Fix: Apple Mail Stuck on Moving Messages on Mac

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Apple Mail may sometimes get stuck on moving your messages. It seems that the app gets out of sync and is unable to complete the action. What’s even more annoying is that closing the Mail app or rebooting your Mac does not seem to solve the problem. If you’re experiencing the same issue and you’re looking for a fix, follow the troubleshooting solutions below.

What Causes Apple Mail to Get Stuck on Moving Messages?

This issue is often caused by a problematic email jamming up your system and blocking the Mail app from completing the email indexing process. More specifically, the app fails to communicate certain emails back to iCloud. This often happens when you’re moving a large number of emails in one go.

What happens is that your Mac copies the folder locally, but it fails to communicate the update to iCloud. Additionally, iCloud doesn’t send back any confirmation to your Mail App. And so, the Mail App ends up waiting forever and ever for iCloud’s confirmation to complete the email moving process. Of course, the confirmation never comes back because iCloud hasn’t received the email update information in the first place.

How to Fix Apple Mail Not Moving Messages

Delete the Target Folder From iCloud

A number of users solved this issue by deleting the target folder from iCloud on the Web, instead of doing that in Mail. By doing so, iCloud informs the Mail app about the folder removal. As a result, Apple Mail concludes it won’t be able to move the email and instead, displays another error message. The new error replaces the Moving Messages process and unlocks the whole situation.

After this step, you can remove all the Mail messages that don’t appear in iCloud. Try to move a smaller batch of emails and check if that works. Don’t forget to back up your data and mailboxes before moving additional emails in case anything goes wrong.

⇒ Note: Some users fixed this issue by renaming the target folder from iCloud’s web interface. Use both methods (renaming and deleting the folder) and check which one works for you.

Delete Envelope Index Files From Mail Data

Rebuilding Apple Mail’s database could be the solution you’ve been looking for.

  1. Exit the Mail app completely and launch Finder.
  2. Click on the Go menu and hold the Option key to make the ~Library option visible on the screen.
  3. Then open the Mail folder and select the V8 version (or older if you’re running an older OS version).
  4. Next, open the Mail Data folder, and delete all the filters that begin with the Envelope Index.Apple MailData Folder
  5. Clear the Mail app from the library as well. Go to ~/Library/Saved Application State/ and remove
  6. Launch the Mail app again. Wait until the app finishes importing your messages.

Boot Into Safe Mode

Booting into Safe Mode is another solution that may solve this Mail App issue.

Steps to Boot Into Safe Mode on Intel CPU Macs

  1. Restart your Mac.
  2. Hold the Shift key right after you restart the device. You need to press it when your Mac is still booting up.
  3. Wait until the login window pops on the screen. Release the Shift key.
  4. Enter your credentials to log in. The Safe Boot notification should be visible in the upper-right corner.

Steps to Boot Into Safe Mode on Apple silicon Macs

  1. Restart your computer.
  2. Hold down the power button for 10 seconds. Do this while your Mac is restarting.
  3. Release the Power button when you see Startup options on the screen.
  4. Next, select your startup disk, press Shift, and select Continue in Safe Mode.
  5. Log in and check if the Mail issue is gone in Safe Mode.

Reset the NVRAM

  1. Shut down your computer.
  2. Start your Mac and then hold down the Option, Command, P, and R keys. Do this while your device is booting up.
  3. Release the keys after your Mac plays the second startup sound.
  4. If you have an Apple T2 Security Chip Mac, release the keys after the Apple logo appears and disappears for the second time.


To prevent Apple Mail from getting stuck on moving messages again, move a limited number of emails at once. For example, select 10 emails, move them and then select another batch of 10 more emails, and so on. Avoid moving more than 25 emails in one go.

If Apple Mail gets stuck on moving messages, deleting the target folder from iCloud and rebuilding the Mail’s database should solve the problem. Did you manage to fix this issue? Got any additional tips and tricks to share with us? Hit the comments below.

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