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Ask Max: Mavericks vs. Mail

Asked on 10/02/2014:

Two related questions:

I "upgraded" (pardoning the expression) to Mavericks on my laptop and my mail folders were ruined. A large number showed up with only addresses and subject, but no content. Additionally, a large number showed up as unread, but no amount of marking or opening would remove the unread stigma. I committed a stupid error by trying to restore mail from the latest time machine backup; that scrambled my mail even more.

Then I made an even more stupid error, and tried to restore from the restore partition of my hard disk; bad idea: all my applications now were gone. Fortunately, I was able to retrieve all applications, some with more effort than others, and even read in (the several thousand) emails. So that now - fingers crossed - my laptop is working properly, to the best of my knowledge, under Mavericks.

However, a funny thing happened to Mail: whenever I reply to an email and use an apostrophe, quotes, or colon, the character is entered but followed by a line feed. This does not happen in mail when I am drafting an original email, and it doesn't happen anywhere else. I can avoid the LF if I insert a space before the apostrophe.

With that sobering example, I backed up everything "backupable" on my desktop Mac Mini, hoping to make a smoother transition to Mavericks. No such luck - Mail was messed up just the same. So I gave up, restored my mini from the very careful backup, reread all my emails into Mail (Mail is not an application, but a part of the System - did they contract out to Microsoft to do this?), and am happily running OSX 10.8.5.

I shudder at the thought of what the next "upgrade" is going to do!

Any explanations? Suggestions for making the "upgrade" a real upgrade? Home address of the people who did this? 


Mavericks did have some issues with mail, so you are not alone. For one, the layout is different, and the process can alter your local mail folder behavior. Why or how to completely resolve it is another question. It seems much of this behavior is limited to mail accounts that use the older POP3 mail protocols. 

I personally get somewhat nervous with POP3 mail, as it doesn’t retain any mail information on the server-side (ie, what’s read, what’s replied to, and what’s deleted). This makes your machine the single point of potential failure. Most services today have IMAP available, so I highly recommend switching to IMAP. This may actually provide you with a solution going forward to keeping your mail account configured, even over multiple machines/devices going forward. 

Visit this link for more information on the difference between POP and IMAP

Mavericks is no longer supported by Apple. In fact, you can't even download it anymore. Unless you're running some uncompatible software, I recommend upgrading to the latest version of OS X. It will look different than Mavericks, so it will be a bit of a learning curve. In the long run, however, you will be safer doing things online because you will benefit from the latest built-in virus protection, etc. iPhoto is also no longer supported, so all your pictures will be transfered to Apple's new app Photos. Again, different look, but you won't lose any information.

As always, it is recommended that you back up your system before making major changes like updating the OS. With Apple's Time Machine, it's very simple to set up. After this set up, your computer backs up your system every hour, so you will always have a recent backup. Contact one of our Mac Experts to get an external hard drive for use with Time Machine, if you don't already have one, like this one from LaCie.

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