TimeMachine doesn't backup email?!?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by DaveF, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. DaveF macrumors 6502a

    Aug 29, 2007
    Is it true that TimeMachine doesn't backup email? A recent thing by Rush Limbaugh says that it doens't. I don't know if Rush knows Macs, but then on the lastest MacBreak Weekly, the Mac pundits talked about this issue as if everyone knows about this weakness.

    So what's the scoop on TimeMachine and email?
  2. davidwarren macrumors 6502a

    Aug 28, 2007
  3. apfhex macrumors 68030


    Aug 8, 2006
    Northern California
    Time Machine backs up the files on your hard drive. If your mail is on your hard drive (~/Library/Mail) then Time Machine backs it up. It's as simple as that.

    The article actually takes care of the issue perfectly:
  4. ravenvii macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    Open Mail and call up Time Machine. You'll notice that instead of the usual Finder window, you get the Mail window itself in Time Machine. With that you can go back in time with your email.

    That's my experience from when I briefly played around with Time Machine last year.
  5. DaveF thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 29, 2007
    Thanks for the clarification. I didn't know I could invoke TimeMachine inside of Mail search old email from their. I'll give that a try. :)
  6. macblob macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2008
    Warning TimeMachine Won't Backup Mail

    I ran into a problem when Mail wouldn't connect with my mail database. I tried backing it up with TimeMachine through the Mail app, and through locating the Mail folder in the Library. Through the app didn't restore all the mail. Within the Mail folder, the Mail app would drop off when it was rebuilding the connections to the database.

    I sought help through AppleCare and at the Apple Store. They couldn't do it either.

    Be-aware, it doesn't backup Mail nor iCal files.


  7. susie1962 macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2009
    Retrieving email in Time Machine

    Once you click on Restore while in Mail, does that put all of those emails backn in the current Mail inbox? I only want to view past emails and not have them show up on my current mail.
  8. Drdoc macrumors newbie

    Sep 8, 2009
    Using Time Machine to back up Mail

    I did this, and got to the earlier date where all my emails were listed. But my only option was "Restore." If I hit Restore, do I lose my current email list?
  9. mysterytramp macrumors 65816


    Jul 17, 2008
    There have been "tips" that suggest people exclude certain folders from their Time Machine backup in an effort to save space on their backup drive. It's possible Limbaugh and others have wrongly excluded the folder that contains their mail messages.

    I've tried to "see" my old email two different ways: through Mail and through the Finder. Things seem where they should be. The one thing to point out, if you do a lousy job of poking around with the Finder, you're liable to see a file called "INBOX" with a date that doesn't seem to correspond with the backup. The Inbox is really a folder, which has a folder "Messages" inside. That folder should correspond with the backup date.

  10. Drdoc macrumors newbie

    Sep 8, 2009
    Clarification: When I opened Time Machine from within Mail, I saw a LIST of my earlier emails, but couldn't OPEN any of them. That's when I noticed my only option was CANCEL or RESTORE. Obviously, I don't want to RESTORE if that's going to wipe out my current email inbox. How do you read earlier emails without losing your current ones?
  11. muphinDOTnet macrumors newbie

    Oct 12, 2009
    SPOOL Backup:
    Try Deleting

    in section <key>ContentsExcluded</key> of

    this should enable backup of that directory, keep in mind it is excluded for a reason, many services (including mail) are temporarily disabled while backup occurs.
    Also pay attention when your system is backing up, a process termination or restart may corrupt your backup, even a portion of your file system.

    If you would like to recover old email (from a backup) but you want to keep the new ones you need to change the way you access the server from POP to IMAP, you then copy the emails back to the server, then login from another client (preferable not on the same machine), re-download those email you copied earlier. restore your old email box, then with the 2nd client (using IMAP) re-upload those emails to your email box, then with your original client, download those emails back toy our account ... its a bit tedious but its the only way i can think of to keep both sets of emails.

    Source: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1254092
  12. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Time Machine backs up my email messages. Rush Limbaugh is just an idiot and isn't the type to give something a second thought if it doesn't work the first time.
  13. djg59 macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2010
    I experienced a mail loss this morning when thinking that after moving messages to a 'Smart Mailbox' they could be deleted from the regular Inbox.

    Everything disappeared ... deleting from the Inbox also deleted from the Smart Mailbox.

    Opening Time Machine while in Mail, I was able to highlight those individual lost messages and 'restore' them.
  14. valereee macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2010
    using time machine to restore emails to new machine

    Okay, so for clarification because I've just had this problem and I'm confused reading this thread --

    I have been using time machine on a macbook for a year and a half. This week, I ordered a new air for myself (supposed to be here Friday), and I wanted to put my old macbook under the tree for my daughter all clean and shiny and empty for her. So I used time machine to back up to our desktop, just to make sure I had everything in more than one place, and then I had my macbook wiped by our local mac shop.

    So today I went into that account (the one I made for the stuff from the macbook) looking for a past email (I use mac mail), and all my email folders are empty. Time machine transferred all the folders, but the emails aren't in them. The folders are empty except for a few emails that have arrived since.

    But what folks are saying in this thread is that when I restore to the NEW machine from time machine, they WILL be there? They just aren't there now because I did the restore into a machine that had emails already in it, they appear to have disappeared, but once I restore into a brand new machine, they'll be there?

  15. swartenfagen macrumors newbie


    Jan 26, 2016
    --- Post Merged, Jan 26, 2016 ---
    Time Machine does backup Mail. The only situation where it wouldn't backup mail is if you have excluded the mail store folder on your machine.

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