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Mac Mail - Backup & Restore

By Freeola Support on 25th April, 2019 | 2 Comment(s)

Welcome to the Freeola Internet customer support pages. This guide is designed to help with ensuring that you fully back up your mail client, Mac Mail, should you need to upgrade your mail service or switch machines.

These instructions were created using macOS Mojave 10.14, although this process changes very little between versions.

Backing Up Mac Mail

Saving your messages

  1. Open up Mac Mail.

  2. Select the Mailbox you wish to backup from the top or left menu.

  3. From the top menu choose Mailbox then Export Mailbox.
    Mac Mail Export Mailbox

  4. You will now be prompted to specify where you would like to backup your mailbox to, we would suggest that you select a safe directory such as your Documents folder. Once you have chosen press the Choose button.

Your messages will now be backed up, you can repeat this for each mailbox as you require.

Saving your Contacts

  1. Open up the Address Book application.

  2. Click File from the top toolbar and select Export then Contacts Archive.
    Export Contact List Mac Mail

  3. Now choose a location to save your Contacts, we suggest that you select a safe location such as your Documents folder, then click Save.

Once complete your Contacts will have been saved as an archive file (.abbu).

Restoring backups to Mac Mail

Restoring your messages

  1. Open up Mac Mail.

  2. From the top menu, under the File option select Import Mailboxes.
    Mac Mail Import Mailbox

  3. From the list of options from where to import data from, select mbox files or Apple Mail.

  4. You will now be prompted to specify where your backed up mbox files are located. If you have backed up your mail using the guide above then your mbox files will be in the same location that you saved them.

  5. The messages should now be in a new mailbox called Import in the sidebar. You can drag folders and messages from the Import mailbox to new or existing mailboxes, then delete the Import mailbox.

Restoring your Contacts List

  1. Open up the Contacts application.

  2. Click File from the top toolbar, then Import.

  3. Next select the archive file (.abbu) then click Open.

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Article Comments (2)

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Simi (Anima Sana) commented on 30th September, 2012

I have tried to set up my Mac Mail according to your Wizard, but it does not work. I get a message:
"Could not connect to this POP server. Check your network connection and that you entered the correct information in the Account preferences. Also verify that the server supports SSL. If it does not, deselect the "Use SSL" checkbox in the Advanced tab of Account preferences."

I also did not see POP3 anywhere, just POP.

I hope you can help.

Simonida Kozelj

Butch [staff] commented on 4th October, 2012

Hi Simi,

The above guide is specifically for backing up mail programs, not for their initial set-up. If you are looking for help in setting up Mac Mail, please visit

For the purposes of e-mail set-up in that program, POP and POP3 are the same thing. The error message you have presented suggests you have either mistyped the server address or, should you have decided to 'copy-and-paste' the information from MyFreeola, added additional characters to the POP server field.

If you are still having issues setting up your account in your mail client, I would advise contacting Freeola Support on 01376 55 60 60 or via our online system found at

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