I've just switched to OSX 10.9 and one thing that I've noticed isn't working are mail alerts in the mail.app side bar and dock icon.

I've got several email accounts, all of them gmail - some gmail.com and some on their own domain using google apps for business.

The really odd thing is that it seems to work on one account, but not others. I'm still getting all my emails but the red alert in the dock icon and the number in the side bar like the images below aren't showing up, apart for one account.

What's really strange is that I still get the emails showing up as notifications in the top corner of my screen and showing up in the email folders, but I'm just not getting the alerts.

Has any one else experienced this?

mac mail dock icon mac mail side bar

  • You say alert a lot and it isn't clear what you are meaning/expecting. What for you is normal and what is missing from 10.8 to 10.9. Otherwise @Lasse has the right tidbit that gmail and 10.9 aren't playing well at the moment. All updates run?
    – Andrew U.
    Dec 30, 2013 at 13:59
  • @AndrewU. - By alert i mean the red circle and number in the dock icon, as well as the per account number in a grey oval displayed in the sidebar when in the mail app. When you say "all updates run" do you mean have I installed all the latest updates, if so the answer is yes, im now running 10.9.1
    – sam
    Dec 31, 2013 at 0:27

2 Answers 2


Mail.app in 10.9 has had (and still have, for some) massive problems with Gmail-based accounts.

In the first couple of Developer Previews Mail.app was completely unusable for me. When the Golden Master (final release) of 10.9 came out it was better but still horrible compared to earlier versions of OS X. In my case, Mail did actually show the unread badge, it just showed a number was way off!

Try to update OS X to 10.9.1 which makes Gmail-based accounts work better. Also, there was a stand-alone Mail Update for Mavericks which fixed the badge problem for my.

You probably know but it's through the App Store or Apple menu () > Software Update.

  • Thanks, but this didnt correct the issue
    – sam
    Dec 20, 2013 at 12:15

By just switched to OS X 10.9, and by your familiarity with the environment, I assume you mean updated from a former cat (OS X) utilizing something akin to Apple's Migration Assistant app, found in the Utilities folder, or you moved/copied everything to the new user account during the Mavericks installation, selecting something like restore from Time Machine, transfer information from another Mac, or some variant of the Migration Assistant.

With that assumption in place, I've found that the migration process is less than 100% foolproof.

For instance, the Mail app deals with protocols and security issues that change, and rightly so. With that said, the Mail app has had issues with using the right mail servers for the right mail messages, and quite frequently, Mail's outbox historically has had items in it that weren't going anywhere. Anyway, the migration of the mail accounts could be suspect.

For your case, you should assume that the mail accounts weren't migrated properly. A quick way to check this out before completely clearing out your current Mail settings, including accounts, and then re-adding the Mail accounts back in is to create a new user account. When you login to that new user for the first time, don't bother setting up any iCloud tools/apps, including the Mail app. Just cancel out of all setup and start using your new account. Once logged in completely into the new account, start the Mail app, then add in the accounts that are problematic. See if the new account's Mail performs as expected. If all is well with the new OS X account's view of your extern Google mail accounts, then it's time to go back to the problematic account, remove the mail accounts, and then add them back in. You may even want to backup your ~/Library/Preferences to somewhere Mavericks cannot access them (a tar or zip archive file, for instance), and then delete the Mail related .plist files in that folder - the ones specific to you as specified with this command:

ls ~/Library/Preferences/*mail*

When you are working with these .plist files, make sure you exit out of the Mail app first, or else Mail will recreate some or all of those files with the same contents soon after you archive and delete them.

Please update this question with a comment so we know how things go, and if this is the right approach to fix the badge issue.

  • grgarside: man pages and O'Reilly books emphasize code with font changes in the middle of normal text (man uses bold, O'Reilly uses italic). Granted, "osx" isn't code, but Migration Assistant would be code that could be typed (sans .app). Don't get me wrong - I like your edit - but the emphasis convention I attempted to adhere to is legitimate, albeit, not what is conventional here. Point me to the coding standards for programmers as bloggers reference - I'm sure there is something like it? The edit is great, I just want to do it the next time. Jan 3, 2014 at 22:29
  • Thanks re. the upgrade process - I upgraded from 10.8 and i did this by downloading Lion from the 'mac app store'.
    – sam
    Jan 4, 2014 at 18:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .