Backup / Archive Mac Mail Data
Everyone gets messy from time to time while backing up Mac Mail (Archive Mac Mail data). The difference is how you deal with and come back to the ordered state from chaos. Email clients, like Apple Mail, often have to face with the messy state of data. If you are frequent user of Apple Mail and receives/sends a lot of emails regularly, there would certainly come a time when your mail servers would start overflowing with extreme large data files. That is when you would need to archive your data safely.
But what exactly is data archiving, in the context of Mac Mail. Most users misunderstand what exactly is data archiving. They mistake it for data backups or data arrangement. Where as, archiving means keeping data in a safe but inactive form that cannot be used again unless it is being properly imported back to the client or program. The difference is that all kinds of data needs to be backup, but the kind of data you should archive is old.
Therefore, if you are looking to archive your Apple Mail data, know that this means keeping the data for safekeeping usually old database records.
One more important thing here is that it doesn’t necessarily mean exporting archived data to a file on local machine.
So, how exactly do you use Mac Mail’s features to archive your data?
How to Archive Mac Mail Data?
Here’s a simple tutorial:
- – Launch Mail, Choose “Mailbox” –> “New Mailbox”
- – Name this new mailbox as “Archive *date*” (or anything you like that’s easy to remember later on)
- – Choose location as “On my Mac” (This would archive data locally)
- – Check all the messages you wish to archive (usually the old ones that don’t come into use) and drag them to the above created new mailbox
If the data was online, it might take a bit of time to download all the contents offline.
Congratulations! You have successfully archived your emails.
But, wait! Just moving them from one folder to other isn’t exactly archiving. What’s missing here is exporting the data to a file. That archived file is the important part since you can keep it anywhere safe (like an external drive).
Here’s how to export your archived folder to a .mbox package file.
- – Select the archived mailbox and go to ‘Mailbox’ –> Export Mailbox. Or ctrl+click and choose “Export Mailbox”
- – Choose the location to save the exported file
- – Check “Export all Subfolders” and click ‘Choose’
- – Mac Mail will export all the selected contents into an .mbox file package
And you are done!
Keep in mind that if you want to archive everything, you can skip the part where you created a new mailbox folder and dragged your emails to that folder. You can directly go to ‘Mailbox’ –> Export Mailbox to export an entire mailbox into .mbox file package.
However, that doesn’t help you clean space from mail servers since all the messages you archived are still there. It doesn’t clean the mess. Therefore, I usually recommend to create a new extra folder.
Another very important point to mention here is that Apple Mail doesn’t let you export your data in standard MBOX files. Noticed how I kept using the phrase “.mbox file package.” That’s because it is not exactly a file but a package. You can even “ctrl+click” on it and select “show package contents,” like a folder. This is in direct conflict with the de facto standard of MBOX files that most clients and programs use.
This entire process can be overly long and tedious. For beginners, it might even be harder and they might be more anxious since dealing with huge data is always risky.
Archive Mac Mail data to Standard MBOX
An alternative is to use a third-party tool that can offer much better way to archive data. One that truly makes the cut in all areas of a software application is “Mail Extractor Max,” from USL Software.
The reason I recommend “Mail Extractor Max” is simple – it’s simple to use, quick, and offers good features for Mac Mail data archiving into STANDARD MBOX files. One of the best features is auto-loading of entire Apple Mail profile database for conversion, but you can also manually select or de-select the folders that you don’t want to archive. It converts the Mac Mail data quickly into MBOX files without leaving any item/detail such as attachments, images, etc.
You can also check “Mail Extractor Pro” for converting Apple Mail to PST file format for Mac Outlook & WIndows Outlook. It will automatically pick you Apple Mail database, no need to archive Mac Mail data.