In this article I’m going to show you how to delete an email that gets stuck in an Outbox for AppleMail.

If you send files that are too large as attachment you will get an error message that the file couldn’t be sent. The maximum mail size itself depends on your email provider. I’ve got a couple of emails that are 100 MB large.

Instead of sending the attachments directly you can make the attachments smaller or use a file upload service.

But sometimes emails gets stuck in the Outbox. After deleting the email it comes back from the dead like a zombie.

AppleMail with mail in Outbox

Disable the account

First you can try to deactivate the account. The Outbox is local. Your IMAP account is on the server so that nothing can happen with your emails.

First go to the Mail folder in user/Library/Mail and fish out which account is going to be affected. From the mailboxes I can see that my test account Macsend has this folder:

Account in Mail folder

Now go to Mail -> Preferences -> Accounts. Click on “Enable this account” so that the account is disabled.

Mail doesn’t delete the data which you can verify in Finder. It looks just like in the above screenshot. You can try to delete the data in the account folder. Or move it to the trash if you are afraid that your data gets deleted for good. Quit and restart AppleMail. If you are lucky your stuck email is gone.

Delete the account

Additionally, you can delete the account. The minus button in the account window probably won’t be able to delete the account if the account is synched and used on multiple computers.

Go to System Preferences -> Internet Accounts. Select your account and here click on the minus button to delete the account.

System Preferences -> Internet Accounts

The account will only be deleted from the current computer.

Now make sure that the mail data is gone.

Reenable/recreate your account

If you only disabled the account then enable it. If you deleted the account then you have to recreate it. In this case all your email data will need to be downloaded again. Yep, that’s a huge pain.