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My goal is:

  • Take all of my email messages in Mac Mail, and compress them into one file.
  • Upload that file into Dropbox.

Even if I do not use Macs in the future, I should be able to see all my messages as plain text files. This is the most important key. I want plain text files of all my messages, not some proprietary Mac format.

I have already created a Backup Mailbox on my mac and copied all my mail over to this new "backup" mailbox....but how can I actually copy all my email messages into Dropbox?

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The mail is stored in plain text already. As far as I know, it uses the mbox format, and each individual mail is stored in its own plain text file. – user3463 Oct 11 '12 at 4:42

When you got your mail app open, you can select all your messages and drag them into a folder. You can then compress the folder and upload that to dropbox.

The downside of the compression is that you will need to download the file before you can see it's contents. If you drag the folder into your dropbox folder, you should be able to view them online.

Better yet if you import the files into evernote ( you will be able to search through them. Evernote is also cloud based so no matter what machine you use you will always have access to those messages.

Otherwise you can also create a Gmail account and upload them into that account via IMAP which again offers you a great search tool.

Many options available to you there. Good Luck!

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+1 for showing many possible ways to solve the problem – PiotrK Oct 11 '12 at 5:04

Apple Mail does not use a proprietary format. All the mails are stored as is (text). Just browse to


to see the messages. Attachments are also stored as normal files.

You can just copy them

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Nowadays, some(/all?) attachments can be found here: /Users/YOURACCOUNT/Library/Containers/ Downloads. Mails are still in the above mentioned folder (with V3 instead of V2). – einjohn Oct 21 '15 at 19:54

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