Mac Mail Not Deleting Emails: A Comprehensive Guide to Troubleshooting

Mac Mail Not Deleting Emails: A Comprehensive Guide to Troubleshooting

Why are my emails not deleting in Mac Mail? The issue can be due to server settings, software bugs, or syncing issues. Read more.

Alex Simmons

Alex Simmons | Jan 1, 2024 | 6 mins read

Apple Mail is the most used email client among Apple users. After all, it’s Apple’s default email client that seamlessly syncs across all Apple devices. Although many users are happy with Apple Mail’s functionality, some have encountered issues where Mac Mail won’t delete messages.

When your emails won’t delete on Mac Mail, it can cause disruptions in both personal and professional communications. If you’re experiencing an issue with Mac Mail not deleting emails, you’ll find the solution in this article. We’ve created this guide to help you understand, diagnose, and solve this issue.

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Why My Mac Mail Won’t Delete Messages

Are you trying to clean out your inbox by deleting several emails at once? Do you just want to get rid of that one annoying email from someone or of the messages you don’t need anymore? If so, you’ve probably tried deleting your emails on Apple Mail.

If this feature isn’t working for you, don’t worry – this isn’t uncommon. There may be a few possible reasons why your Mail app isn’t allowing you to delete your emails. Here are the most common reasons why this may be happening. 

Incorrect IMAP/POP Settings

Mac Mail uses Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) and Post Office Protocol (POP) to handle inbox updates. These settings control how your email client interacts with the email server, and incorrect configurations can lead to various issues, including emails not being deleted.

Software Bugs

Occasional software glitches can also be the culprit behind your emails not deleting on Apple Mail. To prevent this from happening, make sure that your Apple Mail and macOS are always updated to the latest versions. 

Apple frequently releases updates that address known issues. Simply installing the newest update of your operating system can help you fix this annoying software bug and be able to delete your emails without any issues again. 

Syncing Issues Across Devices

If your email account isn’t syncing correctly across devices, emails may not get deleted as they should. This is particularly common if you are using multiple devices to access the same Apple account. 

The lack of synchronization can result in discrepancies. For instance, the emails you deleted may disappear on one device but still appear to be in your inbox on another. 

Internet Connectivity Issues

A stable internet connection is essential for your Mail app to work properly. If your device has internet connectivity issues, such as a weak Wi-Fi signal, network congestion, or router problems, it can disrupt the communication between your device and the email server. As a result, you may experience issues with deleting emails in Apple Mail.

How to Fix Mac Mail Not Deleting Emails from Server

If you’re experiencing issues with Apple Mail not deleting emails, you may be wondering if there’s something you can do. The answer is yes! 

Here are the main troubleshooting solutions you can implement to solve this frustrating issue. If none of these solutions work, you may need to contact Apple support or consult with a professional.

Restart the Mail App 

If your inbox isn’t responding to your queries as it should, your first instinct may be to restart the app. If so, you’re completely right! Restarting Apple Mail often resolves minor syncing problems and allows the app to resume normal functionality, including deleting stubborn emails. 

Check Your Server Settings

As mentioned above, incorrect IMAP and POP configurations may prevent your emails from getting deleted. If you’re using IMAP, make sure that your settings are configured to sync deleted emails with the server properly. This includes checking the “Deleted Messages” and “Trash” folder settings to make sure they are mapped correctly. 

For POP accounts, verify that your email client is set to remove messages from the server after they’ve been downloaded. Sometimes, if this setting isn’t enabled, deleted emails may continue to reappear in your inbox. 

Aside from that, you can also check other server settings, such as authentication methods, SSL/TLS configurations, and port numbers, to make sure that they match the requirements of your email provider. Incorrect settings in any of these areas can lead to synchronization issues that cause deleted emails to reappear. 

Update to the Latest Version

To prevent software bugs that may be causing your Apple Mail to underperform, make sure that your Mac and the Mail app are up to date with the latest software updates. Sometimes, bugs or compatibility issues in older versions of the operating system or the Mail app itself can cause problems with inbox updates and actions like deleting emails. 

To check for updates on your Mac, go to the Apple menu > System Preferences > Software Update. Update any available system or app updates, then restart your computer to apply the changes.

Rebuild Mailbox

If the issue persists after trying the above solutions, you can attempt to rebuild the mailbox in Apple Mail. Rebuilding the mailbox can help fix corrupted or incomplete mailbox data that may be preventing the inbox from updating after you delete emails, which causes them to reappear in your inbox. 

To rebuild a mailbox, select the problematic mailbox in Apple Mail’s sidebar, then go to the Mailbox menu > Rebuild. Note that this process may take some time, especially for larger mailboxes, as it re-downloads all messages from the mail server.

Remove and Reconnect Your Email Account 

If nothing else works, you may need to remove and reconnect the email account that’s causing you trouble. If corrupted account data or misconfigured settings are preventing emails from being deleted, reconnecting your account can help fix that. 

You can remove your email account in Apple Mail with just a few clicks and add it again. Once you do, check whether you can now delete emails as you should. 

Consider an Alternative for Managing Multiple Email Accounts

If you’re using Apple Mail to manage multiple email accounts and find that the app often has issues syncing, sending, and deleting emails, you may want to start looking for alternatives. Luckily, there are many email clients you can use to manage multiple email accounts, one of them being Canary Mail.  

mac mail won't delete messages

Canary Mail is not only one of the best email apps to manage multiple email profiles, but it’s also considered the best app for multiple Gmail accounts. It allows you to easily sync all your email accounts from various platforms, like Gmail, iCloud, Outlook, Yahoo, ProtonMail, and more – right into one place.

Emails Won’t Delete on Mac, the Bottom Line

If you’re experiencing issues with deleting your emails on Apple Mail, you’re not alone. Many users encounter a similar issue, where they delete an email, and it keeps reappearing in their inbox. We get how frustrating that can be! By following the troubleshooting steps outlined in this article, you should be able to resolve this issue. 

However, sometimes, this issue may persist, and you may need to contact Apple support. If you find that your emails won’t delete on Mac more often than you’d like, you may want to move away from Apple Mail altogether and look for an alternative email client, such as Canary Mail.  

Apple Mail Not Deleting Emails, the FAQs

❓Why are my emails not deleting in Mac Mail?

Your emails may not be deleting in Apple Mail due to various reasons, such as syncing issues, incorrect mailbox settings, or server problems. To fix this issue, try restraining the Mail app, checking your internet connection, verifying mailbox settings, or reconnecting your email account.  

❓ How can I check if my server settings are correct?

To check if your server settings are correct on Apple Mail, go to Mail > Settings > Accounts and choose the email account you’d like to verify. Review the information under Account Information and Server Settings. Adjust as needed. 

❓ What should I do if re-syncing my email account doesn’t work?

If re-syncing your email account doesn´t work, try restraining the Mail app, checking your internet connection, and verifying your server settings. If none of these solve the issue, you may need to contact Apple support for specialized assistance. 

Alex Simmons
Alex Simmons

I have always been fascinated by the world of SaaS and technology. From a young age, I found myself drawn to the endless possibilities that email technology offers. The ability to connect with people across the globe and streamline communication processes is something that truly excites me. As a passionate individual, I am constantly seeking new ways to leverage SaaS and email technology to enhance productivity and drive innovation.

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