Apple suggests workaround for ongoing Mavericks Mail issues

Madeleine Swain
4 February, 2014
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Have you upgraded your operating system to Mavericks? Despite a marked slowdown of late, there’s still an over one in three chance that you have it installed on your MacBook or iMac. When it launched on 25 October 2013, many people downloaded OS X Mavericks within the first 24 hours of its release – prompted in large part by it being the first Mac operating system upgrade to come free of charge to all Mac owners. By the end of November, it had a 32 percent share, but uptake slowed in December, gaining only five percentage points during the month.

The slowdown has been attributed by some analysts to the fact that users of Snow Leopard and Lion may not be able to upgrade their OS because of hardware incompatibility issues. However, perhaps there are other reasons users have been reluctant to upgrade.

Such as regular reports from those who have made the switch that they have suffered from repeated problems with the built-in Mail app. Specifically, difficulties have occurred when users try to retrieve new mail messages, delete old ones or move read ones.

Some users have found it necessary to quit and restart Mail in order to force the app to work correctly and download new messages.

MacRumors reports that an update in November addressed some of these glitches, as did OS X 10.9.1 “but for some, the issues retrieving new messages persist”.

Apple clearly knows about and acknowledges the problem and is presumably working on fixing it for good. In the meantime, the Cupertino, California company has published a workaround, one that MacRumors reasonably describes as ‘awkward’. The workaround does, however, enable users to leave the app open while still forcing a download of new mail. It is published on Apple’s support site thus:

“OS X: New email messages not received until Mail is quit and reopened


For some email providers, new email messages in Mail may only appear to arrive when Mail is first opened. No new email arrives until Mail is quit and reopened.


Quitting and reopening Mail forces it to re-establish a connection to the email server. You can use these steps to receive new mail messages without quitting Mail:

  1. Choose Mailbox > Take All Accounts Offline.
  2. Choose Mailbox > Get All New Mail.

As a shortcut, you can also add the Take All Accounts Offline and Get Mail buttons to your Mail toolbar.

  1. Choose View > Customise Toolbar.
  2. Drag the Take All Accounts Offline button to the Toolbar if it is not there already.
  3. Drag the Get Mail button to the Toolbar if it is not there already.
  4. Click Done

To receive new mail messages, click the Take Offline button, then click the Check Mail button.”

MacRumors notes that there is still no indication from Apple when this bug might be fixed once and for all, but does point out that developers testing the beta releases of OS X 10.9.2 have been asked to pay particular attention to issues.



3 people were compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

  1. Roger Harder says:

    I lost an email which was sent to an organisation – fortunately they received it and were able to supply me with a copy for my records. It was not in Sent, Inbox, or Outbox and a search of the mail failed to find any trace of it.
    Not impressed.

  2. Stella says:

    Not to mention the problems of Mail not playing nicely with gmail and Google Apps accounts… because of Mail being unreliable and slow I trialled Airmail and I haven’t looked back. Highly recommended over any workarounds.

  3. YS says:

    With me, I occasionally get sent attachments, but there is no sign of them in the e-mail. Having to ask people to re-send gets old very, very fast.

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