Download your Yahoo Email, Unix Edition

First Off.

I am providing this information because I found it useful. I was inspired by Iain Thompson of The Register ( to retrieve and delete my 15+ years of email.

Disclaimer: Computers suck. Also, I could be a complete idiot. I’m just some rando blog on the internets. Do the following at your own risk and please don’t hurt me if something goes wrong.

Prepare Your Account

Disable Two-Step Verification

Enable “Allow apps that use less secure sign in”.


Remember to turn them back once email download is done. Then delete your Yahoo account anyway.


Need to have fetchmail and maildrop installed. I’m an Ubuntu user so I just did:

sudo apt install fetchmail maildrop




   service 995
   protocol POP3
   user ""
   password "mypassword"
   mda "/usr/bin/maildrop"

Verify with ‘fetchmail -v -c’  (verbose and check). Should see a successful login to your Yahoo email.

NOTE: fetchmail’s default behavior over POP3 is to *DELETE* your email once retrieved. I’ve left this behavior in place. If that’s not what you want, consult the fetchmail man page.



Enable DEFAULT=”$HOME/Maildir” to push mail straight to my account instead of through a MDA.


Not needed.

Build a Maildir

From home directory, run

maildirmake.maildrop Maildir

Will create the necessary Maildir tree. Use Maildir rather than mbox format because writing to a single file (mbox) is risky; could be corrupted in event of a crash. Maildir writes every email to a separate file.

Test Test Test!

Run  fetchmail -v -B 1

Will fetch verbose ONE message for testing the configuration. Should see login and one message downloaded. (deep-thought is my hostname)

Here’s me after downloading three messages:

…deep-thought:~% find Maildir



Release the Hounds.

Let’s go for it. Run

fetchmail -v | tee log.txt

|tee log.txt to save a log of the run in case anything goes wrong.


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