email sitting on a server, it's very simple to set up the same accounts on a new machine and all the email just "shows up" on the new machine. But if the only copy you have is in, migrating to another machine is a bit more tedious.

    For now, I'm going to assume you have your email on a server, ie gmail.

    Step 1 is to run keychain access on your old machine to get the passwords of all your email accounts (if you don't know them). Write them down so you can enter them on your new machine.

    Step 2 is to open on your new Mac and enter the accounts 1 by 1, using the passwords you looked up in step 1. Make sure you pick IMAP for your email so messages get copied to your Mac but not deleted from the server. POP3 is an old sloppy method of getting email and you should avoid using it even if it means finding a new email provider that supports IMAP.

    That's it. Two steps. Done.

    Now I'm going to assume you have your only copy of a lot of your email sitting in on your old Mac. First you do steps 1 and 2 above. Then you begin with step 3 here...

    Step 3. On your old Mac, in choose mailbox->export mailbox. You can then create a folder to export your mailbox.

    Step 4. Copy the folder to your new Mac and import the mailbox to

    Steps 3 and 4 can be time consuming which is why I always use IMAP and I never delete messages from the server. This was especially handy when a failed TM restore left me with crashing whenever I tried to launch it. I finally went to ~/Library/Mail and deleted all of's folders which was about 9 gig of stuff. I then set up my email accounts from scratch and walked away. I came back in less than an hour I had all my email re-downloaded from the servers.

    Hope this helps...
  3. UKmacman thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 4, 2007
    Hey many thanks for this. Really appreciate you taking the time to tell me step by step what to do. I use gmail but in my own domain so I have all the emails on my computer. I think they are also on gmail but I never look. I iwll have a go and if there are any issues I will write back.

    Thanks again
  4. UKmacman thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 4, 2007
    I have been looking at my mail and discovered a few things.

    In the incoming server part it says To change this to IMAP can I simply just use or do I need to change something in gmail as well?

    Also for the second part as my emails are stored on my computer, when I export the file do I also need to open new folders in the new mail app or will this be done automatically?


    Actually - when you are there!

    I have looked at the backend of my gmail account and I have pop and imap enabled. Basically I use the gmail and have set up an exchange system on the iphone to have messages forwarded to that. What is my best option for a clean install on my new mac so that I can keep the emails on the gmail server but also have them on my phone and mac - if that makes sense
  5. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    There are pages at Google that detail how to set up gmail for IMAP in I'm a little confused by your post. Is everything you need sitting in gmail or is some stuff sitting in mailboxes in on your old machine?

    If you have stuff sitting in on your old machine, you can actually import it to gmail and it will "just show up" on any computer or device that you have set up with an IMAP connection to gmail. I used thunderbird to import stuff to gmail. I had a lot of folders sitting in old eudora and thunderbird mail files and thunderbird knew how to import them. I then created a "folder" in gmail (which is actually a label). I then copied the mail from my old eudora and thunderbird mbox files and pasted it in to the new folders I created in gmail. Thunderbird automatically uploaded it and it is sitting in my gmail account now. It doesn't show up in inbox and to search it I have to specify the folder it is sitting in but I have access to over 10 years of my email from any device at any time.

    Of course you could export it on one Mac in import it on the other Mac but I wanted to make you aware of this capability in gmail because once it's there, you can never lose it unless your gmail account gets compromised. Make sure you have multiple recovery options set up in case you ever have trouble logging in to gmail. The last thing you want is to get all this stuff imported only to find yourself locked out of your own account. Google does not provide real human support for regaining access to gmail. Everything is done by bots and they are not very smart, so set up your recovery options before a problem occurs. Once this is done, gmail makes an excellent "conduit" to sync email between all your devices.
  6. UKmacman thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 4, 2007
    Hi, sorry yes a little confusing. Basically I have two devices - an iphone and mac laptop. I use my own domains but they are powered by gmail. As things stand the gmail accounts have both pop and imap enabled.

    On the iphone I have set up the emails using the microsoft exchange and therefore they use the imap part of the gmail backend to push emails to the phone. During the day I check the emails and delete most of them.

    However when I get home I use the laptop and all of my emails are downloaded again. Some I keep (locally on my hard drive) and others I delete. Yes this is a duplicate process but I don't get so many emails that this is an issue. The mac mail uses pop to do this.

    Thus I have push email on my phone, near push email on my computer (they seem to come instantly when I am working on it) and I get to keep copies on my harddrive (and online).

    However with lion I can only use imap which makes my system not workable. I have looked at everything but can't find a solution.

    The solution does seem to be for me to use thunderbird (which I just discovered). It seems to do what my mail does now and I can set it up in the same way. I don't need most of the new features I am sure a lot of email clients offer - I just need to be able to read and send emails.

    Am I right in thinking this is my best option? I like the easy nature of mac mail and using mac software but this time it does not seem to be working for me. Or is there a way to get pop on lion?

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