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How can I archive old email to my Mac using Mail?

If you use Mail on a Mac and you want to transfer email out of your Sussex email account, for example because you want to free up some space in your mail quota:

1. From the Mailbox menu in Mail, choose New Mailbox, set the location to On My Mac and give the mailbox a suitable name such as local-archive. Click OK.

Window showing the location set to On My Mac when creating a new mailbox called local-archive

2. You will now see a new folder in the mailbox listing for local-archive which is located on your Mac.

Window showing the new local-archive mailbox in the On My Mac folders

You can now simply drag emails over from any of your Sussex mail folders into the archive folder on your Mac. Mail will automatically delete the copy on the Sussex mail system so you are left with just the local copy on your Mac.

Copying your local archive to other devices

When you follow this procedure, Mail saves the messages into a file on your Mac. In the example shown above, the mailbox will be located in this folder of the home directory:


If you want to transport this archive to another computer, you can simply navigate to this location, copy the file (in this case, local-archive.mbox) and paste it into the same directory on another Mac. 

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This is question number 2507, which appears in the following categories:

Created by David Guest on 30 August 2012 and last updated by David Guest on 13 September 2016