How to import and export mailboxes in Mail on Mac

If you just started using the Mail app on your Mac, you may want to import a mailbox file from another app. This can give you a great jumpstart on tracking and answering emails during the transition.

At the same time, you might want to export a mailbox from the Mail app for use elsewhere. Maybe you’re trying out a new email app and want to use your existing messages intact. Either way, the Mail app on your Mac makes it easy to both import and export mailboxes, and this tutorial shows you how.

Import or export mailbox in the Mail app on Mac

Import a mailbox to Mail

You can import a mailbox from Apple Mail or as a file that may or may not be named with the MBOX format. Here’s how:

1) Open Mail and click File > Import Mailboxes from the menu bar.

Import Mailboxes Mail Mac

2) Mark either Apple Mail or Files in mbox format and click Continue.

Mailbox Import Options Mac

3) You’ll then be prompted to locate the file and then click Choose.

No matter which option you select for the import, you’ll see a confirmation once the data is loaded. Then you’ll have a new mailbox labeled Import in the On My Mac section of the left-hand sidebar.

Imported Mailbox Mail Mac

Export a mailbox from Mail

Remember, you’ll be exporting an entire mailbox in MBOX format. If you’d rather export a particular email as a PDF from the Mail app, that’s a different process, and our other how-to can help you with that.

Here’s how to export the mailbox from the macOS Mail app:

1) Open the Mail app and right-click or hold Control and click the Mailbox you want to export.

2) In the shortcut menu, select Export Mailbox.

Mailbox Export Mac

3) Select a destination location for the MBOX file for your mailbox and click Choose.

Mailbox Export Location Mac

You should then see that MBOX file in your chosen location. From there, you can import it to another supported app.

There’s nothing easier when moving data like emails and mailboxes to and from the Mail app than the import/export feature. Is this something that you see yourself using?

Useful Mail tips: