Getting your RSS feeds OUT of Mail.app and into Google Reader

I love RSS feeds. I have lots of them. Historically, I have used my Mail.app as my RSS reader and love it.

As of late I have decided that I wanted to move them all to a mobile device. Many RSS readers have a way to import your feeds from google reader. So, what I wanted to do was to export all of my RSS feeds from Mail.app into Google’s Reader. But, Mail has no export feature.

Here is how you do it (Mac OSX Leopard and up):

First, we need to export your feeds

    1. Open your terminal and enter this string of text and hit return:

IFS=$'n';for i in $(find ~/Library/Mail/RSS/ -name "Info.plist");

  1. Now enter this string of text and hit return.
    do grep "http://" $i | sed "s/.*(http[^<]*).*/1/" >> ~/Desktop/Mail Feeds.txt;done
  2. You will have a file saved to your desktop named “Mail Feeds.txt”.

Next, we need to convert your file

We need to convert your “Mail Feeds.txt” into a format called OPML. This is the format that google reader needs to import.

  1. Open your “Mail Feeds.txt” file with TextEdit (or other text editing program) and copy the contents.
  2. Go to the OPML Generator and paste your text in the box marked “OPML Generator – Input”. Click “send”. (NOTE: The OPML Generator I linked to is no longer working, but you can follow this link to find other OPML Generators.)
  3. Now, highlight the code inside the box and copy it.
  4. Paste that code into a new TextEdit file and save that file (any name you want to call it) on your desktop as a Word 2003 Format (.xml) file.

Import into Google

  1. Go to Google Reader and navigate to the “Manage Subscriptions” section.
  2. Find the Import/Export tab and import your new file.

From here, you can access your RSS feeds from any browser, but more importantly (for me) is the ability to choose a RSS reader with the ability to import from my Google Reader.

Posted in

Lena Shore

Lena is a full-time freelancer and nerd that specializes in web development, graphic design, and illustration. She enjoys building things, learning new things, pursuing creative endeavors, and giving free advice.

4 Comments

  1. acland on August 19, 2012 at 12:58 am

    The link to the opml generator is broken but I found other sites that create the opml list – i followed your directions to create the xml file but google reader rejected the file – the problem was my file was missing this line at the top:

    Now that I’ve added that, google reader imports my rss list nicely.

    This may help other people who are having similar problems

  2. RK on August 14, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    slightly amended for us who upgraded to mountain lion only to find our RSS feeds obliterated from mail: IFS=$’n’;for i in $(find ~/Library/Mail/V2/RSS/ -name “Info.plist”);

    thanks for this original post. extremely helpful.

  3. Richard Robertson on April 4, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Somebody needs to write a script. Nice solution. Since I only have 2 RSS feeds, I might just copy and paste.

    • Lena on April 5, 2010 at 8:28 am

      Yes. A script would have been nice. Couldn’t find one. If I do, I’ll amend my post. But, I’m thrilled I didn’t have to hand input 100 RSS feeds.

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