Apple Syncing Fail (Redux): iCloud Mail, Why Have You Forsaken Me?
Update: See update below, a solution has been found!
People who know me know that I’m a fan of Apple products, and have been through good times and bad. But that doesn’t mean I’m a mindless supporter, and as Apple has become more successful and sold products to millions more people, it does sometimes seem as if there have been an increasing number of quality and reliability issues, at least one of which I’ve documented before. Well here’s a fun one that’s happened before and, as the X Files might say, it’s happening again.
Syncing Mail: It Shouldn’t Be This Hard
The other day I noticed that my Apple-based e-mail account was not syncing all the messages from my iPhone (4s, weep for my technological obsoleteness.). I noticed this because I had received some messages on the phone that I wanted to respond to a a greater length than I generally do on my phone; but I figured no problem, as usual I’d just go home, see them on my iMac, and respond there. And to be fair this is generally exactly how it works, everything syncs for all my e-mail accounts with no problem. But not now. I forgot about this for a couple of days until I realized, talking to one of the people who should have been a recipient of a follow-up e-mail, that his e-mail and several others had not shown up on my desktop. And while that set of messages did magically show up, the next day the same thing happened, and didn’t self-correct. And so, the saga began.
To The Settings
Of course I started by going through settings on the phone and the computer, making sure nothing had gotten changed, but everything looked fine, everything was using Apple provided settings and services. Restart all devices … no effect. Not too big a deal, work day on iMac over, plus thunderstorms, so iMac shut down.
Next Day: To the Google
Because surely I’m not the only one having this problem, so a little search, once I get it phrased properly, will come up with the answer. Well, sort of. Nothing current with this exact problem, but I’m not the only one having problems with Apple syncing. Plus there was a lot of chaff in there from the early days of Maverick’s release when there were major Mail sync issues with Gmail. Came up with a few suggestions that might work, though I was not hopeful, and none of the easy solutions helped. Apple Knowledge Base documents on general Mail & iCloud issues were completely unhelpful (big surprise there, right?). They assume everything’s fine and problems must be user error. So it was time to take more drastic action, based in part of some suggestions found during my searches.
Alright Apple, Now You’re Starting to Piss Me Off
As nothing had worked so far, I went back to settings, first on the phone. I noticed that there were a couple of superfluous iCloud e-mail accounts (@iCloud.com & @me.com) enabled under Settings ->Mail -> Allow Sending From, so I turned them off because I never use them. I didn’t expect it to solve anything, but it seemed like a way to clean things up a bit. Ha! When Apple screws with you, they go full bore. Before adjusting settings, I had quit Mail on my Mac; after that minor, inconsequential change to settings on the phone I opened Mail, only to get the following message: OK, it doesn’t make any sense, but I’ll just follow the instructions and fix it. Except when I click that link and go to iCloud preferences, there is NOWHERE to turn that account back on on the computer; in fact, no indication that that account does now or ever exited. So I turn it back on on my phone, quit Mail on the computer and started it again, and at least was back to the original, seemingly inexplicable and unsolvable problem.
Enable Drastic Solution
While I could have gone into Mail’s hidden folders and tried trashing preferences and such, in direct violation of Apple’s advice, I decided, that because this was a cloud-based account and I had done this before, I’d just delete and re-enable the account on the iMac. Easier said than done. Oh, going into the Internet Accounts preference panel and deleting the account was easy enough, but once you press the little minus button, Apple starts popping up warning messages for EVERY SINGLE SERVICE on your computer connected to that account. Now I appreciate the warnings, but each warning was exactly the same, and it seems to me there’s no reason for there not to be a single notification with on/off options for each one, instead of having to click through more than half a dozen identical messages. User friendly my ass. Here are two samples: Made it through all the messages, deleted account, then re-enabled. Absolutely. No. Change. Even now some messages are coming through on the iMac and some aren’t. It makes no sense, and It most assuredly Doesn’t Just Work. Everything’s on iCloud web mail, everything’s on my phone, everything’s on the laptop. But on my main work computer, I have a random selection of all the e-mails that should be in my iCloud Inbox.
And yes, I am open to suggestions, please post them below, but nothing stupid about Android, Windows or Linux. Update: A solution! Of course because I just posted this. One I had tried before but the option was grayed out. And this was from a forum. Select the account you need in Mail, go to Mailbox -> Rebuild. Don’t know why I wasn’t able to select that before, maybe the deleting and putting back in did it, but it’s working now.