My friend's email was hacked, the password changed, and all emails and folders deleted. They are only Apple users - Mac, iPad, iPhone. After fixing the email password and hack, this empty mailbox was unfortunately synced to an iPhone and Mac - clearing their copies of old emails. However, he still has an iPad that was switched off at the time, so to stop syncing via IMAP we changed the email password to a new one not known to the Apple ecosystem and fired up the iPad. It still has all the old emails!

How can I extract the emails from the iPad to another email box / to e.g. an EML file that can be imported, or at least to save each one as a PDF. I have tried moving them on the iPad to a folder in another email account but it does not work - it tries but then puts it back where it came from. It might work if it was logged in to the email account but that would wipe the emails, so no go. I have tried backing up using iTunes to my pc but the documentation says that emails are not backed up and I cant see any in the backup (but perhaps I am looking for the wrong thing or in the wrong place). I tried using iTunes and a 3rd part product iMazing.

I am a retired IT consultant with 40+ years experience, a reasonable knowledge of Windows PCs and a lockdown acquired ability to write JavaScript, but have limited experience of things Apple, so if you know the answer please include enough information so I can work through what may be needed.

1 Answer 1


The iPad unfortunately doesn't have a direct export for all mails at once.

However, you could go into every folder, select all and drag the mails into the Files-App. They will be saved there as a .eml-file. These files get opened by the Mail-App on the Mac.

Unfortunately, as far as I know, Apple Mail doesn't import those, but only shows the content if one is opened in Finder on the Mac.

I know that this isn't a 100% perfect solution, but it's hopefully "good enough" for your friend to not loose all the Mails.

  • Thanks. Will try this. I Apr 7, 2023 at 21:56
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    Thanks. Will try this. It occurrs to me that if the files are eml and I can get them out of the Files app, it should be possible to read them using another mail client such as Outlook on a pc, and copy them back to the live original email account. I guess it might depend on whether the ipad mail client has downloaded all parts of the emails or just parts, but fingers crossed. Apr 7, 2023 at 22:07
  • Thank you @Hauwertlhaufn - did not know that email could be exported from Mail in iPadOS to EML by tapping and dragging into Files in Split View. Do you know of any such offline method for iPhones (where Split View is not available)?
    – Miles
    Nov 30, 2023 at 18:13
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    Just stumbled onto @Dave's brilliant method here for attaching emails as EML files to new messages: apple.stackexchange.com/a/451917 . In short: start a new message, pull it down to minimize, then tap and drag the desired email onto the minimized message.
    – Miles
    Nov 30, 2023 at 18:41

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