How to Find iCloud Email Folders that Disappear in Outlook for Mac

Do you sometimes feel like you need a magic wand to handle your computer glitches? Here’s my story about how I fixed my subfolder syncing problems in Outlook for Mac.

“Shall we play a game?”

Remember that line from the 1983 movie, “WarGames,” starring Matthew Broderick? That playful computer certainly caused a lot of trouble!

Recently I had what felt like a similar experience with my own computer. No, there weren’t any global implications. That said, I did feel like my world was at risk of imploding.

Why?

I thought I had lost all of my iCloud email subfolders I had created under my ‘Inbox’ to help keep my email organized…

Well, these subfolders weren’t exactly gone. They just weren’t showing up in my Microsoft Outlook for Mac. I could see them on my iPhone’s native Mail app, but not in Outlook on my iMac. (I’ve been using Outlook for Mac on my iMacs for years.)

Game Over?
So, I knew I had some kind of sync issue that my computer or the software had thrown at me.

Ha Ha.

Ha.

(Not funny)

I immediately thought of the nightmare of having to delete Outlook for Mac and then rebuild my email all over again on my iMac.

Instead I took a deep breath and put on my Tech Zen hat. I decided to do some Googling for a less dramatic solution. And happily, I didn’t have to go too far down the rabbit hole.

IMAP Syncing
The answer has to do with syncing your IMAP Folders. You need to make sure each of your iCloud email subfolders are properly synced in Outlook for Mac for them to show up. Here’s how you do that:

  • On the top bar of Outlook for Mac, click on the “Tools” dropdown.
  • Click on “IMAP Folders.”
    There, you’ll see all of your iCloud email folders, including the ones that are missing in your email display.
  • Click on each folder that you want to (re)sync and then click on the green ‘Subscribe’ button on the top left. As soon as your subscribe a particular folder, the name turns bold.
  • And then, voilà! Your missing email folders will magically reappear in your Outlook for Mac.

Human Error?
Why my disappearing email subfolder crisis suddenly showed up in the first place, I have no idea. Sure, it’s easy to blame the human. We’ll never really know.

What’s important is I’ve got all of my email back in place on my iMac. (It wasn’t difficult. You just need to remember the IMAP Folders ‘Subscribe’ trick.)

Now, I’m simply back to my general state of détente with my computers and software.