Monterey Mail Search Not Working? How to Fix

Several users who updated to macOS Monterey have said that Mail search is not working or the search results don’t appear as expected. You can search your emails to find a specific message in your inbox. On your Mac, you can do mail searchers in Mail or from the Spotlight app. In this article, I explain how you can fix this mail search problem in Monterey.

We previously wrote a lot of Mail troubleshooting articles. There are three of them that I recommend that you review:

If this article does not help you, you may want to read them too. The good news is that when Mail search isn’t working on your Mac, it’s almost always a simple software problem. This means that it is highly likely that you can fix it yourself by following the steps below.

How to fix Mail search issues in Monterey

As I stated above, you can use Spotlight to find an email. If Spotlight is not finding the email messages, try restarting your Spotlight indexing. This step also includes deleting the Mail indexes. Follow these steps:

  • Quit the Mail app (Mail > Quit Mail).
  • Open Terminal on your Mac (Applications > Utilities).
  • Enter the following command and hit enter to clear the indexes. You will need to enter your Mac’s password.
sudo mdutil -i off -E
  • Enter the following command and hit enter to verify:
sudo mdutil -s
  • Enter the following command to restart indexing. You will again be asked to enter your password:
sudo mdutil -i on
  • And now once again enter the following command to verify:
sudo mdutil -s

After these, let’s now delete the Mail indexes. Follow these steps:

  • In Finder, press and hold the Option key and select Go.
  • From the dropdown menu, click Library.
  • Open the Mail folder.
  • Open the V9 folder. (This is the Monterey version).
  • Open the MailData folder.
  • Delete the files that have Envelope Index names. There may be a few. Drag them to the Trash.
  • Restart your Mac.

Open the Mail app, and check to see if you can search now.

See also:

Dr. Serhat Kurt worked as a Senior Technology Director. He holds a doctoral degree (or doctorate) from the University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign and a master’s degree from Purdue University. Here is his LinkedIn profile.

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4 thoughts on “Monterey Mail Search Not Working? How to Fix”

  1. Very helpful. Thanks. It solved my problem. However, I would have appreciated some explanation of what the various sudo commands did, so I could understand exactly how I was mucking with the internals of the system.

  2. Dear Dr. Kurt,
    Thank you. I just migrated all my data to a new MacBook Pro with M1 chip from my old MacBook Pro and my mail search is not working now. I tried your method to fix it and it didn’t work but when I entered “sudo mdutil -i on” I was not asked to enter my password. Is it possible something is wrong with my system?

  3. After entering “sudo mdutil -i off -E” it’s asking me for a password. But I am not able to enter anything. If I hit the return button it says “Sorry, try again”.


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