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Apple Updates Mail to Address Mavericks Bugs

Apple has released an update for the Mail app in OS X 10.9 Mavericks to address some of the Gmail issues outlined by Joe Kissell late last month (see “Mail in Mavericks Changes the Gmail Equation,” 22 October 2013).

The 32.46 MB Mail Update for Mavericks, which you can get via Software Update or download from Apple’s Web site, claims to fix the inability to delete, move, and archive messages when using custom Gmail settings; inaccurate unread mail counts; and other unspecified bugs.

It’s clear that Apple intended to make Mail in 10.9 Mavericks work better with Google’s popular email service, but the result for many was a broken mess. It will take time before we know for sure if Apple’s update solves the problems, but since support for the 20-year-old IMAP must by necessity be bolted on to Gmail’s modern architecture, there will always be some disconnect — if not outright incompatibilities — between Gmail and an IMAP client like Mail.

If this update does not resolve the particular problems you’re seeing with Gmail, your best bet may be either to use Mailplane, which encapsulates the Gmail Web app within a native Mac wrapper (to see why TidBITS publisher Adam Engst likes Mailplane, read “Zen and the Art of Gmail, Part 4: Mailplane,” 16 March 2011), or to follow in Joe Kissell’s footsteps and leave Gmail for a more standards-compliant email provider (see “Joe Kissell Says Sayonara to Gmail,” 31 October 2013).

While he can’t offer a concrete recommendation, Joe has now weighed in on the update, in “Mail in Mavericks: Is It Safe Yet?” (11 November 2013). We’ll continue to track the various problems readers are reporting in the comments on all these articles and will share any important solutions we find.


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Comments about Apple Updates Mail to Address Mavericks Bugs
(Comments are closed.)

Mike Cohen  2013-11-07 15:05
This update fixed the gmail problems for me & made Mail usable again.
Joe Kissell  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-11-07 15:12
I've downloaded the update but, as Josh mentioned, I'm on the road and unable to do any real testing right now. I've heard from a couple of people who say that the update fixes some but not all of Mail's problems. My own problems largely went away when I switched from Gmail to a conventional IMAP provider, and I won't be able to test what happens in a Gmail account with 300,000+ messages since I don't have one anymore :-). But I will be very interested to hear what other users report.
Hey Joe. Congrats on dumping Google :)
Question what email provider did you go with? If you like it perhaps I would like to hear about it. I'm sure you'll talk about that sometime with Chuck on his show. Have a nice time on the road.
Michael F.  2013-11-07 17:11
I downloaded the standalone updater and installed it earlier this evening. Mostly better - performance is back to normal now, my inbox and smart mailboxes are working fine, and everything is reasonably responsive. (I have about 125,000 messages in my account.)

I do have my "all" mailbox turned on for IMAP now - a little leary of turning it off at this point, lest I break something. Less reason to do so now, since the messages in "All" are still not duplicate copies -- so I'm willing to leave it this way.

The one thing I'm still annoyed about: I had an "all new" smart folders that shows me all unread messages, regardless of which mailbox they're in. . I have a "Mailbox" column so that I could see which actual mailbox each new message was in. They all read "Archive - Gmail" in Mavericks. Sigh.

I am also still getting constant Console messages about trying to synchronize a mailbox with a ~ in the title (which I used, at the time, to force it to sort near the top.) Apparently some gmail/ synchronizing process is not escaping out that character, and getting very confused about relative vs. absolute paths. I have since renamed the folder on Gmail AND on, but apparently there is still some phantom process trying to handle the old messages from when they were still in that ~buggyname folder. I'll probably have to track down the relevant temp directory and blow something away at some point.

All in all, though, this has resolved 95% of my issues with Mavericks Mail. If it looks stable for awhile longer, I'll finally upgrade other computers in the house...I've been holding off because of this very problem.
Michael F.  2013-11-07 20:21
I partially take this back. While the slow mailbox refreshes and new-message indicators are better, I am still getting Mail trying to rewrite tags on tens of thousands of local messages, over and over. I am about to try something drastic: I am going to make a backup of my Mail folder, remove my gmail account from Mail completely, clean whatever caches I can find, then try adding the gmail account back in and letting all my mail download. Could be a tremendous waste of time and bandwidth, or it could fix whatever's wedged (possibly that folder with a ~ in its name is involved, as delving into my Mail directory shows some XML at the bottom of those messages that still has the original ~name embedded in it...)

I might not know the outcome of this one for a couple of days - wish me luck!
Good luck! :)
David J  2013-11-07 17:21
I'm still not seeing a way to use the Delete key to Archive mail. When I hit Delete, it still moves the email into the Trash, unlike pre-Mavericks. Has anyone found a way to automatically archive, rather than having to click the Archive icon each time from the toolbar?
Michael F.  2013-11-07 18:10
I can't help you on this one – I use the Delete key as God intended, to actually delete things :-)
David J  2013-11-07 18:21
Yes, I can see your point. :-) However, even when you set up a Gmail account in iOS, you get a choice for the default behavior: Archive or Delete.

