macOS Mail: How to Keep Emails on the Server

What to Know

  • Open Mail app > Mail > Preferences > select Accounts tab > select account > Account Information tab.
  • Next, select Remove copy from server after retrieving a message > choose a time period.

This article explains how to keep emails from a POP account on the server for a day, week, or month after they are downloaded to an email client. Information in this article applies to the Mail application in macOS Monterey (12.5) through macOS Sierra (10.12)

How to Keep Mail on the Server With macOS Mail

One feature of POP email accounts is that you choose how your emails behave after they've been downloaded to an email client. With the macOS Mail application, you decide whether to have your emails deleted or kept on the email server for a specified amount of time.

  1. Launch the Mail application on your Mac. Select Mail in the menu bar, choose Preferences in the drop-down menu to open the Mail system preferences.

    Preferences in Apple Mail
  2. Select the Accounts tab at the top of the Mail preferences screen.

    The Accounts tab in Mail
  3. Highlight the POP email account you want to edit in the left pane.

  4. Choose the Account Information tab and place a check in the box next to Remove copy from server after retrieving a message.

    The Account Information tab and "Remove copy from server" option
  5. From the drop-down menu just below the check box, choose After one dayAfter one week, or After one month.

    • For example, if you select after one week, the messages remain on the email server for a week after they download to macOS Mail, and then they are removed from the server. You can download the same messages on other computers and devices within that week only.
    Accounts Preferences for Mail on a Mac

    There's also a When moved from Inbox option that you can pick. It deletes emails from the server only after you move the messages away from the Inbox in Mail.

  6. Close the Accounts window and return to your email.

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