Here's how to stop your Mac's Mail app from wasting gigabytes of storage (2023)

Here's how to stop your Mac's Mail app from wasting gigabytes of storage (1)

Using Apple's Mail app on a Mac? You may be wasting gigabytes of storage space with attachments that could be put to better use. Here's what you can do about it.

First, check how much Space Mail is being used

By default, the Mail app wants to cache every single email and attachment you've ever received offline. If you have a lot of email, it can take up tens of gigabytes of storage space. On a Mac with a large hard drive, this isn't a big deal. But on a MacBook with a 128GB SSD, this can be significantwaste of space.

TIED TOGETHERHow to free up disk space on a Mac

(Video) How to Delete Mail Storage on Mac

To see how much disk space you might be wasting on email attachments, you need to check the source. Every user account on your Mac has a Mail directory in its Library folder — that is~/Library/Mail, or/Users/[NAME]/Library/Mail. This is where the Mail app stores its data for each user.

To view it, open Finder, click Go in the menu bar, and choose Go to Folder. Type~/Libraryin the field and press Enter. Locate the email folder, right-click/ctrl-click it, and choose Get Info. You can see how much storage space is being used by the Mail app for your user account, listed under Size.

Here's how to stop your Mac's Mail app from wasting gigabytes of storage (3)

When you're done, close the MailTip window and the Library window in the Finder. If you find that Mail is using more disk space than you expect, it's time to take action.

Option 1: Clean email attachments with CleanMyMac

What usually takes up the most space in your mailbox are any attachments (e.g. zip files, images or videos), many of which you probably have stored in different places on your Mac than when you originally received them were important. So unless you keep a historical email archive for personal or legal reasons, you can usually safely delete them.

There aren't many ways to delete your email attachments from the local copy while they remain on the server, but luckily there is software that will do it.CleanMyMac Xhas a tool that scans your email and finds large attachments. Assuming you arewith IMAP(which is the default), the attachments are left on the server and only the local copy is deleted.

Warning:Before deleting anything on your Mac, make surehave backupsin case you accidentally accidentally delete something important.

CleanMyMac X has tons of other tools to help you clean up your Mac. So if you want to find out how to free up disk space, it can definitely help you.

Here's how to stop your Mac's Mail app from wasting gigabytes of storage (4)

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It's worth nothing that you should use the "Check Details" button in the app to make sure you're only removing things you don't need locally. And make absolutely surehave backupsof your most important stuff before deleting anything.

TIED TOGETHER: How to back up your Mac and restore files with Time Machine

Option 2: Reduce Space usage

Mail's Library folder often gets so large because the Mail app downloads every single email and attachment to store on your Mac. This makes them fully offline accessible and enabledheadlightto index them for easy searching. However, if you have gigabytes of emails in your Gmail account or elsewhere, you might not want them all on your Mac.

Luckily, you can save some space by telling Mail not to automatically download attachments. To do this, open the Mail app and select “Settings” from the “Mail” menu in the bar at the top of the screen. When the settings window opens, click Accounts. Next, click the drop-down menu next to Download Attachments and select None.

Here's how to stop your Mac's Mail app from wasting gigabytes of storage (5)

Once set, e-mail attachments are not automatically downloaded but stored online until you need them.

Otherwise, you can only hope to control the number of message mail downloads through the server settings on your email server. For example, Gmail offers a setting that can "hide" email from the Mail app and other email clients that access it via IMAP.

To access this setting, open Gmail in your web interface, click the gear menu, select "See all settings" and click the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab. Under "Folder size limits," you can select an option to the right of "Limit IMAP folders to no more than this many messages." This will prevent the Mail app from seeing and downloading all of your email.

(Video) Mac Other Storage: How To Delete It! (Works With Any Mac)

Here's how to stop your Mac's Mail app from wasting gigabytes of storage (6)

Other email services may have similar options.

You could also theoretically stop Mail from using IMAP and manipulate it to use POP3 and SMTP to receive and send mail. You could then delete emails from your Mail app and they would be deleted on your computer but not on your email server.POP3 really isn't ideal for a modern email system, but this would give you email notifications with Mail and allow you to send messages from it while keeping your archive solely on your mail server.

TIED TOGETHER: Email basics: POP3 is deprecated; Please switch to IMAP today

Option 3: Drop email and use something else

There's no way to completely disable Mail's disk-wasting behavior, so you might just want to stop using the Mail app altogether. Then you can delete those gigabytes of locally cached data and Mail won't try to download any more mail.