Apple should be consistent with their interface. If they're allowing people to easily archive mail on the phone, they shouldn't take that away in Mail on Mavericks.
Michael F.  2013-11-07 18:33
Oh, I know. Just being a smart-ass. :-)
Agreed. I still can't use the Delete key to quickly archive messages. The option to "move deleted messages to the trash" is grayed out in the mailbox behavior section of Mail preferences. This is killing me!!!!!
Josh Centers  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-11-07 23:10
Control-Command-A will archive a message in Mail.
chaos750  2013-11-08 09:35
> I want to use the Delete key to mean "save this forever"

I think I found the problem.
In the iOS Mail app, you can change the default behavior of a sideways swipe (which always means "Delete" everywhere else) to "Archive" instead.

I can see why Apple might have wanted to remove the feature, but it doesn't make sense for them to change the feature in OS X but not in iOS.

Even with this change, is still broken. When you read and/or archive a message in Gmail, it isn't reflected in for some reason. still thinks it's unread and sitting in the Inbox until you also read and archive it there too.
Kent Akgungor  2013-11-11 15:20
After unsuccessfully searching around for a solution to this problem, I decided to create a simple plugin for Mail called Delete2Archive to get the old delete-to-archive behaviour back in Mavericks.

Here's a blog post I wrote about it for those that are interested:
Morgan Daly  2013-11-28 16:23
There is an Archive button now. It's not the delete key, but it will archive as intended in Apple Mail for Gmail. You need to customise the toolbar though to add it.
Alan Forkosh  An apple icon for a TidBITS Supporter 2013-11-07 19:13
The update still hasn't fixed the contextual menu 'Open Link' command not working for some links in email messages. Clicking the link opens the referenced browser page but selecting 'Open Link' or 'Open Link behind Mail' fails for some links in some emails.
Josh Centers  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-11-07 23:12
FWIW, push email seems to be working again with my Gmail account and Mail. Yay! (May still switch to Mailplane.)
For me, it looks like Mail is doing better at removing the hidden "Inbox" label when putting messages into Mail folders. It also appears to be assigning the correct gmail label for my specific folders--so yay for all of that!

However, my Smart Mailbox problem still exists. I have an "All Unread" smart mailbox that includes all unread messages, but excludes messages from the account's "Junk" mailbox as well as a "Bulk Mail" mailbox that I have separately defined for use with SpamSieve. At random times, the smart mailbox seems to forget the "Junk" rule. If I then edit the smart mailbox, make no changes, then click OK, the mailbox behaves as expected--for a while.

So--the update seems to have helped a bit, but has not proved to be a panacea.
The newly added

Display unread messages with bold font

check box under Viewing in Preferences still doesn't seem to work. All unread messages are bold, regardless of this setting. Why do they add a new setting that doesn't work??
That setting has been around for years. It only applies if you've checked the "Use classic layout" option.
O, really? Humm, I guess I never noticed it before, but I also don't recall the messages all being displayed in BOLD before either. Weird. Thanks tho.
Lewis M Taffer  2013-11-08 08:19
No fix to my problem. The Apple mail client stills shows emails that I've opened on my iPhone as unread. Not the case for deletions, however--they synch properly.
Jonfen  2013-11-08 11:47
I had that problem, and in I changed the email account's advanced setting of "Use IDLE command if the server supports it" to OFF (unchecked) and it now it updates mails as read (from the iPhone) as it is supposed to.
I thought that feature was required for Gmail to be able to PUSH email to Does PUSH still work for you?
Norm Evangelista  2013-11-08 09:06
The Mail update immediately fixed the problem that Mavericks introduced of a 'phantom' unread email message in GMail. So glad that that "1" badge is no longer taunting me. On a somewhat related note, I had an email group in Address Book that comprised two other email groups; after upgrading to Mavericks, that email group now contains only a single email address. Grr.
Joe Kissell  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-11-08 10:23
I have noticed that AppleScript still can't see messages in Gmail mailboxes after this update.
Blah. Unfortunately, the update doesn't fix my issue. I can archive a bunch of messages on my iPhone using Mailbox app, come back to my Mac some hours later, and Mail still shows all of them as unread, and still in the Inbox. Deleting messages seems to work now, at least.
JerryNaples  2013-11-08 11:33
None of the 3 issues I've mentioned earlier have been solved

1) You still can NOT key in a Smart Group name in a Destination field. Mail still doesn't see these groups. The work around remains to work inside Contacts

2) For some, buy not all individuals, if I key in the name of a person I end up with a double display of the person's name etc. I've not determined anything in the person's vCard. I've also cleaned out the Previous recipients file to no avail.

