Apple – Mac Mail not sending and receiving – IMAP

Mac Mail – IMAP not working

Funny.  Since converting from POP to IMAP (to support allowing us to manage our email on our Mac Computer, iPhone, iPad and Windows Computer), we routinely have issues where Mac Mail just stops sending and receiving email.  I was attributing this, without basis, to a problem with my ISP or email host.  No pattern whatsoever that we have seen so far.  Some days it works.  Some days not.  We’ve done some research and found the following.  We saw the problem today, tried this approach, and Mac Mail immediately started working again.  There may be problems here as it’s only been tried once.  Thus, this is a start until Apple happens to resolve the issue automagically.

Mac OS Lion – your mail folder is now hidden

In this case, the idea is to remove a folder that is used by Mail – .OfflineCache.  With Lion, you can’t see your Mail folder any longer (a good measure in many cases).  To address this, open Terminal, type this command, and press Enter:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles YES

To hide hidden files simply replace YES with NO.

Quit Terminal by closing the window.

To make the command take effect, you need to restart the Finder. One way to do this is to hold down the Option (alt) key, then click and hold on the Finder icon in the Dock. When the contextual menu appears, select Relaunch and the Finder will restart.

Now that you’ve uncovered the hidden Mail folder, proceed.  Keep in mind though that you’ll need to come back and hide the files later.

Mac Mail – Not Sending or Receiving email

For us, our mailbox updates were simply not happening and then wonderful spinning wheel was running and running.  Mail was not coming in or going out on my Mac but was indeed working in Microsoft Outlook 2010 (Windows 7).  In this case, the use of IMAP in Mac Mail was not working / syncing.  Thus, we made the Mail folder available again (remember, you have to restart Finder) and did the following:

  1. Close Mac Mail.
  2. Go to /Users/your_profile/Library/Mail/IMAP-account_that_is_having_issues/.
  3. Locate and move the hidden folder .OfflineCache to your Trash.
  4. Start Mac Mail again and see if the problem is resolved.

A new OfflineCache folder will get created and for us, no messages were deleted.

After these steps, today, Mail was readily working again and happy to cooperate.  Remember to hide your system folders again if you want to — I would recommend doing so.

Please comment if there are suggestions for improvement or questions of any kind.

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