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An attachment has gone missing from a message in my inbox in Apple Mail

Some Apple Mail users have reported that previously visible attachments seem to 'disappear'. This fault is common to all users of Apple Mail (not just at Sussex). Although generally a good email program, it can exhibit this problem when connecting to some email systems (including Microsoft Exchange, the mail system in use by staff and research students at Sussex).

The problem occurs when a message does not completely download from the central system: if Apple Mail doesn't find the end of the attachment, it ignores it. This explains why, when you check back later, the attachment is showing. Although the fault has existed for some years, Apple have not yet fixed the problem, and as it stands, there is no satisfactory resolution.

Some users have been able to work around the problem.  For example:

EITHER: highlight a message which you believe contains attachments, then open the File menu and choose Save Attachments (this will be greyed out if there truly are no attachments). Some users have reported that even though there are no attachments showing in the message, they are able to do this and then view the attachments by going to the location where they're saved.

OR: if you suspect a message should have an attachment, try logging on to webmail at

to check the same message. Outlook Web App (OWA, the webmail version of Outlook) does not have this particular bug, so that will tell you for certain if the attachment is there or not.

OR: It has been suggested that rebuilding the mailbox will circumnavigate the bug that causes this error.  In Apple Mail, choose Rebuild from the Mailbox menu.  The inbox should be restored with attachments visible.


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This is question number 2384, which appears in the following categories:

Created by Andy Clews on 3 October 2011 and last updated by David Guest on 13 September 2016