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Error: Invalid base64 string for MIME content in Apple Mail on Catalina

I had a client today who after every email they received in Apple Mail on Catalina, an error dialog box would pop up saying “The Message <whatever> could not be moved to the mailbox Inbox. Invalid base64 string for MIME content.”

After trawling the Apple support forums, where many people claimed to have done something that fixed it, only for the problem to reoccur minutes or hour later, what I did that seems to have fixed it was disable/delete the Rules in Apple Mail.

In particular, there was one rule in Mail that moved all messages from a particular sender to the Inbox – this was set up as emails from this sender occasionally went to Junk.

After deleting this rule, the issue has not surfaced again.

6 thoughts on “Error: Invalid base64 string for MIME content in Apple Mail on Catalina

  1. Having the same issue. How do I disable/delete the Rules? I don’t see any Rules listed which I pull it up.

    1. Go to Mail > Preferences > Rules and untick all of the rules you see there. If you don’t have any rules defined in there, then it must be a different root cause.

      1. I removed the rules that I thought were causing the issue and removed them, not all of them, just the one’s that I thought were the culprits. That worked.

  2. I have the same issue, but need the rule as it seems it’s the only way to whitelist email addresses in MacMail..??

  3. Same problem as Fran. I need that rule to keep certain important emails from disappearing into my junk mail folder with literally hundreds of junk messages per day.

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