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How to reset the Apple Mail app to factory settings on iPhone, iPad, and Mac

You might want to reset the Apple Mail app on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad when it doesn’t update or receive new emails, or when standard troubleshooting solutions don’t fix the issue. Resetting the Mail app from scratch is almost equivalent to uninstalling and reinstalling it. If you wish to have a fresh start with the Mail app, here’s how to erase everything in it. After that, you can set it up again.

Apple Mail app icon inside a red curved arrow showing it is reset

How to reset the Mail app on iPhone and iPad

We’ll start by first showing you how to turn off all the added email accounts. And after that, how to delete the app and redownload it. Doing these two things should reset the iOS or iPadOS Mail app.

1) Open Settings and tap Mail.

2) Tap Accounts and choose the first account. Most likely, it’ll be iCloud. Tap iCloud once more and turn off iCloud Mail.

Turn off iCloud Mail in iPhone Settings to reset it

3) Now go back and tap your other added email account and turn off the switch for Mail.

4) Repeat this process until you have turned off all email accounts from the Apple Mail app. Now, when you open the Mail app, it’ll show the welcome screen, which means no account is active here.

Turn off Gmail Mail in iPhone Mail Settings to reset it

5) Go to the Home Screen, long-press the Mail app, and tap Remove App > Delete App > Delete.

Delete inbuilt Mail app on iPhone

6) Restart your iPhone or iPad.

7) Open App Store and search for Mail. You can also use this link to redownload the Apple Mail app.

8) You have successfully reset the inbuilt iOS and iPadOS Mail app. Now, you can go ahead and re-enable or add the email accounts. You can do this from Settings > Mail > Accounts > one by one, tap the added account, and enable iCloud Mail or Mail. Once that’s done, open the Mail app, and it should work perfectly.

How to reset the Mail app on Mac

Unlike iOS and iPadOS, you can’t completely uninstall the inbuilt Apple Mail app on Mac. Therefore if the Mail app isn’t opening on Mac or you aren’t receiving emails here, follow these steps to reset it as new.

Important: The emails will still be available on the mail server (like iCloud, Gmail, IMAP accounts, etc.). But if you have some custom emails that aren’t on the server, please note that they will be gone once you follow these steps.

1) Click the Apple icon and choose System Preferences.

2) Click Internet Accounts.

3) Select iCloud, Gmail, or the added IMPA accounts from the left sidebar, and uncheck the box for iCloud Mail or Mail.

Turn off all Mail in Mac System Preferences

4) In Finder, press Command + Shift + G. Alternatively, from the top menu bar, you can click Go > Go to Folder.

5) Copy this folder address and paste it there: ~/Library/Containers

In Finder click Go then Go to Folder and type Library Containers

6) In the search box, type Mail and click “Containers” to see all folders related to mail here. Now, select all and move them to trash.

Type Mail in Finder Search box select Containers and delete all Mail related folders and files

7) Now, do the same for the folders mentioned below. Go to these locations, search for Mail, choose the “folder name” (not This Mac) and delete things related to the Mail app if you see.

  • ~/Library/Mail
  • ~/Library/Preferences
  • ~/Library/Application Scripts

Note: Since you’re focused only on the Apple Mail app, if you see some mail file or folder inside another folder named Chrome or having words like mail.google.com, do not touch that. That’s just the mail folders for the account you have logged in to the Google Chrome browser. For ease, click View > Show Path Bar to see the folder hierarchy at the bottom of the Finder window.

8) Restart your Mac

9) You have successfully removed the accounts and the files related to the Mail app. After restart, macOS will automatically create the required files. You can now open the Mail app and sign in to the desired email accounts. Or, go to System Preferences > Internet Accounts > one by one, select the added accounts, and enable Mail.

This is how you can reset the Mail app to factory settings on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. I hope the above steps have helped you.

Finally, I’m sure you know, but to remind, if you erase your iPhone or Mac completely, that means you get an entirely new machine as far as software is concerned. If you would like to go with this option, here are the guides to help:

  • How to erase everything on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad
  • How to do a clean install of macOS
  • Steps to reinstall macOS on a Mac without losing any data

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