How to recover deleted email on Mac OS X

Apple Mail and many other email clients store data locally on your Mac. This is a handy feature but when something goes wrong you may find yourself missing hundreds or even thousands of valuable emails. Disk Drill can help recover those valuable personal or work emails in a few simple steps.
How to recover deleted email on Mac OS X
Email data loss can occur for many reasons including damaged hardware and accidental deletion. Regardless of the cause of the data loss Disk Drill can help recover email databases or storage containers used by common email clients such as Apple Mail, Outlook for Mac, Mailbird and many more. Disk Drill can help recover email when the data is stored locally, this means that if you only use email online (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook or Live.com) through your browser Disk Drill, unfortunately, would not be able to help.

If you are reading this article you are likely wondering how to recover deleted email from Gmail or how to recover deleted Yahoo email. The good news is that these files can still be recovered if you had your Gmail or Yahoo account linked to Apple Mail, Outlook, Mailbird or another desktop email client on your Mac.

This is a quick start guide to help you recover deleted email. Check out other in-depth instructions on how to use Disk Drill and the different methods of data recovery.

#1 Getting Started

To recover deleted email you will need to download Disk Drill first. Install Disk Drill by dragging it to the Applications folder. Pro Tip: You can also add Disk Drill to your Dock for quicker access to recover email in the future.
  • 1Download Disk Drill
  • 2Drag to Applications Folder
  • 3Launch the app

#2 Select the Drive

Pick the drive you wish to recover email from, if you want to recover Yahoo email or recover deleted email from Gmail you will select the drive where the email was originally stored. This is likely your primary Mac OS X drive.
Pro Tip: If you are trying to recover email from the hard drive of another computer connected to your Mac then you would need to select that hard drive and not your system Mac OS X partition.

#3 Run a Quick Scan

Most file systems such as HFS+, FAT and NTFS can be recovered much faster with a Quick Scan, if your hard drive was formatted to any of these file systems you can click "Recover" to recover deleted email faster. The unified "Recover" button in Disk Drill will ensure it's running the most effective recovery algorithms exactly for the drive you selected, this helps optimize recovery time, as well as maximize the amount of recovered data.

Pro Tip: You can still customize the recovery sequence by selecting the specific recovery method from the Gear icon by the main "Recover" button next to the target drive or partition.

#4 Deep Scan for More Results

Even if your computer's drive was corrupted or missing a file system (formatted) you can still try to recover Yahoo email, Gmail and many other types of locally stored email in Apple Mail if their database formats are supported. For instance, Outlook for Mac will store all message contents in OLK14MSGSOURCE files which are perfectly supported by Disk Drill's Deep Scan. Find out more details about running a deep scan.

You Could Avoid Losing Your Emails!

Disk Drill is famous for its free data protection algorithms Guaranteed Recovery and Recovery Vault. They might be of great help when you get your local email database accidentally deleted. Recovering your data from Disk Drill's protected data storage is reliable and included in the free Disk Drill Basic edition.
You Could Avoid Losing Your Emails!

#5 Importing Recovered Email

Let's use Apple's Mail app and Disk Drill's Quick Scan as an example here. Once the email recovery is completed you will need to locate the "Apple Mail" folder within the "Mail" folder, when attempting to recover deleted email from other mail clients the location of the files may change slightly. Once you have located the "Apple Mail" folder you will likely notice both "EML / EMLX" and "MBOX" files inside.

To import recovered email into Apple Mail:

  1. Open Apple Mail
  2. Click File -> Import Mailboxes
  3. Select "Apple Mail" as the data type
  4. Navigate to the folder where Disk Drill has recovered your deleted email and press "Choose"
  5. Click the "Continue" button to begin to import the recovered email
  6. Click "Done" when prompted, take note of the name of the Mailbox where your recovered emails are now located
For the Mac version of Microsoft's Outlook, you would be looking out for .OLK14 files upon recovery. Usually when these emails are recovered by Disk Drill you just need to double-click them to open and import back into Outlook. If that doesn't work for any reason, try renaming them into *.EML.
For those of you using Mailbird app, look for the recovered "Store" folder, which will contain one or several files like "Store.db". You might also be able to recover "MessageIndex" files, they are not that important and will be re-created by Mailbird on next launch, but you may want to make a copy of these ones as well. Once these email containers are recovered with Disk Drill, copy them to your live Mailbird's installation folder.

Disk Drill is a great way to recover deleted emails

Rather for Business or Personal use Disk Drill can help to recover deleted email. Disk Drill can help recover Yahoo email, recover deleted email from Gmail and many more email providers. If your email was stored locally with Apple Mail, Mailbird or other popular clients on your Mac OS X at anytime then Disk Drill can try and recover lost emails.

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Have a say!

  • Dan Burkhardt
    I originally bought disk drill to recover media from GoPro SD cards that had been accidentally formatted. It worked amazingly well but it was never a crisis situation until about two years ago when I dropped my main backup disk off my desk, shattering the case on the ground while it was still running, effectively nuking everything I had stored on it, my entire life’s worth of data until that point. The partition was lost and the disk would no initialize on my mac without manually doing so under utilities. I tried deep file scan and was able to recover some things but not all. Then, yesterday, after not using disk drill for a long time I took that old broken disk off the shelf and made a sector-by-sector backup to DMG on a new external I just purchased. After it completed, I was able to mount it and THERE WAS ALL MY DATA!! Years of family photos, countless video projects I have generated, my digital portfolio, tons of media content has been restored. I’m in awe at what you guys have managed to achieve with this tool and so thankful for your work. Upgrading to pro was the literal least I could have ever done. Let me know your Venmo handle and I’ll send you all money for coffee and doughnuts along with more thanks for your amazing work.
  • Disk Drill offers a solution to data recovery that I found to be interesting enough for a chin rub and a thumbs up. In fifteen minutes it had found over one thousand deleted images. One thousand! This app scored high on my list of awesome Mac apps. Cody Fink