How to fix error while moving messages in Apple Mail

A common problem with Apple Mail (also often called Mac Mail) is the “error occurred while moving messages to mailbox (null)” error. This problem occurs when folders for the Drafts, Sent, Junk, or Trash mailbox are not assigned. This error most commonly occurs when deleting messages and the Trash mailbox has not been assigned, but happens whenever messages are moved without the folders being assigned. Here’s a screenshot of the error:

Apple Mail error when moving messages

Fixing the Error with Moving Messages in Apple Mail

In order to use these instructions, you will need to have added an email account into the Apple Mail client.

  1. Log into the Apple Mail Client.
  2. choose folder

    Scroll down to your newly added mail account. Click on the drop-arrow to see the Drafts, Sent, Junk, and Trash folders, then click on the Drafts folder to highlight it.

  3. Choose drafts folder

    In the Menu at the top of the screen, click on Mailbox, then scroll down to Use This Mailbox As, then click on the Drafts Mailbox. This will assign the Drafts folder in the client to the corresponding server folder.

  4. Repeat this action for all of your folders (Sent, Junk, and Trash), and make sure to click on the respective folder assignment. As you add these folders, you will see the email account name added for each option.

When the folders have been assigned, the error will no longer appear when sending, moving, and/or deleting messages.

Thoughts on “How to fix error while moving messages in Apple Mail

    • This was a reported solution from Apple forums (https://discussions.apple.com/thread/6604467). The solution was for an earlier version of Apple Mail. If you’re using Mojave, then this article will not apply because, as you have noted, there is no “Use Mailbox as” option in the menus. Can you verify the version of Mail that you’re using? Also, please provide an error message so that we determine a solution. I am currently updated to the Mojave version of Mail (version 12.0 (3445.100.39). We can then investigate the issue in more depth.

  • In ios 10.12.2 the sequence is Mail -> Preferences -> Accounts -> Mailbox behaviours.  Hope this helps. It was quite a journey trying to find the answer to this dilemma. 

  • Running 10.12.1, I have two accounts in Mail.  Both are through private IMAP servers (i.e. not Gmail, Hotmail etc).  Under Accounts –> Mailbox Behaviors, one account has “Drafts Mailbox: Drafts” while the other has “Drafts Mailbox: INBOX/Drafts”.  The same is true for Sent Messages, Trash etc.  This “INBOX/(mbox)” is really annoying as it is screwing up my mailbox.  Importanly, I have NO IMAP PATH PREFIX – Mail is automatically appears to add “INBOX/” to the front even though the IMAP path prefix is completely empty.  No issues like this with El Capitan.

    • Hello Rusty,

      I’m not sure what exactly is wrong based on your description. Can you please indicate the problem and any possible error? Also, this appears to be an Apple Mail issue. Are your referring to the setup of 2 non-InMotion Hosting accounts in Apple Mail? If so, then your support option may be better to handle with Apple or Google directly. Please clarify the issue and we can attempt to troubleshoot the issue.

      If you have any further questions, please let us know.

      Kindest regards,
      Arnel C.

  • I found it in the new mail. You have to go to Mail–>Accounts–>Mailbox Behaviors, and you should see where you can assign mailboxes to drafts, sent, and trash folders. I was on the phone with Apple when I found it on my own. (They didn’t even know)

    • Kevin, it appears that Apple has removed this option in the latest version of Apple Mail. We are looking into this change, and will update this article as soon as possible.

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