Copying IMAP mail to local machine for Apple Mail

How do I copy my IMAP mail to my local machine for back-up purposes?

How do I move mail from the mail server to a local Apple Mail mailbox?


Copying your mail to local disk is easy. First you create a local mailbox to hold your archival mail. Then you can copy or move mail from the server to that location. Here are the steps:

  1. Start Apple Mail
  2. From the menu select Mailbox > New Mailbox…
  3. Result: The “New Mailbox” window appears
  4. For Location select “On My Mac”
  5. For Name enter a name for your new local mailbox
  6. Click OK
  7. Result: Your new mailbox appears in the mailbox listing
  1. Open the mailbox on the server that contains the message or messages you’d like to copy or move
  2. Select the messages you wish to copy; to select all the messages in a mailbox use command-a (command – a)
  3. Result: The messages to be copied are highlighted
  4. ctrl-click on the highlighted messages to see a menu of options and select “Copy To” or “Move To” (depending on whether you want to copy or move the messages)
  5. Then choose the folder you created in previously from the pop-up menu
  6. Result: The messages you selected are copied to the folder on your local machine

If you selected “Copy To” then the original messages are still on the mail server and count against your Email Quota. If you selected “Move To” the messages will disappear from the mail server and will no longer count against your email quota.

Repeat the steps as needed to copy or move mail from multiple mailboxes on the server to your preferred set of mailboxes on your local machine.