Fix: Apple Mail Stuck on Moving Messages on Mac


Apple Mail can sometimes get stuck while moving your messages. It looks like the app is getting out of sync and can’t complete the action. What’s even more annoying is that closing the Mail app or restarting your Mac doesn’t seem to fix the problem. If you have the same problem and are looking for a fix, follow the troubleshooting solutions below.

What is preventing Apple Mail from getting stuck while moving messages?

This problem is often caused by a problematic email blocking your system and preventing the Mail app from completing the email indexing process. Specifically, the app fails to resend some emails to iCloud. This often happens when you forward a large number of emails at one time.

What happens is that your Mac copies the folder locally, but it fails to communicate the update to iCloud. Also, iCloud doesn’t send any confirmation back to your email app. And so, Mail app ends up waiting forever and ever for confirmation from iCloud to complete the process of forwarding emails. Of course, the confirmation never comes back because iCloud did not receive the update information via email in the first place.

How To Fix Apple Mail Not Moving Messages

Delete target folder from iCloud

A number of users have resolved this issue by deleting the target folder from iCloud on the web, instead of doing it in Mail. In doing so, iCloud notifies the Mail app of the folder deletion. As a result, Apple Mail concludes that it won’t be able to move the email and instead displays another error message. The new error replaces the process of moving messages and unlocks the whole situation.

After this step, you can delete all email messages that are not showing in iCloud. Try moving a smaller batch of emails and see if it works. Remember to back up your data and mailboxes before moving additional emails if something goes wrong.

⇒ Note: Some users fixed this issue by renaming the target folder from iCloud web interface. Use both methods (rename and delete folder) and check which one works for you.

Remove envelope index files from mail data

Rebuilding Apple Mail’s database might be the solution you’ve been looking for.

  1. Completely exit the Mail application and launch Searcher.
  2. Click on the To go menu and hold Option key to do the ~ Library option visible on screen.
  3. Then open the Mail folder and select version V8 (or an older version if you are using an older version of the operating system).
  4. Then open the Mail Data Folderand remove all filters starting with Envelope index.Apple MailData folder
  5. Also delete the Mail app from the library. Go to ~ / Library / Registered application status / and delete
  6. Launch the Mail app again. Wait for the app to finish importing your messages.

Boot into Safe Mode

Another solution that can fix this messaging app issue is booting in safe mode.

Steps to Boot into Safe Mode on Intel-based Macs

  1. Restart your Mac.
  2. Hold it Offset key right after restarting the device. You need to press it when your Mac is still starting up.
  3. Wait for the login window to appear on the screen. Release the Shift key.
  4. Enter your credentials to login. Safe start the notification should be visible in the upper right corner.

Steps to Boot into Safe Mode on Apple Silicon Macs

  1. Restart your computer.
  2. Hold down the power button for 10 seconds. Do this while your Mac is restarting.
  3. Release the Power when you see the boot options on the screen.
  4. Then select your startup disk, press Offsetand select Continue in Safe Mode.
  5. Log in and check if the email problem is gone in safe mode.


  1. Shut down your computer.
  2. Start your Mac, then hold the button Option, command, P and R keys. Do this while your device is booting.
  3. Release the keys after your Mac plays the second startup sound.
  4. If you have an Apple T2 Security Chip Mac, release the keys after the Apple logo appears and disappears for the second time.


To prevent Apple Mail from crashing again when moving messages, move a limited number of emails at a time. For example, select 10 emails, move them, then select another batch of 10 more emails, and so on. Avoid moving more than 25 emails at one time.

If Apple Mail crashes while moving messages, deleting the target folder from iCloud and rebuilding Mail’s database should resolve the issue. Did you manage to resolve this issue? Do you have any additional tips and tricks to share with us? Click on the comments below.


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