Free Method to Export IMAP to MBOX Format

Written By Mohit Jha
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On March 27th, 2023
Reading Time 3 Minutes Reading

As the data stored on IMAP servers can be accessed from anywhere, anytime and from any device, most companies and individual users prefer to store their important emails and other data on IMAP servers. However, there are times when users wish to export IMAP to MBOX file format.

Almost all e-mail clients such as Thunderbird, SeaMonkey, Apple Mail, and Windows Live Mail support the MBOX format. So, keeping a copy of IMAP emails in the MBOX format is convenient as you can open and work with this file on many email applications offline.

Unfortunately, there is no suitable direct method to get this job done. In this blog, we will be discussing the most reliable solutions to easily export IMAP emails to MBOX files.

So, without wasting any more time, let’s start the process.

Method 1: Manual Way to Export IMAP to MBOX

Here, we will explain the manual method in two steps, but it has some disadvantages. So, if you want to save your time and hard work then skip the manual method and directly go for the guaranteed professional solution.

Configure IMAP Account in Email Client

Here, we are using the Thunderbird mail client to export IMAP emails to MBOX format.

  1. Download and open the Thunderbird email client in your OS.
  2. Configure your account in the mail client by entering the login credentials and clicking the OK button.
  3. Select the IMAP option and then click the OK button.
  4. Enter the login details to confirm it for the second time.

Wait for the mail client to complete the synchronization process.

Export IMAP to MBOX Manually

  • Run Thunderbird on your system.
  • Install the free ImportExportTools NG add-on in Thunderbird.
  • Right-click on the mailbox and choose ImportExportTools option.
  • Click on “Export Folder” from the drop-down menu.
  • Click “Save” to export IMAP emails to MBOX.

Finally, the emails from the IMAP mailbox will be exported to the MBOX file format.

Limitations of Manual Method

  • It is obligatory to take the help of an external application to perform the procedure.
  • Technical knowledge is required to execute the steps manually.

Method 2: Professional Solution for IMAP to MBOX

IMAP Server Backup Tool is one of the best solutions recommended by IT experts to export IMAP emails to MBOX files. This software allows users to export emails from the IMAP mailbox to MBOX format and other file formats such as PDF, PST, EML, EMLX, HTML, and CSV. Moreover, it enables you to successfully save IMAP data with attachments and maintain the folder hierarchy.

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This software has an interactive and user-friendly interface that allows even non-technical users to operate it easily. This means anyone can easily download and run the software in their operating system. The software allows you to use various filters for selective conversion and also convert your data in bulk if required.

Besides the Incremental Backup option, this amazing utility also offers the Delete After Download option that allows you to free up space on the server.

Follow These Steps to Export IMAP Emails to MBOX

  • Install and run the software on your computer.
  • Enter your IMAP credentials and click on ‘Login’ button.
  • Select ‘MBOX’ as the export format.
  • Apply advanced settings such as filters.
  • Hit ‘Start Backup’ button to export IMAP to MBOX file.

>> Read the Complete Guide <<

You can also visit the how-to guide page for complete report details. Or you can simply go through the following steps to understand the working of the tool with screenshots.

  • Download and run the software on the Mac OS.

Interface to Export IMAP to MBOX

  • Enter your credentials to log in to the software.


  • Select the required Gmail mailbox folder from the left side of the software panel. Choose the MBOX format from the export options available.

Choose MBOX

  • Click Advance Settings tab and apply the desired filters.

Advanced Settings

  • Choose the Destination location where you would like to save the resultant files.

Destination Location to Export IMAP to MBOX

  • Click the Start Backup button.

Start Export IMAP to MBOX
After the entire IMAP mailbox is successfully exported into the MBOX format, a message notifying the same is displayed on the screen.

Incremental Option: This option gets activated only if you have already exported your IMAP account data. Enabling this feature allows you to take the backup of only the newly-arrived emails in your IMAP mailbox; thus, eliminating any chances of data duplication.

Other Functionalities of the Tool

As explained earlier, the tool also supports formats other than MBOX. So, it is possible to use the same software to fulfill different conversion requirements such as:

Final Words

In this blog, we have discussed two methods to export IMAP emails to MBOX file format. The manual method is free but it has certain limitations to overcome which you can also opt for the automated solution. The blog explains both ways of migrating the IMAP mailbox: you can choose any of them as per your requirement. A free demo version of the automated solution is also available for you to download and evaluate its working and performance.


By Mohit Jha

Mohit is a writer, researcher, and editor. Cyber ​​security and digital forensics are the two subjects that keep Mohit out of his seat. In addition, he hopes that the well-researched and thought-out articles he finds will help people learn.