I want to move my Mail.app filtering rules from my old 10.6 machine to a fresh 10.8 install. I've seen people talking about moving these by copying over MessageRules.plist, but I haven't seen anyone address whether these are compatible between 10.6 and 10.8. Thanks!

2 Answers 2


I copied all of the user-created <dict>...</dict> items from my old MessageRules.plist and added them to:


When I launched Mail.app again, they were in my rules, but disabled. One click on each and they ran fine.

Note: Simply replacing the entire set of <dict>...</dict> items in UnsyncedRules.plist will not work. You must add them into the current set of items in order for it to work properly.

  • I also had to make various edits because the folder references needed to be changed to reflect new paths with V2. It helped to make a dummy rules refiling to subfolders in each of my accounts, so that I could see how they should look. Jun 11, 2013 at 18:02

For all those who tried copying the MessageRules.plist file over from 10.6 to 10.8 and got nothing here's what I did to get them working.

Essentially copy all the rules via copy/paste from MessageRules.plist (10.6) to SyncedRules.plist (10.8) - use a text editor to copy and paste everything from the </array> tags in the old file to the new one. Then restart Mail.

Longer version: Copy MessageRules.plist from Users>User>Library>Mail> on your 10.6 machine to anywhere your 10.8 machine. Open up the file in a text editor and copy everything between the <array></array> Tags. Then paste it all in the file SyncedRules.plist on your 10.8 machine in Library>Mail>V2>MailData inbetween the<array> tags. Restart the Mail app and all the rules should show up in preferences section.

Mail will slowly even create the folders/mailboxes to store the messages in folders that don't exist but are pointed too in your rules that you imported.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .