Recovering trashed emails
I was clearing out a ton of emails from iCloud and inadvertently selected all – instead of just the messages I had originally selected – before deleting. I was puzzled when those messages promptly vanished from my iMac, which connects to the same iCloud account. How can I get them back?
When you keep your mail in iCloud, changes made on one connected device alter what’s stored in iCloud, thus what all other devices see. This means that all your devices can access your latest incoming messages, and you can reply to them using any device. But it also means that deleting messages removes them from iCloud and all devices connected to it.
If you’re using Apple’s Mail or another mail client which keeps trash, you could of course retrieve your messages from there before they are automatically removed – which is a setting made in Mail > Preferences > Accounts > Mailbox Behaviors. If the trash has been emptied already, then your only chance is to retrieve messages from the most recent Time Machine backup you made before deleting them. If you don’t have a recent backup, then sadly your messages have gone.
With Mail as the foreground app, open Time Machine to browse and restore individual messages from your backups.