How to restore email from a Time Machine backup?

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Does anyone have experience restoring email from a Time Machine backup? This was easier in earlier versions of MacOS, when Time Machine provided a UI through the Mail program itself. Now it seems to be necessary to go spelunking through the ~/Library/Mail folder. This almost works for me, but I’ve run into an odd problem.

Here’s what I’ve done (running MacOS 13.1):

  1. Go to ~/Library/Mail/V10 in Finder.
  2. Enter Time Machine.
  3. Go to the last backup that contains deleted messages.
  4. Restore the V10 subdirectory corresponding to the account in question.
  5. Exit Time Machine.
  6. Open Mail.
  7. Select File/Import.
  8. Select format: Apple Mail
  9. Select the restored V10 subdirectory.
  10. Select one or more mailboxes from the account to import.

At this point, everything looks good. The selected mailbox(es) are restored to a local folder named Import, and when I browse through them, everything seems to be in order.

The problem appears when I try to move selected messages to another mailbox. (I want to do this because the messages are restored to a local mailbox, but originally came from a mailbox on an IMAP server.) After the move, every message that contained attachments appears to have lost all its content. The message body is blank, and even View ... Raw Source is blank. View ... All Headers shows only (No Subject). Most messages without attachments are unaffected, but a few of these may be lost as well. Oddly enough, the same losage occurs when I just rebuild the imported mailbox. It’s not clear if this is a bug, or if I’m doing something wrong.

I’m sure I’m not the first person who’s wanted to restore email from a backup, but I’m finding very little useful documentation on how to deal with this.

Any suggestions much appreciated!

Author: Dhanraj7978

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