How to Download and Review Email Data from Apple Mail and iCloud for Discovery and Investigations

How to Download and Review Email Data from Apple Mail and iCloud for Discovery and Investigations

This post is part of our “How to Export and Review” series. Don’t miss our overview on how to collect email data for discovery across a wide number of common platforms.


When litigation is imminent, evidence is collected for the case in a process called “discovery.” As digital communication has taken over our lives, the collecting of digital evidence—“eDiscovery”—has become an integral part of the discovery process.

In today’s labyrinth-like world of digital data and metadata—collectively known as ESI, or electronically-stored information—this process becomes increasingly complicated.

The sheer amounts of data that exist in any given user’s online accounts is enough to give anyone a headache.

Specifically, email is one of the most commonly collected forms of ESI, and properly collecting and reviewing it is a pertinent part of cases involving such evidence.

In this article, we’ll discuss the process of exporting and reviewing data from Apple Mail and iCloud. The good news is that, compared to email services such as Yahoo or AOL, obtaining data from Apple Mail and iCloud is a breeze. Downloading user data doesn’t require any third-party software or applications, and with Logikcull’s document review software, reviewing said data is easier and more efficient than ever before.


Downloading Data from Apple Mail and iCloud

Exporting data from both the Apple Mail app and from iCloud is an easy process. If you have software version OS X v10.7.5 or later, simply open up Apple Mail and peruse the list of mailboxes on the left-hand side for the one you want to download. If you’re exporting data from iCloud, simply select the “iCloud” mailbox. Once you’ve found the mailbox you’d like to download, do the following:

  • Right click on your chosen mailbox
  • Click “Export Mailbox” in the pop-up shortcut menu
  • Select a destination folder in which your download will be saved, and click “Choose”

This will make a copy of your entire iCloud mailbox, including every folder and message, and save it as an MBOX file in the destination of your choosing. MBOX, which stands for “mailbox,” is a type of standardized text file commonly used for storing emails, which will show your data as plain text separated by headers. It can also store email attachments. MBOX files can then be downloaded onto a USB, and/or uploaded to a document review software.


Reviewing Data from Apple Mail and iCloud

Now that you’ve obtained your data by downloading it from Apple, the next step is to review it- arguably the most arduous and labor-intensive part of the eDiscovery process.

Before eDiscovery software became available, most legal teams did review by hand- physically printing out each document and poring over it with sticky notes and a permanent marker, organizing by using file folders and spreadsheets. Manual review such as this is sometimes still used today for cases in which there are only a dozen or fewer documents to review. However, in cases with larger amounts of relevant data, manual review becomes almost impossible. Furthermore, the process is particularly likely to result in accidental data spoliation- the destruction of evidence- or the corruption of metadata. For today’s world, manual review is sorely behind the times.

In the more recent past, legal teams have often chosen to use an eDiscovery vendor to do the dirty work of collecting, reviewing, and producing email data. These vendors usually do the job pretty well, but are notorious for being extremely pricey: collecting and reviewing data from a single email account has been known to cost thousands of dollars in some cases.


Using Logikcull for Document Review

The good news is that there is another solution. Easier and more reliable than manual review and less expensive than a vendor, Logikcull’s cloud-based eDiscovery software provides a Document Review feature with unmatched applicability and efficiency. Simply drag and drop your files into the software to upload your data, then use the reviewing tools at hand to meet every reviewing need you may have. Logikcull provides handy tools for redaction, commenting, and tagging, and even allows legal teams to easily send files between themselves safely without the risk of a data leak.

Any given email account can be host to myriad data and metadata, and without the right knowledge and tools, this can seem overwhelming. But eDiscovery doesn’t need to be a daunting task. Today, any Apple account owner can easily use Apple’s self-service tools for downloading their own account data. Pair this with discovery software offering Document Review features such as Logikcull’s, and the process of downloading and reviewing email data has become easier and more cost-effective than ever before.

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