Instead of the Mail app, you can use the web-based interface of your email service - for example, Gmail on the web for Gmail users. You can also search for a third-party email client on the Mac App Store or elsewhere. Other email clients should provide an option to store fewer emails offline and limit your cache size to a manageable size.

To stop using the Mail app, first disable or delete your email accounts. In the Mail app, click the Mail menu and choose Accounts. Disable the mail option forAccounts that you no longer want to usemail with. Mail will stop downloading email from these accounts.

Here's how to stop your Mac's Mail app from wasting gigabytes of storage (7)

(Video) The Mac's Storage Space Problem

But that's not enough! Disable the email account and the emails will no longer appear in the Mail app, but they will still be stored in your offline cache. You can delete the folder to free up disk space.

Warning:Before deleting your emails on your Mac, make surehave backupsin case you accidentally accidentally delete important emails. If the emails aren't still on the server, you can't get them back!

To do this, open Finder, click the Go menu, and choose Go to Folder. plug~/Library/Mail/V2in the field and press Enter. Right-click/ctrl-click the folder with the name of your email account and choose Move to Trash. You can then empty your trash to free up all those gigabytes.

If you have multiple email accounts with cached emails that you want to remove, you should delete each corresponding folder. If you do this you will lose all offline copies of your emails, however they will still be stored on your email server if you are using a modern email service.

Here's how to stop your Mac's Mail app from wasting gigabytes of storage (8)

When you're done, close the Mail Library folder in Finder.

Other people have their own tricks. Some people recommend creating a separate email account that you can use to archive emails. Forward all your email there, then delete it from the "working" email account you keep in Mail to save disk space when you no longer need it. But that's a dirty hack of a solution, and if you have to go that far, you might just want to use a different email client instead. Much luck!

TIED TOGETHER: How to add or remove email accounts in Mail for Mac


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(Video) How to free up space on your Mac — Apple Support


Why is my Mail taking up so much storage on my Mac? ›

Mail storage is consumed by various attachments that come with your emails. These attachments range from sent documents and other files to signatures from subscribed company newsletters. Once you open an attachment on your Mac, it automatically gets downloaded on your computer.

How do I clear my Mail app cache on Mac? ›

How to clear Mail cache manually
  1. Open Finder Window; select Go>Go to Folder.
  2. Type in the following and press enter ~/Library/Mail/V8.
  3. Check through the folders you find here and remove items to the Trash.
  4. Empty Trash once finished and test the Mail app.
10 Jun 2021

How do I free up Mail storage? ›

How to clear space
  1. In the Search box, type has:attachment larger:10M.
  2. Click Search . Note: Replace " 10 " with a higher number to delete larger files.
  3. Select the emails you don't need, then click Delete .
  4. On the left side of the page, click Menu. Trash.
  5. At the top, click Empty trash now.

Does deleting Mail free up storage? ›

Deleting removes emails from your inbox. It does save up space, but you won't be able to ever again access your emails. This puts you at risk both in financial and legal terms. You won't be able to produce evidence for ediscovery and litigation.

What is the fastest way to clean up mail on Mac? ›

In the Mail app on your Mac, do one of the following:
  1. Choose Mailbox > Erase Deleted Items, then choose an account.
  2. In the Mail sidebar, Control-click a Trash mailbox, then choose Erase Deleted Items.

What happens if I clear all my cache on Mac? ›

And remember, a clean Mac is a faster Mac. Clearing out the cache will also: Remove personal data that's stored by sites or apps. Refresh online content so you aren't loading anything outdated from the cache.

What happens if you delete cache on Mac? ›

Deleting the application cache is safe

Applications on your Mac create temporary files they can use to speed up performance. If the cache gets too large or contains a corrupt file, clearing out that app's cache folder can free up disk space and may improve application issues.

Is it safe to clear cache on a Mac? ›

Is it safe to delete Mac caches? It's good to be careful about deleting stuff from your Mac, but it's generally safe to remove cached data. You shouldn't run into any major issues if you delete cached files from system-level (/Library/Caches/) and user-level folders (~/Library/Caches/).

How do I reduce Mail storage on my laptop? ›

If you go to Control Panel instead of Settings, and go to Mail (32-bit), then a window "Mail Setup - Outlook" will open, click "Data Files..." and then go to the "email" tab and delete any accounts. This deleted locally stored files - 12GB of them! Problem solved.

