Why Mac Mail won’t quit and keeps interrupting shut down?

I’ve been bothered with this issue for several times. I can’t shut down my Mac because of Mail, an app I use daily.

It seems Mail won’t quit and it shows me this error message:

I remember I quit the Apple Mail app, but somehow it just failed…weird!

After attempting to research the reasons why, I also bumped into a few forum discussions where other Mac users were also experiencing the same issue.

And to my surprise, we can’t figure out the exact reasons. Some say it’s related to the OS X (now macOS) your Mac is running under, while there are also people say it’s due to the Mail app itself — meaning it’s a bug that needs to be fixed.

Personally, I feel the later sounds more reasonable. Because I’ve encountered a few other issues related to Mail, such as the app takes longer to receive and send out new mails. Especially when I send an email, sometimes it just freezes on the “sending” process, I often have to double check the sendbox to make sure my email reply is delivered successfully. Apple already knows this issue as you can see from this support article.

Another case, which is more recent — the Mail app has some problems after iPhone and iPad users updated to iOS 11. Apple and Microsoft ware working together to fix the problems, as you can read more from this MacRumor report.

Anyways, the solution to fix that Mail failing to quit error is also simple.

Simply click the Apple logo on the top left corner, then select Force Quit, highlight the Mail app, and confirm the operation. After that, your Mac should be able to shut down properly.

Another way to do this is open Activity Monitor (do a quick Spotlight search? to open the app), then select the Mail related process and quit it.

You can choose either way to get that done.

That’s for this update, I hope you find it useful. And hopefully Apple Mail team would improve the app and make it more smooth to use 🙂

18 thoughts on “Why Mac Mail won’t quit and keeps interrupting shut down?”

  1. This article sheds absolutely no light on “WHY Mac Mail won?t quit and keeps interrupting shut down”. The links also give no details on the problem, they address other matters. The suggested solution just ignores the problem, and recommends actions that might actually cause the problem (force quite can corrupt email files)

  2. I have been experiencing this problem BUT after I ‘FORCE Quit”, I am unable to open Mail again (the icon just bobs up and down in the Dock) and have to ‘FORCE Quit’. However then comes the biggest kicker: when you try to shut down your machine, the screen goes blank but the keyboard back illumination comes on and you get the whizzing catherine wheel on the screen and there it stays until the battery is flat ie. it totally freezes during the shutdown process. It only does this if you have had an issue with Mail during your session, other times it shuts down as advertised. (MBP 13″ Retina running MAC OS High Sierra – it never did any of this before upgrading (!) to High Sierra

  3. I have also had this problem for about 3-4 months; keep hoping that Apple will fix it in the “next update” but it has not as yet happened. I find that eventually Shutdown will finally figure out how to quit mail, which gets ghosted in the drop down menu but stays active in the icon in the doc no matter how many times I quit. I am really not interested in having to force quit every time.

  4. Experienced the same problem today for the first time, had to force mail to quit. I’m not a tech person but there may be a relationship between this problem and retaining mail info in the cloud. Last night was the first time I authorized the cloud to store mail info. Tonight I deleted mail from the cloud list and it seemed to have solved the problem. Mail closes as it should.

      1. It s not solution. I have the same problem, and my mail never was in the cloud. Also, mail permanently works something without real need. Apple need to recognize the error in system and solve it.

    1. I can not shut down Maile on Mac book pro. This is the first time this has happened to me can not force quit either?

  5. If you have mail open in your other devices, try to quit those then quit mail in imac.

    Hope this helps.

  6. I have the same problem with my Mac mini running Mojave…..pissing me off. Every time I try to quit mail, it won’t unless I use the force quit method. Same with shut down….mail interrupts the action. I guess Im going to stop using the Mail app and use one of the Yahoo or gmail programs until Apple fixes this.

  7. I have been having the same problem for the last few weeks. Mail also now doesn’t synchronise with my iPhone when mail is read on one device it remains ‘unread’ on the other and has to be opened separately. Any thoughts?

  8. I experience an occasional problem with Safari — nothing will load, though if I revert to Chrome things are fine.
    To overcome the Safari problem, I back out and try to restart my MacBook Pro — it will not shut down, saying: ‘ Mail interrupted re-start’.
    I then force to restart. It opens; I return to Safari, and it is fine.
    Does this suggest that the Mail programme is problematic not only for shut-down, but also for Safari?

  9. On my iMac mail is constanly saving drafts. The solution is to go to mail box behavior and turn off save drafts. The problem is mail box behavior has not option to “turn off saving drafts”. No only can I not shut down without force quitting mail but my machine runs very slow.

  10. Same problem. The people at Apple have no idea how these persistent bugs irritate users and cost them money in lost time and data. I run my business on my laptop and expect it to work. If it doesn’t work as expected, and as advertised, the product is of unmerchantable quality under Australian Law. Fix your substandard product Apple to avoid a class action from very upset business people.

  11. I have had this problem for seven years, ever since I bought my first Mac desktop. I have never had the problem on my macbook though. So it is a curious and annoying little bug that has never been squished. It isn’t every time but most times when you want to quit and mail is still running. I suspect it is because mail is doing something in the background … but if so then force quit could cause errors.

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