How to Export macOS Mail Messages as Mbox Files

macOS Mail allows you to export your emails in a more transferrable format

What to Know

  • Open the Mail app by selecting its icon on the Mac Dock.
  • Select a mailbox or folder to convert to an mbox file. In the Mail menu bar, choose Mailbox > Export Mailbox.
  • Choose a destination folder for the file. Select Choose to generate a new mbox file.

This article explains how to export macOS Mail messages as generic mbox files.

How to Export a macOS Mail Folder to an Mbox File

Your email is safe and searchable in macOS Mail, accessible anywhere on an IMAP server, and downloadable as a generic mbox file. Mbox files keep emails in a simple, transferable format that can be easily imported into other email programs and operating systems.

Exporting from macOS Mail is easy. Follow these simple instructions to save an email mailbox or folder as a mbox file using macOS Mail:

  1. Open the Mail app by selecting its icon in the Mac Dock.

    The Mail icon in the Mac Dock
  2. Click the mailbox or folder you want to convert to an mbox file in the Mailboxes panel.

    the iCloud mailbox selected in the the Mailbox panel of Mac Mail

    You can select multiple mailboxes or folders by holding the Command key and then selecting the individual folders you want to include. To highlight multiple folders in a continuous row, select the first item, then hold the Shift key and select the last item; macOS highlights all the items between the two selected items.

  3. From the Mail menu bar, select Mailbox > Export Mailbox.

    The Mailbox menu with Export Mailbox highlighted in Mac Mail
  4. Choose a destination folder for the mbox file and then select Choose to generate a new mbox file to the selected destination.

    A destination folder selected and the Choose button highlighted in Mac Mail

    The default destination folder is the Desktop.

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