Why is Mac Mail downloading thousands of messages? ›

Mail App Always Downloading: Sometimes It's Normal!

This message means your Mail app is syncing across your various email accounts. Even though it uses the term downloading it's actually checking for any syncing between accounts.

How do I check my Mail storage on my Mac? ›

In Mac OS X Mail, to check your storage space: In the Mailbox column on the left side of the main Mail window, select your inbox and press Command-i . Alternatively, Control -click your inbox and select Get Account Info or Get Info.

How do I free up Mail storage on my Mac? ›

Free up storage space for email accounts in Mail on Mac
  1. Delete large messages or messages with attachments, or move the messages to a mailbox on your Mac. ...
  2. Delete attachments that you saved. ...
  3. Empty your Trash mailbox.

Does deleting emails free up space on Mac? ›

Attachments in Mail can occupy several gigabytes of disk space on your Mac. Manually removing them to free up space can be a long and laborious process. If you do decide to use a manual method, deleting them from within Mail is the safest option. However, it's much easier to use CleanMyMac X to do the job.

How do I free up storage without deleting anything? ›

Top 7 Ways to Free Up Space on Android Without Deleting Apps
  1. Find and Remove Large Media Files. ...
  2. Delete Downloads From Streaming Apps. ...
  3. Clear Cache for Frequently Used Apps. ...
  4. Try Lite Apps. ...
  5. Use Cloud Storage. ...
  6. Free up Storage From Google Photos. ...
  7. Check Storage Manager. ...
  8. 5 Cool Hidden Android Gestures.
10 Aug 2022

How do I delete thousands of emails? ›

How to Mass Delete Emails on Gmail
  1. Log in to your mail account.
  2. Navigate to the Inbox folder.
  3. Click the top checkbox.
  4. Click the “Select all [number] conversations in Inbox” option.
  5. Click the Delete button.
7 Dec 2022

What is the easiest way to clean up storage on a Mac? ›

Move or delete files
  1. Delete music, movies, podcasts, or other media, especially if it's media that you can stream or download again as needed.
  2. Delete files in your Downloads folder. ...
  3. If you use the Mail app for your email, choose Mailbox > Erase Junk Mail from the menu bar in Mail.
7 days ago

Does deleting messages on Mac delete from Iphone? ›

If you use Messages in iCloud, deleting a message or conversation on your Mac deletes it from all your devices where Messages in iCloud is on. See Access your messages on all your Apple devices.

Why is my Mail Storage full? ›

The easiest method to free the space from a Gmail account is to delete unnecessary emails, photos, and attachments. If you use Gmail in the mobile app, then there are chances that Google Photos has auto-synced all your images and videos. So, remove the unnecessary images and videos from Google photos to free the space.

Why is my email Storage full? ›

Getting some storage space back can be done by deleting trash items, spam, old newsletter, and useless emails, which sounds simpler in theory than in reality. You can free up space by also deleting the file versions on Google Drive and restricting Google Photos to High Quality.

What files can I delete to free up space? ›

Here's how to free up hard drive space on your desktop or laptop, even if you've never done it before.
  • Uninstall unnecessary apps and programs. ...
  • Clean your desktop. ...
  • Get rid of monster files. ...
  • Use the Disk Cleanup Tool. ...
  • Discard temporary files. ...
  • Deal with downloads. ...
  • Save to the cloud.
23 Aug 2018

What caches should I not delete on Mac? ›

System cache, as you'd probably expect, is data created by macOS that helps your Mac run smoothly. Because it's connected to the operating system we would recommend against deleting any system cache, unless you are using a specific tool to do so.

Will deleting system cache delete everything? ›

Clearing the system cache can help to resolve issues and improve the performance of your phone by removing temporary files associated with the Android operating system. This process will not delete your files or settings.

Does clearing cache delete anything important? ›

Tip: Clearing the cache simply clears temporary files. It won't erase login credentials, downloaded files, or custom settings.

Is it OK to delete cache files? ›

Clearing unused cache files on Android is a decent way to free up space temporarily and comes in handy when troubleshooting app issues. But it's not something you should do often, or through unreliable third-party apps. Use it only as a specific tool when needed for device performance.

