Q&A: Why does this message crash Mail?

Q I’ve received an obvious scam email. Usually I consign these to the Junk folder. However, when I click on the email to do this, or to delete it, I get the spinning beachball, then Mail locks, forcing me to Force Quit the application. How can I rid myself of this infuriating message?

A The first possibility is that the message is malformed and causing problems with Mail, perhaps deliberately.

One way to work around that is to select another (or no) message in the message list at the left side of the Message Viewer window, then hover the pointer over the offending message and Control-click or whatever to bring up the contextual menu. The offending message should be highlighted but not displayed in the Message Viewer, and you can then select the Delete command and be rid of it.

Using the contextual menu, you can select a message and delete it without it being displayed in the adjacent viewer.
Using the contextual menu, you can select a message and delete it without it being displayed in the adjacent viewer.

If that still causes problems and crashes Mail, suspect that your Mailbox is wobbly. Try selecting the mailbox it is in, and rebuilding it using the Rebuild command in the Mailbox menu.

Another technique which might get around this is to access the message using an iPad or iPhone, and remove the message there.

If no amount of trying can shift the message, it may be stuck in the mail server. Some messages, I suspect deliberately crafted to do this, just seem able to break the email system. The only people who can sort that for you are Apple’s iCloud support team. They should be able to get an engineer to delete the message and restore normal service.