I use iPhone’s Mail app to get my emails. I got a new iPhone and found emails are not copied from the old iPhone. It seems the logic is to download emails from the email servers again. However, one of the email service has shut down and no service anymore. How can I retrieve/export emails from this email account? I have catched emails in my old iPhone.


If at least one of the Mail Accounts available on both phones you can

  • create a mail folder in this account
  • copy all mails from the shutdown account into this folder (on the old phone)
  • wait a while to have the phone sync the mail folder back to the Server
  • access the Mail folder from your new phone
  • How to copy the emails from the account whose server is not available? I see there is a “Move” action available in iPhone’s Mail app, but I cannot find the “copy” action. It seems some people are using the “Move” action, but it should not work as its mechanism is to ask the original email server, which is not available, to move the emails. Feb 1 at 0:33
  • @MarcusThornton - Yes, use the "Move" action. See this video How to Transfer & Restore iPhone Emails or Move iPhone emails to another email account in iOS. It doesn't include the step of creating a new folder first, so do that before moving the emails.
    – sfxedit
    Feb 1 at 0:56
  • It somehow doesn’t work. Would it because the Move action actually requests the original server to send to the destination mail server? Feb 10 at 4:29
  • @marcusthomton I don‘t know how Mail implements it but your assumption might be correct. How many mails do you need to save from the old account?
    – nohillside
    Feb 10 at 5:12
  • 1
    @MarcusThornton - No, the transfer / upload is done by the app, and not between email servers. I have done it more than once, but on my computer. But it only happens if the emails are fully downloaded. Try it this way - switch on Airplane mode so there is no internet on the device. Than move a few emails to the folder created in the active email account. Then switch off Airplane mode and connect to the internet using data or wifi. Check for new mail. Tap and open the folder where emails were moved. It should have uploaded the emails or will begin doing it. Does this work? If not, what happens?
    – sfxedit
    Feb 15 at 19:12

Turns out I was completely wrong in assuming that you could Backup non-iCloud emails either on to iCloud or to a computer.

Even though Apple docs say:

Some information is not included in an iCloud backup but can be added to iCloud and shared across multiple device, such as Mail, Health data, call history and files you store in iCloud Drive.

Emails from your device cannot be copied to iCloud Drive even if you enable the Mail app to use iCloud Drive.

  • When you enable 'Mail' in iCloud Settings, it only enables your iCloud email account to use it with the Mail app.

  • When you enable 'Mail' in iCloud Drive Settings, it only backups and saves all your email accounts settings and 'Mail' app preferences.

Both options do not save a copy of all the emails in your device to iCloud. (You can however save email attachments manually to iCloud drive).

Another option is to create Backups to a computer. But even choosing to opt to backup "all data" on your device to your computer, using iTunes -

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does not copy your emails to the backup - only the email account settings and Mail app preferences are saved in the backup.

So the only way to copy and transfer non-iCloud emails that you no longer have access to, is to transfer the emails to another active IMAP enabled email account on Mail, as described in this answer, and then download it again on to the new device.

  • The instructions in the link from the Apple website says: iCloud backup doesn’t include mails. Feb 1 at 1:37
  • How to add Mail backup to iCloud? Feb 10 at 5:16
  • @MarcusThornton I was quite mistaken that you could backup the emails to iCloud. Please check my updated answer. The error is regretted.
    – sfxedit
    Feb 14 at 6:43

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