Gmail IMAP & Apple Mail - significantly faster with SSD solid state drive?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by katewes, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. katewes, Nov 7, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2012

    katewes macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2007
    This is a very specific question about improvements from SSD (solid state drives).

    I've heard that improvement from SSDs are mostly in system and app startup boot times, but that SSDs don't make much difference to the actual running speed of the app.

    For me, Apple Mail is my main working app which I use for most of the day for office emails. A time-consuming aspect of Apple Mail is the time it takes to sync and update with Gmail. I have a large Gmail database, about 6GB, and have several Gmail IMAP accounts run through Apple Mail.

    In Apple Mail, if you click the Activity menu item, it brings up a window where you can see when Mail is synching with Gmail.

    Question: would changing to an SSD make a difference to the operational speed and, in particular, the IMAP synching speed with Gmail IMAP?

    I already know that SSDs speed up boot times and startup times.

    This question is specific to Apple Mail, Gmail IMAP and any benefit from using SSDs.

    I have a 2.8GHz, Core2Duo, 8GB MBP mid-2009 -- and recently bought a 2012 11" MBAir, 1.7 GHz i5, 8GB with SSD. Naturally the Air with SSD runs faster with Gmail IMAP, so I wondered whether that speed increase was more from the processor or from the SSD.

    The reason I am asking this is because I'm wondering if I add an SSD to the older MBP, would I get significantly faster Gmail IMAP sync, or would that only come by upgrading to a faster processor?
  2. netslacker macrumors 6502

    Jan 21, 2008
    Not really, no. SSD will speed up your local activities (boot, app loads etc) and will speed up app activity providing it's primarily local app activity (like movie editing, image editing, file saves and reads, etc). However, GMail and Internet and all those activities are highly dependent on other entities (not your computer) such as your internet connection speed and the speed of the service you're interacting with. Hence, there's virtually nothing you can do to your computer to speed up those activities since the bottlenecks are not in your control.
  3. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I agree with netslacker that an SSD is not going to help with this.

    An idea though... look in Mail app and do you see the GMail "All Mail" folder there? If you do, that is the source of part of your problem. With GMail's default IMAP settings it will download new mail messages to the INBOX and also to the All Mail folder, so you end up downloading every message twice. If you have multiple GMail accounts, this will really slow you down.

    To fis this login to each account at and in settings for the the Labels tab and uncheck "show in IMAP" for the All Mail label. Save then leave the page.

    Now quit Mail app and restart. You will see the All Mail folder is gone and new messages will come in twice as fast.

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