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Apple Mail Archiving

Darrel Bayani -

Archiving is a feature that allows you to save emails on your computer’s hard drive.  Archive emails you no longer need if you don’t want to delete them. There are several ways to move messages to an archive location.

Manual Archiving
If you would like to archive your messages by content (project, subject, sender name, size, etc.), Place your messages in content specific folders and archive the folders manually.This method takes more time than automatic archiving (see below), but it gives users more control over what/when items get archived. Instructions for manual archiving in Apple Mail are listed below:

  1. Click the [+] button on the bottom left hand corner of the screen. 
  2. Select New Mailbox.
  3. On the menu that appears next to the heading Location chose the option On My Mac, then enter in a name for the mailbox. Example: 'Archived Emails'
  4. Create as many folders as you require.  
  5. Drag e-mails from your Inbox into the newly created archive folder. Once your emails are in this folder they will no longer be on the server but will be permanently saved to your hard disk.

Archive using Filter/Mailbox Rules
Once you are comfortable with manual archiving, you can automate your email filing process using filter/ mailbox rules.

Automatic Archiving (Advanced Feature):

If you prefer to archive your messages by date, archive your emails automatically to move email older than a specified time to an archive location/local folder on your computer.
Instructions for automatic archiving are listed below:

  1. Follow the steps above in order to create an Archive folder on your Mac.
  2. Click on Mail > Preferences... > Rules and then click on the Add Rules button.
  3. Set up the following rule to archive email older than 180 days (you can adjust the days if you'd like):
  4. Click Ok.
  5. Click on the Apply button that pops up in order to run the rule on your Inbox. (If you have a lot of email, this can take a few minutes.)

  Instructions to Find/Import an Archive File

Important Note: Archive messages are stored on your local computer not your email server. Remember to copy your archive file (.pst or .olm) to a CD, DVD, or USB Flash Drive if you need to switch computers. The following instructions explain how to find/export & import an archive file in Apple Mail:

Export your Archive File

  1. Right-Click (CTRL-Click) on your existing Archive or any other folder you choose to export and select the 'Export Mailbox' option.
  2. Navigate to the Shared Drive or external drive as the place to save your mailbox.
  3. In order to retrieve email again from the exported file, you must import it back into Apple Mail.

Import your Archive File

  1. Click on File > Import Mailboxes.

  2. Click Import data from 'Files in .mbox format', and then click the Continue button.

  3. Go to the same place you saved the file on your hard drive and click on that file. Usually it'll be named "Inbox.mbox".  The program will begin importing the files back into Mac Mail. Depending on the size of the mailbox this can take several minutes. Once complete, you will find the emails in a subfolder called "Import".


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