7 Best Ways to Fix Apple Mail Search Not Working on Mac

The Apple Mail app is one of many native apps that come with macOS. The Mail app also lets you add a signature to your emails. With several features similar to other email clients, you also have a dedicated search bar to search for specific emails.

But Mac users cannot use Apple Mail Search feature because it stops working properly. If you are facing the same problem, here is a list of solutions to fix Apple Mail Search not working on Mac.

1. Force quit and restart Apple Mail

The first solution we suggest is to force quit and restart the Apple Mail app. Whenever an app on your Mac starts malfunctioning, you should try this method to fix the problem. Follow these steps.

Step 1: Click on the Apple logo in the upper left corner.

2nd step: Select Force Quit from the list of options.

Step 3: In the Force Quit window, select Mail and click Force Quit.

Step 4: Open the Mail app again to check if the search bar is working or not.

2. Reactivate your email account

The next solution we recommend is to deactivate and reactivate your email account in the Mail app. All your email conversations will load again in the Mail app and you can check if the search bar is working or not. Follow these steps.

Step 1: Keep the Mail app open and click on the Mail option in the top left corner.

2nd step: Click Preferences from the list of options.

Step 3: On the General tab, click Accounts.

Step 4: Make sure your email account is selected in the left menu.

Step 5: Check the box next to “Enable this account” to deactivate your email account.

Step 6: Wait a few seconds and check the box to reactivate your email account.

Step 7: Once all your email chats have loaded, check if the search bar is working.

3. Update macOS to update the Apple Mail app

If the search bar is still not working in the Mail app, we suggest you check for a new version update. For this, you need to update the version of macOS. Follow these steps.

Step 1: Click on the Apple logo in the upper left corner.

2nd step: Select About This Mac from the list of options.

Step 3: Click Software Update to check for macOS update.

Step 4: If a version update is available, download and install it on your Mac.

Step 5: After your Mac restarts, launch the Mail app and check if the search bar is working.

4. Start your Mac in Safe Mode

If the solutions mentioned above didn’t work for you, try starting your Mac in Safe Mode. Since Apple Mail is a system app, starting your Mac in Safe Mode will prevent third-party app interference and prioritize launching system apps only during the process. Follow these steps.

For Mac with M1 chip

Step 1: Click the Apple logo in the upper left corner and select Shut Down.

2nd step: After your Mac shuts down, press and hold the power button until you see two startup options – Macintosh HD and Options.

Step 3: Select Macintosh HD while holding down the Shift key and select “Continue in Safe Mode”.

Step 4: Once your Mac boots up, open the Mail app and check if the search bar works.

For Mac with Intel chip

Step 1: Click on the Apple logo and select Restart.

2nd step: As soon as your Mac restarts, hold down the Shift key.

Step 3: Release the Shift key once you see the login window.

Step 4: Relaunch the Mail app and check if the issue is resolved.

You can also read our in-depth article on Safe Mode on Mac to better understand how and when to use it.

5. Rebuild your mailbox

The next solution we recommend is to rebuild your mailbox. This will delete your email conversations and attachments stored on your Mac. Then all deleted content will be restored from the mail server. This process will fix all the issues causing issues with the mail search bar. Follow these steps.

Step 1: Keep the Mail app open and click Mailbox on the top menu bar.

2nd step: In the list of options, click Rebuild.

The process will happen almost instantly.

Step 3: Wait a minute, then restart your Mac.

Step 4: After your Mac restarts, open the Mail app and check if the search bar works.

6. Reindex Spotlight Search

Spotlight Search manages data for all files stored on your Mac. You can launch Spotlight search to quickly find a file, app, or web link. If your mail search isn’t working, you can try re-indexing Spotlight search to get rid of any bugs. Follow these steps.

Step 1: Press Command + Spacebar to open Spotlight Search, type Terminal, and press Return.

2nd step: Tap the following command in the Terminal app and hit Return.

sudo mdutil -i on /

Step 3: Enter your Mac password and press Return to complete the action.

When entering the password, it will not be visible in Terminal. But you can enter your password and press return. If you enter an incorrect password, you will receive a prompt for the same. You get three attempts to enter the correct Mac password.

Once you have entered the correct password, indexing will be enabled. You will receive a confirmation of the same in the terminal.

Step 4: Now click on the Apple logo and select Restart.

Step 5: Launch the Mail app after your Mac restarts and check if the search bar works.

7. Use another email client if nothing works

If none of the steps worked for you, we suggest using another email client like gmail and Outlook. You can sign in with your email ID and password to access your email conversations.

Manage your emails with the Apple Mail app

The Apple Mail app is getting a new look with feature upgrades as new versions of macOS are released. But if you ever face any problem with searching mail then you can follow the solutions mentioned above. Share this post with someone facing similar issues with the Mail app.

Brandon D. James