Asya Karapetyan
Content marketer, who specializes in Mac how-to guides
July 20, 2023
7 minutes to read

If you have been using the Apple Mail app for a long time and your mailbox is very heavy, you may face some issues when Mail search is not working correctly, the search provides wrong results or you can’t find some emails which in fact Spotlight is able to find. In this case, you should reindex your Mac Mail, which can troubleshoot this problem. In this article, we will share two ways on how to rebuild the Mac Mail index.

Reindex Apple Mail


  1. What does rebuild do in Mac Mail
  2. How to rebuild Mac Mail using the Menu bar
  3. How to manually perform Apple Mail rebuilding
  4. How to reindex Apple Mail with MacCleaner Pro

What does rebuild do in Mac Mail

When you rebuild the index of Mail, it removes all the messages data locally stored on your Mac and then re-downloads them from the remote mail server.

How long does Mac Mail rebuilding take

The time to reindex Mac Mail depends on the number of mailbox accounts you have and how many emails are stored on your Mac. It can take from several minutes to hours. If you have thousands of messages, the rebuilding will be lengthy.

How to rebuild Mac Mail using the Menu Bar

Apple Mail index rebuilding is quite easy. Here are the steps for this:

  1. Launch the Mail app.
  2. Go to the Menu Bar, click on Mailbox and select Rebuilt.
  3. Rebuild Mac mail index option in menu bar

  4. It will start the rebuilding process. You can see the progress bar of downloading your messages in the Mail window.
  5. Apple mail rebuild

  6. Note, that you have to repeat the above steps for each mailbox account you use in the Mail app.

How to manually perform Apple Mail rebuilding

If for some reason you can’t run the task of Mail rebuilding via the Menu bar, try to do this manually.
Here are the steps to rebuild Mac Mail index manually:

  1. First, quit the Mail app.
  2. Apple mail index rebuilding

  3. Then open Finder and press the Command+Shift+G key combination.
  4. Enter the following location and ~/Library/Mail and press Enter.
  5. Rebuilding Apple mail database

  6. Find and remove the files that begin with the “Envelope Index”. Note, we recommend before deleting to copy these files somewhere in case something goes wrong.
  7. Mail files in the Library folder

  8. Then open the Mail app again. It will start to force reindexing. Once the Mail index rebuilding is finished, the search problems should be solved.

How to reindex Apple Mail with MacCleaner Pro

Now we will show the quickest and easiest way to reindex Mail. It’s possible with the help of MacCleaner Pro. MacCleaner Pro can help you to quickly speed up your Mac and fix many issues. It allows you to reindex your mailboxes in the Mail app with just a few clicks.

Here is how to rebuild Apple Mail database with MacCleaner Pro:

  1. Launch MacCleaner Pro and go to the Speed Up section.
  2. Select Reindex Mail.
  3. Click the Review and Speed Up button.
  4. Confirm running this task.

maccleaner pro showing the option to reindex Mail
That’s all!
Note: In MacCleaner Pro you have two options when you want to reindex Mail. If you go to the application’s settings and switch to the Advanced tab, you can see two options:

  • Mail database will be updated.
  • The index will be recreated by the Mail app.
MacCleaner Pro settings window showing the Reindex Mail

It means that if you want to save your email files, choose the second option. If you want to remove specific Mail attachments, go to the Clean Up section and select the attachments for removal. Mail attachments in MacCleaner Pro


Now you know several methods to reindex Mail on your Mac. If you decide to perform this task with MacCleaner Pro, note that this program also allows you to reindex Spotlight, fix most of the errors that make your Mac slow, clean up your hard drive, and many more. You can evaluate MacCleaner Pro absolutely for free.

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