IMAP in Mac Mail (aka Apple Mail or Mail.app) is flaky. But this tip saved me in trying to rebuild my setting after mail crashed and forgot (deleted) all my outgoing servers. Then older messages disappeared from folders because it was mapping to “inbox” twice – or something crazy.
The point of IMAP is to make more mail available on more devices. This was a bigger issue for me as I started to rely on my iPhone for mail. Having access to older emails can be very handy, even with iPhone Mail’s limitations.
A next step is to replicate other MobileMe “push” features for calendar and contacts.
So I started doing some more research online, and quickly discovered that I wasn’t the first person to run into this problem. The general consensus was that Mail’s support for IMAP is a little flaky, but several people offered their solutions and workarounds. One of the necessary steps is to tell Mail that the IMAP path prefix is “INBOX”; the other necessary step is to set up a mapping between the remote “Drafts”, “Sent” and “Trash” folders to the same folders in Mail.
The part that I got wrong was the order of these two steps, and to make a long story short, it apparently matters. If you define the IMAP path prefix first, it doesn’t seem to work properly. In my case, the “Drafts” folder would just disappear altogether with no way to get back to it. So wait to do that after you’ve set up the mappings. It took me most of the day to get this working, but it does seem to be OK now.
(now, a few weeks later, it’s still working although mail asks me on startup each time if i want to add the ‘inbox’ prefix)