If you've got an Apple, Mac, or iOS tech question, we've got the answer. In this week's Ask, we'll show you how to archive old email so you can keep your inblox clean and organized.
In Apple Mail, I've created iCloud mailboxes to organize emails by topic. Once a topic is completed, and no longer actively needed, is there a way to archive all of these communications and emails for future reference and then have the freedom to delete the originals forever?
Once you have all of your important messages corralled into a mailbox (smart or otherwise), then it’s very easy in the OS X Mail application to export the enclosed messages.
1. Select the mailbox in the sidebar of OS X Mail.
2. Right-click on the selected mailbox.
3. Choose “Export Mailbox.”
4. Choose a location to export the mailbox in the destination chooser.
5. Click Choose.
Exporting your mailboxes is as easy as right-clicking on the mailbox.
Once you’ve done this, all of the messages, attachments, and directory structure will be exported to your chosen location. The export will happen to an industry-standard .mbox format that almost all modern email clients can read. The entire exported directory can be copied over to an external drive, disk, or Dropbox folder, and the originals in Mail can be removed.
When you decide that you want to import your messages back into Mail in order to read them again, perform these steps:
1. Launch Mail.
2. Select File > Import Mailboxes.
3. Choose “Files in mbox format” from the import window.
4. Choose the .mbox files that you exported previously.
That’s it! After doing this, the imported mailboxes will be displayed in the sidebar under the “On My Mac” section, as the email messages physically reside on your computer instead of in your email account.
When importing your mailboxes into Mail (or any email client), you’ll need to specify the “mbox” format.
Ask is written by Cory Bohon, a freelance technology writer, indie Mac and iOS developer, and amateur photographer.