I have a Gmail account (gmail 1), and if I'm moving email from Inbox to an IMAP folder, the email disappears from Inbox and after changing the folder and going back to Inbox the moved mail is back in my Inbox.

I just created a new Gmail account (gmail 2) and tried it with this account. The behaviour is like expected: moved emails don't re-appear in their old folder.

Now, I don't know how to fix this. I've checked the account settings from both accounts, the new one and the old one and I can't find a settings difference to fix this problem.

I made a short 30sec movie about the problem.

  • maybe it is a setting you made on your gmail account on server side compare your gmail account settings on the gmail website.
    – konqui
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 17:04
  • as a next step try to remove and readd the gmail1 account.
    – konqui
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 17:05

6 Answers 6


The following solved the issue for me:

Gmail Settings:

  • Inbox → Categories:
    Select only Primary
  • Inbox → Importance markers:
    No marker
  • Inbox → Filtered mail:
    Override filters
  • Forwarding and POP/IMAP → IMAP Access:
    When I mark a message in IMAP as deleted: Auto-Expunge off
  • When a message is marked as deleted and expunged from the last visible IMAP folder: Move the message to the Trash
  • Thanks! The last two settings were key for me (auto-expunge off and move to trash) Commented May 28, 2018 at 14:42

FYI, if anyone is still experiencing this issue it is due to Smart Folders.

If you drag an email from a Smart folder into another folder, the Gmail "Inbox" label is not removed and the new label for that folder is assigned. Oddly however, if you drag the same email from a normal folder into a folder it works. I suspect this is down to a bug in the Mac Mail logic where it assumes that because the mail is in a folder, the removal of the Inbox label is not required, but a smart folder is not a folder, it's only a view of a folder. Massive fail, and this issue has been like this for 1+ years.

  • 1
    Wow, you are right. If I move a message from a smart folder to a label it stays in Inbox, but if I do the same move on the same message from the Inbox folder, it gets archived properly. What a strange bug. Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 15:38

Got the same problem and getting insane. The only thing that helped so far was to log in to Gmail and there either click on "Archive" or simply remove the label "Inbox" from an email. Both actions remove the mail from the Inbox and thus also from the Inbox in Mail.app. The mail is then only kept in other folders (or better: labels as Gmail uses it) or "Archive" if no additional folder / label was added. However, there seems to be no way to remove the "Inbox" label from mails through Mail.app.


Thanks for the hint about "smart" folders

I found that if in Gmail I uncheck "all mails" in IMAP, then the problem also disappears, I can move messages as I please.

However this is only in Apple Mail, Outlook demands all mail to be visible in IMAP in order to work. I use Outlook for archiving in the right folders since Apple Mail does not have any shortcut key.


It may help to attempt to rebuild the mailbox that you're having problems with. You can rebuild a mailbox by selecting that mailbox from the list on the left-hand side. Then, go up to the "Mailboxes" menu -> Rebuild. You can observe the status of the rebuild by going underneath the "Window" menu -> "Activity". Here is some additional information on rebuilding mailboxes

  • 1
    Thanks for the hint, but this doesn't help to fix the problem. I installed mac os in a virtual machine (parallels) and added the email account. The same problem appears also on this newly installed system.
    – emjay
    Commented Oct 19, 2013 at 15:03

it's not really a problem what you describe its a design decision Apple made.

they made the Inbox (inc. Subfoldes) acting like smartfolders so they always shows all unread messages rhat are in all your imap (gmail) folders.

as you mark them as read they wont be shown anymore.

also take note of the fact, that in the buttom right corner of the mail there are little gray boxes which indicate you where (in which folders) the mail acctually is.

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