3) I also use dragged-to-the-group Group names in my destination fields. When I type in the group's name I sometimes get a active name of the group. By active I mean that it is "blue" and I have the option to Expand the group to see all the members of the group. Other times, for the same group name, the name is not active. It can't be expanded and I can't type a , to add another name into the field

If you have read this far, could you tell me the Apple site to report my problems


I'm getting a lot of errors like these that did not previously exist:

2 messages could not be moved to the mailbox “ ”

The IMAP command “UID COPY” (to ) failed for the mailbox “INBOX” with server error: No folder (Failure).

I did turn off "All Mail" again but may consider turning it back on to see if there is a difference.
Turns out the Apple Mail in Mavericks is no longer happy with folder names starting with a space (which previously I used to force a particular mailbox to appear first in the list). Removing the space solved the problem and indeed things are working quite well. I did remove the Gmail account from Apple Mail entirely and re-add, which I believe may also have cleared out some issues. Note that I am still running w/o "All Mail" and that seems OK, thankfully.
Mark Miller  2013-11-08 14:18
Smart mailboxes are working well again! I had a bit of trouble with the SpamSieve 2.9.11 update today but it was resolved when I had SpamSieve reinstall its Apple Mail Plug-in. I suppose it is possible that this problem was triggered by changes introduced in the Apple Mail update.
Diego Sanjurjo  2013-11-09 06:59
Everything back to normal, thank you for all the help and advice!
Brett O  2013-11-09 21:45
Hi. I haven't installed it yet. Is there any consensus yet on whether to turn off "All Mail" in Gmail? I had it off pre-Mavericks and turned it on post-Mavericks after Joe's article. Now I'm a deer in the headlights.
Michael F.  2013-11-10 05:48
I installed the new mail patch, and was still seeing some major performance issues regarding updating metadata for tens of thousands of messages at once. This was even after blowing away my Gmail account and having Mail download it again.

Last night, I did the following:

- Turned off "All Mail" in Gmail's IMAP settings.
- Deleted all email accounts, then deleted ~/Library/Mail and ~/Library/Containers/

I then re-added my iCloud and Gmail accounts and let all my messages download overnight.

This morning, mail performance is back to what it was in Mountain Lion, at least so far. And I am not seeing any of the unpleasant Inbox or mail-deletion bugs that Joe Kissel wrote about in his original article.

I'm not sure whether turning off "All Mail" was responsible, or whether there was some metadata that I purged that had been causing trouble -- my suspicion is both.
Brett O  2013-11-10 12:18
Thanks Michael F, I will try that
I've also tried this (deleting Library files) but have had different results. All Mail is off but I'm having the emails reappearing bug when trying to archive or delete from the inbox. I have already applied the Mail update.
The reappearing issue has settled but here's the behaviour I'm seeing with 'All Mail' turned off when I attempt to archive an email (because now you have to specifically archive if you don't want to delete; the new default behaviour) - a 'label' called "[Imap]/Archive" gets created in Gmail. What's even more fun is when you find out that the message 'archived' in is hidden from the inbox nicely by but retains the 'Inbox' label thus remains visible in Gmail's Inbox PLUS it has a new label of [Imap]/Archive. *Sigh*

In further testing, if another Gmail 'System Label' such as Trash is checked (to Show in IMAP) then the behaviour in works i.e. the 'Inbox' label is removed and the email is correctly labelled with 'Trash' in Gmail.

For me at least, this means you MUST still have the All Mail label 'show in IMAP' checked if you wish to archive email. I can't see how anyone is getting this working with Show in IMAP turned off for All Mail.
What is still frustrating is that I actually have 'Archive' by default working in (when pressing delete) for my personal Gmail account but not for my Google Apps account. In both accounts have set the option "When a message is marked as deleted and expunged from the last visible IMAP folder" to "Archive the message (default)".

My personal Gmail account in honours this setting but my Google Apps email account does not.
cathy whitlock  2013-11-14 06:05
Not to sound stupid, but where is the "All Mail" setting? I have version 10.9 and when I go to gmail settings in apple mail I just don't see it. I have added the update and still cannot delete messages under gmail from my inbox. soooo frustrating!
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2013-11-14 08:26
It's in the Labels settings screen within Gmail itself - log in at, click the gear icon in the upper right of the window, choose Settings, and then click Labels at the top of the screen. You'll be enabling the Show in IMAP setting for the All Mail system label.
Galen Tackett  2013-11-10 10:26
This update fixed some problems with Gmail, but I don't use Gmail and it didn't fix my problem.

My problem is that mail hangs immediately after launch and then eventually crashes.

