How to fix ‘Outlook can’t upgrade your database’ errors when launching Microsoft Outlook on Mac

Please upgrade the Outlook database

Last night, I decided that I would give the desktop version of Outlook a chance. Unfortunately, I ran into a problem when first launching the app. After doing a bit of troubleshooting, and lurking around the app’s bundle, I was finally able to fix the issue.

If you’ve ever ran into the “can’t upgrade your database error” when launching Outlook, then you may want to give this fix a try.

The first message that you’ll receive before getting the Outlook can’t upgrade your database error, is a message asking you to please upgrade the Outlook database. Once you click the Upgrade button on that message, you’ll see the following error below:

Outlook can't upgrade your database

Since I had never really used Outlook before, fixing this issue was basically just a matter of creating a new database or profile. According to Microsoft, a profile is associated with and stores a set of email messages, contacts, tasks, calendars, account settings, Scrapbook clips, and more. So when creating a new profile, you’re basically setting up a brand new database to house all of your email and account information. With that in mind, you’ll definitely want to exercise caution when tinkering with this stuff.

Therefore, if you’re receiving this error message after using a configured Outlook installation for quite some time, you’ll want to investigate that profile, and not necessarily create a new one as shown in this tutorial.

Outlook Show Package Contents

Step 1: Open the Application’s folder and right-click on the Microsoft Outlook app and select Show Package Contents

Outlook Profile Manager

Step 2: Open Contents → SharedSupport and open the Outlook Profile Manager

Add New Profile Outlook

Step 3: Click the ‘+’ button to add a new profile

Set as Default

Step 4: Click the config button to set the new profile to default

Outlook Launch

Step 5: Launch Outlook, and the app should launch as normal, and allow you to configure and set up accounts

To learn more about Outlook profiles, I recommending visiting Microsoft’s official support page for managing profiles.