I've had some odd behavior on my OS X mail client. Heres' my inbox:

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Yet here is how many unread messages I have:

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These values used to be synchronized. Note that the first value will not change even if I mark all other messages as read (subfolders included).

OS X 10.7.4
Mail = Version 5.2 (1278)

  • What type of mail account is this? IMAP, POP, Exchange?
    – hiiambo
    Aug 20 '12 at 15:51
  • Oh yes, it's Exchange - thanks for the clarification q.
    – mbb
    Aug 20 '12 at 17:37
  • Is the value of unread mail proper in OWA?
    – hiiambo
    Aug 20 '12 at 17:57
  • This looks similar to an issue I had a while back: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/21122/…
    – Alex
    Aug 21 '12 at 0:35

Try these two solutions:

  1. From the Finder, ⌥-click the Go menu and select Library whilst still holding ⌥.
  2. Move the folder ~/Library/Mail/ to the desktop or another convenient location.
  3. Launch Mail.app.
  4. From the File Menu choose Import Mailboxes…
  5. Choose Import Data from Apple Mail.
  6. Navigate to ~/Desktop or wherever you moved ~/Library/Mail/ to.
  7. Click on Choose.
  8. Wait until it imports.


  1. In a Finder window, navigate to ~/Library/Mail/V2/MailData, and delete any file that begins with Envelope Index, such as "Envelope Index" or "Envelope Index-shm" or "Envelope Index – awl". In my case, I had all 3 of these Envelope indexes, and moved them to the trash.

    Note: When accessing Library, keep in mind that your home Library is hidden in Lion. To access it, from the Finder, ⌥-click the Go menu and select Library whilst still holding ⌥.

  2. Restart Mail. It will then rebuild a new list of messages, which can take some time, so be patient.

    Another note for Exchange users: After removing the Envelope Indexes, my Exchange account email content was blank. To revive it, I had to delete my Exchange email account and add it again fresh. After adding it from scratch (and the download took a while since I have about 12K messages), the mystery Unread Message notifications were gone.

  • 2
    Damn. Pulled the trigger on the second option without reading all of your response. I have 60k messages coming my way... Update to come.
    – mbb
    Aug 20 '12 at 19:03

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