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OS X Mail: POP Suddenly Quits Working

A bug exists in OS X Mail where receiving email from the server through the POP protocol stops without warning. The problem is often easy to identify and fix. Here are the steps…


OS X occasionally chokes on a malformed email message when trying to retrieve it using POP. The messages will be left on the server (and can be verified using a webmail service) but Mail just will not grab them.

In my experience this is usually an email message that is 0 bytes long.

Removing the malformed email message will allow Mail to start working correctly again.

1. Open OS X Mail
2. ctrl-click (right-click)on your inbox
3. Select Get Account Info

4. A list of messages on the server will be created. Blue dots will show the unread messages on the server. If a malformed email is causing the problem, it is likely it is the first unread message listed before you read messages. As shown in the example below, it will often have a size of 0 as well. Select the message and click Remove From Server.

5. Confirm removing the message on the server.

David Kirk
David Kirk
David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
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