Importing email using Mac Mail


This article assumes you've already exported your email within Mac Mail using the following article:

It's also assumed you backed up your email from another hosting company and are now ready to import your email into your DreamHost email account.

Re-configure your email address

Before continuing, you'll need to configure your email address to connect to your DreamHost email server.

  1. Delete the old email account from MacMail that was connected to your old hosting provider.
  2. Add the address back to MacMail using your DreamHost email credentials.
  3. Ensure that MacMail loads your address at DreamHost.

    There should be no email in this account since you have not migrated anything yet.


  1. Log into your email address in MacMail. Make sure that it is loading your address at DreamHost.
  2. In MacMail, click File > Import Mailboxes....
  3. In the pop-up window, choose Files in mbox format and then click Continue.
  4. When the pop-up message opens, navigate on your computer to the location where you backed up the email. In this example, it's in a folder titled MacMail_Backup.
  5. Highlight all of the mbox files in this folder and then click Choose.
  6. In the next window, confirm that all of the files are what you'd like to import and then click the Continue button.
    A message displays informing you that the emails have been imported into a folder titled Import.
  7. Click the Done button.
  8. Click the Import folder in the left pane to reveal all sub-folders and emails you just imported.

    As mentioned in the Exporting email using Mac Mail article, the emails are backed up in mbox files. You'll see above that under each folder is another folder titled mbox. This is where your emails reside.

Moving email into your new address

At this point, email is in Mac Mail under the Import section. You must now drag those emails into your DreamHost address. This requires you to create folders as you go along and drag the contents of each folder individually.

Moving email into your Inbox

  1. Click the mbox folder for your Inbox, where its content populates to the right.
    MacMail Importing Email
  2. Highlight all emails. You can do this quickly by pressing Command + A.
  3. Drag them into your Inbox folder.
  4. Click your Inbox folder and you'll see all emails have been imported.

Moving email into sub-folders

This step requires you to create your sub-folders manually as you go along.

  1. Hold down the Control button and click your Inbox.
  2. Choose New Mailbox....
  3. Create a new mailbox folder. This example creates a folder titled folder1. Repeat for any sub-folders.
    MacMail Importing Email
  4. After the sub-folders are created, click the corresponding mbox folder in the Import section. In this example, the mbox folder under sub1 is clicked.
  5. Highlight the emails in this folder and drag them into the new folder you just created.
  6. Click the sub-folder, where you can see the emails have been imported.
  7. Repeat these steps for any other sub-folders.

See also

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