How can I delete Mail.app and associated data (like cached emails and mailboxes) from my laptop?

Then, how can I reinstall a fresh version of Mail.app?

  • 2
    Why would you need to remove the application? Commented Jan 18, 2022 at 0:10
  • @MarcWilson because searching and finding flagged emails don't work
    – minseong
    Commented Jan 18, 2022 at 1:00
  • Have you rebuilt the mailboxes? What macOS does your machine have? Commented Jan 18, 2022 at 1:35
  • This is an XY Problem - the X has already been posted - apple.stackexchange.com/questions/435234/…
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jan 18, 2022 at 7:18
  • Since the data (preferences, mails, and related metadata) won't change if you delete the app, there really is no point in deleting Mail.app. It will not fix your problem and on macOS 11+ is likely to cause even bigger problems. A quick way to check whether clearing your data fixes the issue: create a new user account on your Mac and then set up your mail account there. If it works, you can try to reset the mail related data on your main account. If it doesn't fix it, then there might be a bug in Mail.app (reinstalling wouldn't fix it; only an update would).
    – DarkDust
    Commented Jan 18, 2022 at 8:15

2 Answers 2


To remove, and then redownload, a macOS default app is impossible.

Removing default apps, such as Podcasts.app, Mail.app, etc, can be made possible by 3rd-party or open-source applications such as this, but doing so can void the warranty of your copy of macOS (stopping you from getting more updates, etc). It is also possible to accidentally delete vital system files this way, and I personally do not recommend it.

Once you have deleted a preloaded application in this way, you cannot reinstall the official Apple version (which will get updates, etc) because it's not meant to be uninstalled, much less reinstalled. There is no public download.

There is a workaround:

This is a little more drastic, however, but you can uninstall and reinstall a fresh copy of macOS. Move files to an external device, reset the laptop, and reinstall macOS, then move your files back. This is a bit of a nuisance and can be finicky, however, so if there is any way to avoid this method, then it is advisable to do so. (For example, if the problem is irrelevant enough or ignorable, then ignore it.)

For instructions on how to reinstall a fresh copy of macOS: Apple's instructions

  • Thanks to SIP, Mail.app cannot be removed from /Applications in recent versions of MacOS.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Jan 18, 2022 at 1:56
  • On macOS 11 Big Sur and up, the default apps live in the Sealed System Volume (I think it actually started in 10.15, but not sure). Trying to remove these apps is now much harder and you can break your system (meaning: it won't boot anymore). The instructions of the linked GitHub repo thus don't even work with Big Sur.
    – DarkDust
    Commented Jan 18, 2022 at 13:00

Try rebuilding your Mailbox. It will take some time, depending on the size of the mailbox. The following link from Apple should help you.


  • If rebuilding the Mailbox doesn’t resolve the issue, delete the e-mail account and reinstall that (the account). If it is IMAP or Exchange, all messages will be re-downloaded from the server.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Jan 18, 2022 at 2:00
  • I have already tried both
    – minseong
    Commented Jan 18, 2022 at 2:00

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