Recently 28,747 ghost emails showed up in my iPhone’s Mail Inbox. Ghosts because they are not really IN my Inbox, despite the notification hovering over the Mail icon saying they are. I managed to turn off the annoying apparition, but the grey number 28K still displays in my Mailbox menu.
These ghosts also haunt my Sent folder. Supposedly it contains 966 sent emails, none of which I can see.
According to my preliminary research, it’s a bug in the software – and it’s been bugging people without any resolution for at least a couple of years.
Truthfully, I’ve been unable to read the long, online threads of threatening rants and obtuse explanations for more than a few minutes at a time. My eyes and brain fog over. (I can’t believe I spent 25 years as a technical writer without slipping into a coma.) My heart sinks when I see the same suggestion again and again: delete account and add back in. Sure, simple. Just let me locate my list of server settings and passwords. Of course, if I must do that, I will. But unlike with childbirth, when you forget the pain and do it again, I do remember how long I labored to set up the email account, how many people I had to call to obtain settings, how many buttons I toggled on and off before it magically worked. (Again, I marvel at my perverse ability to write about these maddening mind boggles – as a career!)
And now – another fun, twisting challenge. The ghosts must be pissed off at me for trying to yank them out of purgatory. All my Contacts disappeared! Names, addresses, phone numbers, emails. All my incoming calls appeared as Unknown Number.
This was my fault, as much as I’d like to blame cyber-demons. My fingers became possessed and in a fit of impatience, they pressed the secret code to open the gates to iCloud heaven. Once inside, they mindlessly decided, no we don’t need you anymore. Close down iCloud and take everything away (secretly hoping this might include ghosts).
Once I realized that the ghosts remained, but real people disappeared, I was able to re-open iCloud, bow down and ask for forgiveness. Prayers answered. All my contacts floated down from the clouds and reappeared on my phone.
Plus a few extra. Ones I deleted years ago! For reasons that could be the subject of future essays. I’ll have to be careful scrolling through them to re-delete. One slip of the finger or the stylus and I’m calling that born-again woman who refused to listen when I told her I could edit her book, but not run her personal errands. Or that handyman who became overly hand-y until I invented a boyfriend, a former NYC cop with a pet pit bull.
As for the mysterious emails, are they real? Are they really emails I’ve sent and received for the last 10 years? Has a server somewhere decided, “Here, I don’t want these anymore, I’m sending them back. You’ll have to hire an exorcist or an engineer to get rid of them.”
I have a few ideas, I don’t give up easily. Did I mention I was a technical writer? And I have a software engineer son.
If the emails are real, and not ghosts, I hope I don’t have to see them again. As with old Contacts, I deleted them for a reason. They are free to die peacefully.