How do I make Apple Mail store messages in the Sent and Trash folders?

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This page is for the macOS “Sierra”, “High Sierra”, “Mojave”, “Catalina”, “Big Sur”, “Monterey” and “Ventura” (2016 and later) versions of Apple Mail.

If you’re using an older version of Apple Mail, such as the version included with Mac OS X “El Capitan” or “Yosemite”, see Apple Mail Folders in “El Capitan” and Earlier instead.

After you’ve set up an IMAP account in Apple Mail on macOS, it should try to store sent and deleted messages on the server, keeping them in sync with other programs or devices that might connect to the mailbox.

If you want to change where it stores mail, or if you see an error complaining that a deleted message “could not be moved to the mailbox (null)”, you can manually configure this.

1. Start the Mail program.

If the Mail program isn’t already running, start it now.

2. Open the “Preferences” window.

Using the menu bar at the top of the screen, click Mail, then either Preferences or Settings depending on the version:

Mail > Preferences

The preferences window will appear.

3. Choose the “Mailbox Behaviors” screen.

Navigate to the “Mailbox Behaviors” screen. To do this:

  • Click Accounts (the blue “@” sign) along the top of the window if necessary.
  • Click the account in the left “Accounts” column if necessary.
  • Click Mailbox Behaviors.

4. Change the folder settings.

This example shows setting Mail to store messages in these folders on the server (not “On My Mac”):

Drafts Mailbox:Drafts
Sent Mailbox:Sent
Trash Mailbox:Trash

After you choose these, they may show with the extra word “INBOX” in front of them, like this:

Drafts Mailbox:INBOX/Drafts
Sent Mailbox:INBOX/Sent
Trash Mailbox:INBOX/Trash

If so, that’s normal and okay.

It should look like this:

Apple Mail folder settings

Again, the word “INBOX” may or may not appear, depending on your version of Apple Mail.

5. Close the settings window.

If everything looks okay, click the red close button in the upper-left corner of the Accounts window.