I suspect smart folders are involved. On the Thread 0 stack there are several hundred instances of this:

- 89 0x00007fff8cd25ba6 -[MFCriterion spotlightQueryString] + 479
- 90 0x00007fff8cd27abc -[MFCriterion _spotlightQueryStringForCompoundCriterion] + 242

So I'm still waiting for a fix that will let me use Mail again.
Galen Tackett  2013-11-11 07:19
Using Time Machine I restored my /Library/Mail from two weeks ago.

This has Mail working again. My IMAP folders didn't lose anything but I may have to restore some files to my local mail folders.

This is a mess, but I can't necessarily blame Apple or Google; I should have paid more attention. I have become, somewhat inadvertently, an email hoarder, with the digital equivalent of a home overflowing with junk mail, newspapers and other detritus.

I seem to have TWO sets of [Gmail].mbox, one in Mail/ and one in Mail/V2. They don't seem to duplicate. I also noticed that tons of mailboxes I'd "deleted" are in there. And even old accounts from jobs I've since left. I had no idea that stuff was there; does Mail NEVER throw anything out, a la Google?
I installed the Mail update and discovered that while my messages appeared in "All Mail," my folders (what Gmail calls labels) are totally empty.

The issue seems to be the IMAP Path Prefix (in Accounts/Advanced). In past versions of Mail, it's been necessary to use the prefix [Gmail] for folders to show correctly. In Mavericks, using the [Gmail] prefix results in empty folders. However, leaving the prefix blank produces another bit of weirdness: the folders display, with messages, but in reverse alphabetical order.

I've tried it both ways twice now, and the behavior seems consistent.

What I don't know is whether changing the labels on the server side would help. On the web, labels appear as [Gmail]/LabelName; perhaps removing "[Gmail]/" would allow Mavericks Mail to sort the labels properly. I haven't tried it, because I'm pretty sure it would wreck the labels on Mountain Lion—and I'm not updating my main machine until this gets fixed.
Greg C  2013-11-10 19:33
Sending mail to groups in Contacts is now broken for me.
Tom Gewecke  2013-11-10 20:06
Message > text encoding menu item is still missing, making it impossible to read mis-encoded messages or to set outgoing encoding to meet recipient requirements. Why this standard feature of mail clients was removed by apple is baffling.
ihorner  2013-11-11 17:46
After installing Mavericks I lost several important business emails in Apple Mail. They were in a subfolder of a folder and were visible but I could not open them. After doing a couple of things Help suggested they were no longer even visible. Great. Any advice from anyone else in the same boat?
Tripp Frohlichstein  2013-11-11 19:51
Sadly,date has not helpe d me with mail on either my new 2013 iMac or 2012 MacBook Pro. When I click to reply, there is a very long delay. When I click again thinking I messed up, it will open, after the delay, two mail replies. And since the g-mail fix? My gmail isn't showing up sometimes. Sheesh.
Mike Bowie  2013-11-11 21:45
After reading through all this correspondence one concludes the time has come to dump gmail IMAP altogether, and go with gmail POP access (only) with Apple mail. Otherwise it seems to me we're just playing catch-up with a program to which we don't know the rules. (Does Apple even understand them??!!)
How would I even do that?
David Lynch  2013-11-12 05:13
I'm still having a strange issue with outgoing mail. I'll send out a message, and awhile later, it will show up in both Mail and in Gmail (when I check on the web), as a draft. I've sometimes needed to resend the draft a few times before it clears on my end.
Madeleine  2013-11-13 01:20
I don't have the luxury of dumping Google for various reasons. I'm trying to recover the emails lost (a years worth) when I installed Mavericks. And it wasn't just Gmails that went awol. Will the update help?
Rob Gendreau  2013-11-13 12:45
My mail does seem to be behaving better. But note that storage within ~/Library/Mail is definitely different, so if you have things directly accessing those files it can get weird. And things like AppleScripts trying to go to "folders" in gmail folders don't work as they did before. Mail seems to generate virtual folders such that other applications/scripts can't find the actual email files.

And even seems to have problems with this: if I use Mailbox>Export... I get a folder structure with nothing in it but plists. There seems to be NO way to export mailboxes from labels/folders in gmail accounts; I believe it works for other IMAP accounts.
I am so confused on what settings in Apple Mail and settings in Gmail is recommended or I should be using.

I use to have it set that when I deleted an email it would go to All Mail as in essense this is how Gmail is meant to work (I think). I'm pretty sure I did this by having the "Move deleted messages to Trash mailbox" unticked in Apple Mail but that isn't an option anymore as its shaded out. I can untick the Draft, Sent, Junk "store sent message on server" but not sure if I should be or should not being!

Anyone share what they think the best set up should be?

Like does this still apply -
(though we can't leave Trash unchecked anymore... well I cant anyway)
My Mail got worse! I can't use it at all with gmail opened as an account. It will crash. If I only use the Mac email address it works fine, but I only use Gmail. I had to download Airmail just so I could access my mail. Any updates for the update?