Several weeks ago, Apple Mail on my MacBook Pro M1 running Ventura suddenly no longer showed any e-mails in my smart folders (such as "Today" or "Unread"). Also, Mail's search was no longer working. The behavior is especially strange because when I click on the "Unread" folder, it comes up empty, but fills with unread e-mails over the next minutes/hour. However, once I select another folder and then return to "Unread", there are again no e-mails and I have to wait again for a long time for it to fill up again.

I read that Mail's search is connected with Spotlight, but the strange thing is that searching with Spotlight is not affected. So what I do at the moment when searching for an e-mail, is I use Spotlight for that search and then open the e-mail from there.

I also read that the problem could be related to Mail's e-mail index. I have removed them several times and the database was rebuilt upon restarting Mail, but to no avail.

So I decided to wait until the release of macOS Sonoma, which I updated to today, hoping that a new mail client or something like that would fix the problem. Again, no change. Mail started by updating its database, but the result is the same.

Does anybody have an idea what else I could do? I know that a fresh install from scratch would probably the last option, but even then the problem might return in case the issue has also become part of my backup. So I would try any other possible solution first.

Here's an animated GIF to maybe make it a bit clearer: enter image description here

  • It seems that the problem is related to the user-account. I have created a new local user and added one of the mail accounts there and smart folders worked immediately. However, adding a new mail account on the old user-account didn't help here. So either some setting or other kind of configuration must be broken in my user-account, but I have no idea what this could be...
    – fredlcore
    Nov 12, 2023 at 3:30
  • Sorry, missed the part where you explained that you already tried rebuilding the index.
    – nohillside
    Nov 18, 2023 at 15:11

1 Answer 1


After upgrading today to MacOS 14.2, the problem was fixed! Now I can click on smart folders and they show all e-mails immediately! I'm so happy that Apple has finally fixed this without me needing to set up the computer completely anew :)...

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