Mail Search Not working on Big Sur, Fix


Several users have reported that the mail search does not work on Big Sur. Users have further stated that the search results don’t appear as expected. For example, the results do not include older emails. And sometimes, searching mails get no results at all, or Mail search returns unexpected results. Some users have stated that they only began facing this issue after updating their Mac to macOS Big Sur. In this article, we explain what you can do if your Mail app search function seems broken or has seemingly stopped working after Big Sur update.

Mail Search not working Mac Big Sur? Fix

Check for updates

The first step you should do when male search is not working is to check for macOS updates. And ensure that your Mac is running the latest version of macOS. You can update and check for updates by heading to System Preferences > Software Update. If there is an update available, then follow the onscreen instructions.

Quit and restart

If updating your Mac does not work, then try the following steps:

Quit the Mail app. You can choose Quit from the app’s menu (Mail > Quit Mail) or you can press Command (⌘)-Q.
Now press and hold the Shift key, while pressing the Shift key, open the Mail app.

Again open the app while pressing the Shift key.

Now restart your Mac (Apple menu > Restart).
Now open the Mail app and do a search and test to see if you have fixed your problem.


You can try to build your Mailbox. If you have multiple Mailboxes, rebuild for each one of your Mailboxes. Here is how:

Start the Mail app.
Select your Mailbox.
Click the Mailbox menu.
At the bottom of the menu, click the Rebuild option.
Then wait until the process is completed. A progress bar will appear.

Reindex Spotlight

The next step in fixing mail search not working Big Sur issue is to rebuild your Spotlight indexing. Here is how:

Head to System Preferences, then click Spotlight.
Remove Mail & Messages from the spotlight search settings by unchecking its box.
Then restart your Mac.
And go to System Preferences > Spotlight and recheck the Mail & Messages box.
If rebuilding Spotlight does not help you, you can also do this via Terminal. Here is how:

Start the Terminal app (Applications > Utilities) and type in the below command and press enter. This will stop and flush the indexes:
sudo mdutil -i off -E /
Type in your passcode if asked. Then type in the below command to verify:
sudo mdutil -s /
Then type in the below command to reindex:
sudo mdutil -i on /
Again type in the below command to verify:
sudo mdutil -s /
Now we will clear the indexes. Follow these steps:

Open your Library folder:
In Finder, click Go > Go to Folder.
In the box, enter ~/Library and click Go.
Click and open the Mail folder.
Open the V8 folder
Click and open the MailData folder.
Find Envelope Index files and drag them to the Trash. And empty the Trash.

See also: Spotlight Search not Working on Big Sur? Fix

Restart your Mac.

Open Mail and test your issue with searching Mail.
If you find mail search not working on Big Sur after trying the above steps, you can try resetting the SMC and restarting your Mac in Safe Mode.

Related Topics
About the author
iPhoneGeeks Staff
iPhoneGeeks Staff
iPhoneGeeks Staff is a team of iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, and Mac experts led by Moses Johnson. We're passionate about all things Apple!

Leave a Comment

On the wire

Trending Now