Mac Mail Not Updating Inbox: A Comprehensive Guide to Troubleshooting

Mac Mail Not Updating Inbox: A Comprehensive Guide to Troubleshooting

When Mac Mail is not updating the inbox, it can cause disruptions in both personal and professional communications. Learn how to fix it.

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 Apple Mail isn’t syncing their latest emails. 

When Mac Mail is not updating the inbox, it can cause disruptions in both personal and professional communications. If you’re experiencing an issue with Mac Mail not updating your inbox, 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 Is My Mail Not Updating on Mac?

Wondering why no new emails are hitting your inbox as they usually do? Or maybe you’re waiting for an email that you know has been sent but hasn’t arrived. If so, you may be experiencing an issue with Apple Mail not updating. 

There may be a few possible reasons why your Mail app isn’t syncing correctly on your Mac or iPhone. Here are the most common reasons your emails suddenly stopped coming through. 

Incorrect IMAP/POP Settings

Mac Mail uses Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) and Post Office Protocol (POP) to handle inbox updates. These protocols interact with your email server to fetch new messages and synchronize your inbox. 

Incorrect IMAP or POP settings are among the most frequent reasons why Apple Mail isn’t updating the inbox. Incorrect server addresses, port numbers, or security protocols can prevent new emails from landing in your Apple Mail inbox.

Software Conflicts

Conflicts between the Mail app and other software installed on your Mac can also lead to syncing problems. This could include conflicts with other email clients, security software, or system utilities. These conflicts may interfere with the proper functioning of the Mail app and prevent it from syncing emails effectively. 

Firewall Block

Your Mac’s firewall may be preventing the Mail app from accessing the necessary servers to sync your emails. Firewalls are security measures that monitor and control incoming and outgoing network traffic. If they’re configured too strictly, they can block legitimate connections, including those required for email synchronization.

Failure to Connect to Server 

The Mail app might be encountering difficulties connecting to the email server. This could be due to misconfiguration of the mail settings, server maintenance, or server-side issues. If the app fails to establish a connection with the email server, it won’t be able to sync new emails.

Internet Connectivity Issues

A stable internet connection is essential for your Mail app to sync properly. If you’re having internet connectivity issues on your device, 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, emails may not be received or synced on time.

How to Fix Apple Mail Not Updating Inbox

If you’re experiencing syncing issues with your Apple Mail, you may be wondering if there’s something you can do. The answer is yes! There are a few solutions you can try to fix this problem. 

Here are the main troubleshooting solutions you can implement to solve the issue of Apple Mail not updating your inbox. 

Restart the Mail App 

If you’re experiencing issues with your inbox not responding 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. 

To refresh your Apple Mail email, simply click on the “Mailbox” menu at the top of the screen and select “Get All New Mail” or press Command + Shift + N. This action will prompt the app to check for new emails and update your inbox.

You also just close the app and open it again. 

Test Server Connection With Connection Doctor

Apple Mail comes with a built-in diagnostic tool called Connection Doctor, which allows users to check the status of their email server connections. This tool provides real-time information about your connection to the incoming and outgoing servers, helping you pinpoint any issues preventing your inbox from updating.

If the inbox is not updating, there may be a problem with the connection to the email server. By using Connection Doctor, you can diagnose any issues with the server connection and take appropriate steps to resolve them. This might involve verifying server settings, checking network issues, or troubleshooting server-related problems.

Reset Firewall and Security Settings

In some cases, firewall or security settings on your Mac may be blocking Apple Mail from accessing the necessary network resources to update the inbox. Resetting these settings can help ensure the Mail app has the proper permissions to communicate with the email server and sync new messages.

This means temporarily disabling the firewall or security software, adjusting settings to allow access to Apple Mail, and then re-enabling or adjusting settings as needed to maintain security. Ensuring that ports 143 (IMAP) or 110 (POP) are open in your firewall settings can often help you solve any issues with Apple Mail not updating the inbox.

Check for Software Updates 

Ensure that your Mac and Apple Mail 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. 

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 correctly. 

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.

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 your latest 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.

mail not updating on mac  

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.

Mail Not Updating on Mac, the Bottom Line

Being unable to update your Mac Mail inbox can be frustrating, but understanding the common causes and solutions can help you resolve this issue quickly. With the right troubleshooting steps, you can get Apple Mail back up and running. 

Although it’s possible to solve the issues of Apple Mail not updating in a few simple steps, sometimes, you may need more than that. If you’re experiencing this issue frequently, you may want to move away from Apple Mail altogether and look for an alternative email client, such as Canary Mail.  

Apple Mail Not Updating, the FAQs

Why is Apple Mail not updating?

Apple Mail may not be syncing your latest email for various reasons, such as network issues, server problems, incorrect settings, or software conflicts. Troubleshooting steps like restarting the app, checking server connections, and adjusting settings can help resolve the issue.

❓ How do I refresh my Apple Mail email?

To refresh your Apple Mail email, simply click on the “Mailbox” menu at the top of the screen and select “Get All New Mail” or press Command + Shift + N. This action will prompt the app to check for new emails and update your inbox.

❓ How often does Apple Mail refresh?

By default, Apple Mail is set to check for new emails periodically. The refresh frequency depends on your account settings, but it typically checks for new mail every few minutes. You can adjust this frequency in the Mail preferences under the “General” tab by selecting your account and adjusting the “Check for new messages” option.

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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