How often should I clear my cache Mac? ›

There's no real need to delete it very often at all, but you can't hurt anything except your page-loading speed by clearing the cache frequently if that's what you're comfortable doing. I clear mine every few days. I only clear cache when I am having problems. If i have no problems, I see no reason to clear cache.

How do I free up cached memory on Mac? ›

How to clear the cache on Mac: User cache
  1. Open Finder, click go and click Go to Folder.
  2. Type ~/Library/Caches.
  3. Right-click on a file.
  4. Click move to Trash.
5 Dec 2022

Can I delete Mail app on Mac and reinstall? ›

Good news: while you can't completely delete and reinstall Mac Mail, you can do it on iOS. Simply touch and hold the app until you see the option to remove it. In case you want to reinstall Apple Mail because it's freezing and crashing, we'll show you how to reset Mail on Mac.

How do I stop Apple Mail from downloading all my emails? ›

To find them:
  1. Click Settings (gear icon) in the upper right corner.
  2. Select See All Settings.
  3. Click the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab at the top.
  4. Look for Folder Size Limits and then check "Limit IMAP folders to contain no more than this many messages."
  5. Select 1000, 2000, 5000 or 10000.
  6. Click Save Changes.
5 Nov 2021

Is there a limit to emails in Mac Mail? ›

Limits on sending messages

The total number of messages you can send each day (1000 messages) The number of recipients you can message each day (1000 recipients) The maximum number of recipients per message (500 recipients) The size of incoming and outgoing messages (20MB, up to 5GB with Mail Drop turned on)

What happens if I delete Mail folder on Mac? ›

WARNING: Deleting a mailbox permanently deletes the mailbox and its contents (including other mailboxes), and can't be undone. In the Mail app on your Mac, select a mailbox in the Mail sidebar. Choose Mailbox > Delete Mailbox.

Why does my email use so much Storage? ›

Chances are that a handful of large messages are responsible for taking the most space in your Gmail account. Every time someone emails you a short video, a set of pictures, a PowerPoint presentation, or similar, those files sit in your inbox and continue to take up space.

Why does my Mac keep downloading thousands of emails? ›

This message means your Mail app is syncing across your various email accounts. Even though it uses the term downloading it's actually checking for any syncing between accounts.

How do I reduce Mail Storage on my laptop? ›

If you go to Control Panel instead of Settings, and go to Mail (32-bit), then a window "Mail Setup - Outlook" will open, click "Data Files..." and then go to the "email" tab and delete any accounts. This deleted locally stored files - 12GB of them! Problem solved.

Is 10 GB of email storage enough? ›

A 10GB email will easily crash an email client

A 100MB email can hose an email client, never mind 10GBs. Gargantuan-sized emails are definitely a web-only thing.

How many emails is 1gb? ›

One Gigabyte (GB) is approximately 1000 Megabytes (MB).
What does 1 Gigabyte (GB) of data get you?
Activity1 GB =
Web pages600 web pages
Email/Instant Messaging350,000 messages
Streaming video (HD)30 minutes of video
5 more rows

How many GB of email storage do I need? ›

Mailbox storage

Look for email hosting services that offer plenty of email storage space for archiving essential messages. A good standard that should be kept in mind is a minimum of 2 GB of email storage space.

Why is my Mac storage suddenly full? ›

This usually happens if you have too many outdated files, old logs, caches, and apps you no longer use. What makes the situation challenging is that most of these Mac storage gobblers are system files you never actually see.

Where is Mac Mail stored? ›

To get to the Mail folder on a Mac, click the desktop to make sure you're in the Finder, press and hold the Option key, choose Go > Library, then select the Mail folder. If you're importing messages from a Windows or UNIX computer, select “Files in mbox format,” then locate the folder containing the files.

Can I delete the Mail app on my Mac? ›

Use the Finder to delete apps

Most apps are in your Applications folder, which you can open by clicking Applications in the sidebar of any Finder window. Or choose Go > Applications from the menu bar in the Finder. Use any of these ways to move the app to the Trash: Drag the app to the Trash.

How many emails is 15 GB? ›

I would estimate about 147,855 emails. In my inbox, I have 9,857 unread emails which takes up 1.08 GB out of the 15 GB you have. Multiplying the 9,857 by 15 you get 147,855. How do I create 50 Gmail accounts?


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5. Why is My Mac System Storage More than 100GB?
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6. How To Delete 'Other' Files From Any Mac
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