How to find messages in macOS Mail: 5 tips

Most everyone has experienced the frustration of trying to find an old email. You know you kept the message, you just can’t find it. Here are five tips for finding rogue emails in macOS Mail.


Image: Suwaree Tangbovornpichet, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Chances are you know the feeling. The initial sensation often mimics optimism. But when you cannot immediately locate an email message, frustration becomes the dominant emotion. Here are five tips to help you find wayward email messages using macOS Mail.

First, check folders immediately adjacent to the Mail folder in which you thought you placed the original message. Most everyone creates subfolders beneath the Inbox; typically, these subfolders are dedicated to various functions, clients, projects, subjects, or even senders. I’ve often located missing messages in an adjacent folder–the missing message’s storage location having fallen victim to shoddy mouse work. All you typically require to locate such misplaced messages is the general time frame in which the corresponding message was sent or received.

SEE: Top 20 Apple keyboard shortcuts for business users (free PDF) (TechRepublic download)

Second, perform a dedicated search within macOS Mail using the sender or recipient’s email address. Simply enter the sender’s or recipient’s email address within the search field. While a seemingly simple step, in 15 years of consulting and help desk supervision, I’ve found this basic fundamental is often surprisingly overlooked.

Third, expand your search string if searching by the email address doesn’t work. Remove the specific email address from which you thought the message was received or was sent and instead add relevant information. It’s possible you did not remember the correct email address, or the message was sent from or to a different mailbox for the same sender or recipient.

For example, if the…