Mail has undone actions on some messages – Apple’s Mail Program

December 30, 2007

Errors, Mac Stuff, Tips and Tricks

In Leopard, when you go offline while using Apple’s Mail program with an IMAP account, you may get the following error message, or something similar:

“Some actions taken while the account “xxxxxxx” was offline could not be completed online.

Mail has undone actions on some messages so that you can redo the actions while online. Mail has saved other messages in mailbox “Apple Mail To Do” in “On My Mac” so that you can complete the actions while online.

Additional information: The IMAP command “APPEND” (to Apple Mail To Do) failed with server error: Invalid mailbox name..”

And if you click OK enough times, the program crashes.

There are two ways to correct this problem (both ways will preserve your mail settings (you will NOT have to reconfigure your Mail program) and your mail will appear in a few seconds after first opening the Mail program after performing the fix below):


1st Way (easier way)

1. Make sure your Mail program is closed
2. Open Macintosh HD (double-click on it)
3. Select your Home folder (it will be on left nav bar with the picture of a house)
4. On the right side of the window, double-click on the “Library” folder (to open the folder)
5. Double-click on the “Mail” folder
6. Remove (move to the trash) the “IMAP-youremailaddress@here.com” folder
7. Close everything and open Mail to confirm it has been fixed

2nd Way

Delete all entries in~/Library/Mail/IMAP-email_address@mailserver/.OfflineCache . The folder is actually only accessible in shell since its a hidden directory, so you will need to access it via Terminal. This is for advanced users only, so I won’t bother writing a step-by-step instruction, as those users will know how to do it.

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22 Responses to “Mail has undone actions on some messages – Apple’s Mail Program”

  1. Mark Malson Says:

    Thanks loads! I was pulling my hair out over this and your 2nd way was the only thing that worked for me. I almost switched back to Entourage over this…

  2. brendan Says:

    Thanks a lot, exactly what I needed!

  3. Ian Brown Says:

    Great. Glad to help.

  4. ray Says:

    Thank you!

  5. Jack Says:

    I deleted the folder but still had the issue. It turned out there were a few mails in my Draft folder that had attachments over a GB. (I copied the file names from the Finder and thought I was only pasting the names. When in fact, I was attaching the whole QT. I corrected it in the email immediately but the damage had been done in my Drafts folder.) So before I quit Mail, I had to go offline and delete all the offending drafts. After that, I followed the directions above and I’m back on track.

    Thanks for the info.

  6. Peter Aitkens Says:

    Please award yourself at least four attaboys! It is just so good when you find someone who a: Understands the problem and b: Provides a solution that even I can understand. Thank you.

  7. Matt Says:

    Just a note. You can access hidden directories by using “Go To Folder” under the Finders go menu. In this case, you’d navigate to ~/Library/Mail/IMAP-email_address@mailserver/ then choose go to folder & type the rest, “.OfflineCache”.

  8. Mark Says:

    Thank you so much. I’d been struggling with this problem for over a month, and could find no mention of the problem on Apple’s site.

    BTW you should know that googling: “mail has undone actions on some messages so that you can redo the actions while online” leads directly to you.

  9. Barbara Says:

    Thank you so much. I can’t believe I actually managed to fix the problem! You instructions were superbly clear. Thank you for writing in normal words instead of geek!

  10. Simon Says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH.
    It worked for me:-)

  11. David McMillen Says:

    I’ll add my thanks to the chorus: Thanks! This was great, I got this bizarre error suddenly today, and Google led me right to you. It’s much appreciated.

  12. Aaron Says:

    Thanks for publishing this. It helped a lot.

  13. richo Says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you !!!!
    I spend 2 days searching the net and there was no help except from you !!!
    You made my day 🙂

  14. Bill Carozza Says:

    Great fix!! Thank you Ian-you have down a great service.

  15. Thomas Says:

    THANKS, THANKS, THANKS!!! I had the same error but not with gmail… wit my own server, I tried everything! but finally this helped. I don’t believe that the people of apple haven’t fixed this, and now that we are in Mac OS X 10.5.4!

  16. kevin Says:

    thanks been stuck on that for ages, you legend you, very easy even for me!

  17. Kishi Says:

    What a great EASY fix….
    Thanks to Matt as well for the idea of using the finder instead of terminal.

    Saved me hours possibly days more of frustration with mail!

    Thanks again

  18. Chad Perkins Says:

    Holy cow. I love you. Your fix worked for me as well. Thank you so much for donating your time to free help for us all!! *headache goes away*

  19. Jeanne Muir Says:

    I have a compounding problem. I have three IMAP accounts, one from an old domain pointing to another newer domain. However, I have FOUR of the IMAP folders in the library>mail> IMAP … folders.
    Two are clearly the suspects. They are:
    1. old-domain-email@old domain @ mail.newdomain
    2. newdomain-email@newdomain@mail.olddomain

    I am not certain which to delete, and wonder if I can delete both of them with no ill effects? Can you tell me exactly what the file folder name should look like?

    Compounding this is that my timemachine is not operating properly (thank you, time capsule) so I feel especially vulnerable if all my mail were to be affected.

  20. Ian Brown Says:

    Hello Jean,

    Sorry to hear you’re having such problems. Just delete both of them. The IMAP folders that it needs will be rebuilt automatically when you start Mail again.

    The great thing about having it set up via IMAP is that you will not lose any email. All of your email is still on your mail servers. You are just viewing it via the Mail program.

    Also, with regard to your Time Capsule issue, I’m not sure what issues you’re having, but sometimes when you reboot the Time Capsule, you have to connect to it again, as it gets disconnected.

    To do this, simply open a finder window (click on Finder in the bottom left of your screen), select your Time Capsule (which should be listed on the left side of the finder window), click the CONNECT AS button in the upper right corner of the finder window, and then enter your Time Capsule’s password to connect to it again.

    After that, you can just go up to the Time Machine menu in the top right section of your screen, to the left of the clock, and select “Backup Now.”

    If that does not work, go up to that menu again, go to the Time Machine preferences, click “Change Disk,” and then select your Time Capsule again. Then close that, go up to the Time Machine menu again, and select “Backup Now.”

    Hope that helps!

  21. Jeanne Muir Says:

    Thank you. I ended up going in to the genius bar today since I could not work, and so they solved it before I tried your method. Your explanation, however, is so clear and concise.

    As for the timecapsule, when I do reconnect on it and click to see contents, it shows sparsebundles for each of the four machines that should be backing up, including mine and my server, but they don’t open for me. I cannot see them in the desktop/time machine format. AND, my sparsebundle has 105 GB of apparent backups in it. Will I lose those by just doing the “change disk” maneuver, and configuring again?

    I also cannot see my SERVER timecapsule backups from any of the machines including the server keyboard. What simple thing am I completely missing here?

    So, just to say it another way, two of my laptops are time machining for their local files, but have no access to the server time machine backups. the third laptop has lost its configuration, can however see the sparsebundles for all four but cannot connect to its backup nor the server’s.

    And, again, thank you!

  22. Ian Brown Says:

    Hi. Sorry for the delay. First, you can not just open the sparsebundles manually. You can only view each backup from its respective computer by clicking on Time Machine in the Dock or in the Applications folder of that computer.

    Secondly, when you connected to the Time Capsule again, did you try just backing up right after you reconnected instead of changing the disk?

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