Deleted iCloud email: a reader asks…
Help! I think I accidentally deleted my email account from the mail app on my Macbook Pro. Did I just lose everything? Can I get it back?
Worry not, if you are using an iCloud account for email, everything is safely stored online, so just add the account back to Mail and you’ll be back where you were. Same for if you use an MS Exchange account. And with some caveats, Google, Yahoo! and AOL mail accounts.
The critical factor is how the mail account is configured for your use. As long as your mail app supports either IMAP or Exchange server technology, you have nothing to worry about. That’s because your email account is really stored on a secure server in the cloud, and your Mail app simply replicates a copy of everything onto your computer. The originals are still in the cloud, so you can connect multiple computers, or connect, disconnect and re-connect the same computer and not lose anything.
With other email services it’s sometimes fuzzy. For example, Gmail uses IMAP by default, but you can turn on support for the older mail protocol, POP. Short for Post Office Protocol, POP mail stores mail on a cloud-based server until your device/computer asks for it, then downloads it to your computer, wiping it off the server. POP is horrible at multi-computer use, as many of us enjoy a personal computer and a smartphone – the latter is simply a smaller computer.
AOL mail uses a proprietary blend of IMAP, so your results may vary. And given all the breaches Yahoo has suffered recently, if you’re still using Yahoo I respectfully suggest you switch – now. As for less-modern email services, tell me in the comments below what you’re using and perhaps I can give you more specific advice.
To restore your Mail app to its previous glory, just open the Mail app and click the menu Mail and Add Account. Choose your account type from the list, and fill in your email address and password. The Mail app will do the rest. If you have a lot of old emails in your account, it may take awhile for everything to sync back up again, so be patient. Get a cuppa coffee and come back later and everything will be back to the way it was.
Another option is if you have Time Machine connected to a Time Capsule, then you can run Time Machine and revert your computer to just before you deleted that mail account.
If by chance you aren’t using a modern email service (Verizon customers with verizon.com email addresses, I’m looking at’cha), then you might have to also import messages from your previous “message store” as the Mail app creates a new one. You should be able to just click the menu item File > Import Mailboxes. Choose Apple Mail and the app should find your previous message store.