I just setup two accounts in Apple Mail for the first time, and am having absolutely no luck getting Flagged messages to work, in addition the Starred message folders aren't working.

I'm using Mavericks v10.9.2...

First off, it's two Gmail accounts, both have the exact same issue:

  • Account #1 was created years ago, has nearly 50,000 emails in the archive folder, and has around 25 messages that are actively flagged/starred...
  • Account #2 was created this morning, has 6 total emails with 1 flagged/starred.

After setting up Apple Mail for the first time on BOTH of these:

  • Flagged emails DO show in the inbox.
  • The 'Flagged' mailbox is empty.
  • Searching for 'Flagged' messages returns no results.
  • A smart mailbox for flagged emails shows as empty.
  • The 'Starred' folders on both accounts are gone. Sometimes they will appear after a re-lauch of apple mail, but they disappear a few seconds after that.

I have:

  • Tried rebuilding the inbox multiple times, with no effect.
  • Based on another suggestion, I deleted "Envelope Index" files and waited for them to rebuild. Once complete I tried doing a search for flagged messages and waited... With no effect...

In short: I can't view any flagged messages by any means because the Starred folders are gone (but present on both my iPad and my iPhone), and because flagged message simply will not show up as they normally do...

  • Until this morning, my smart mailboxes were humming along. Then they topped updating. Envelope index rebuild resulted in entirely empty smart mailboxes. Grmbl! May 28, 2014 at 18:54
  • Ah, re-creating the smart mailboxes eventually worked. I now have smart mailboxes back. So steps followed: deleted the envelope index files, let Mail.app rebuild them, then re-create the smart mailboxes (added new ones with same criteria, make sure you don't accidentally pick 'all' where you wanted 'any'). May 28, 2014 at 19:02

2 Answers 2


Maybe it's too late for this reply but I found a solution: Just create an empty mailbox in your mac, then drag and drop the emails that should be flagged to that folder. They'll appear again correctly in the Flagged folder.

I came up with this solution because I found out that new mail that I received and then flagged did appear correctly.


You write that you rebuilt the mail index, but I assume your Spotlight index is broken. You should also try to re-index your disk via the Graphical User Interface (Spotlight pref pane) or in Terminal. Good luck!

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