How do I delete some of my 31 million emails?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by ThisOldSpouse, Oct 15, 2014.

  1. ThisOldSpouse macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2014
    Seriously, I was watching my MacMail load, and it had so many of 31,234,907 messages loading? :eek:

    How do I delete most of these? There's got to be a cache somewhere that they're all hiding in. I thought all this time I'd been deleting my messages older than a year, but apparently they've taken up residence somewhere else.

    Help please. I have a MacBook Pro running Mavericks.
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    If you have the email set up as IMAP then they're living on the server. Yes, they're cached on your computer too. Look in your ~/Library/Mail folder.

    If you delete them from the ~/Library/Mail they'll just get re-downloaded.

    You need to remove them from the server.

    I'm not sure how you accomplished to have so many emails, but it will be a huge undertaking to clean them up no doubt.
  3. stridemat Moderator


    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    If you really have that many emails I would just bin that account off and start with a new fresh email account again.
  4. ThisOldSpouse thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2014
    I can't just start all over. I have 7 email accounts for the different businesses I have, and one personal email account that I've had for several years. I can only assume that every email I've ever sent or received is being stored somewhere that I can't determine. I did set my preferences to delete mail off the server, but I see I still have millions of emails downloading. This is severely hampering the performance of my MacBook. I just need to get some advice on how to delete all those old messages.
  5. Bending Pixels macrumors 65816

    Jul 22, 2010
    If you have 7 email accounts, I'd suggest managing most of them from a web based client vs. Mail. i.e. if you've got a Gmail account, manage it from Gmail's web client, and so on.

    From there, simply start cleaning up all of the emails you don't need, and archiving the ones you do need to keep.

    That many emails will choke any email client.
  6. ThisOldSpouse thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2014
    The reason I use MacMail is for the convenience of having all my accounts in front of me, and I don't have to log out and log in again for each account I have. That being said, I don't understand where all these emails are coming from that are downloading. If it's a matter of going to a cache somewhere to delete old emails, I'll be happy to do that. Mail should work correctly, not have me circumventing it. Isn't there a cure for this?

    I hate trying to access Gmail online. Also, it would be really difficult to try and access those email accounts on my iPhone.


    I don't have this folder on my hard drive. :mad:
  7. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    With this many emails. I would simply contact the different email providers and ask them to clear your inbox before a certain cut off date. That would likely be the easiest and quickest way to clear out all those unwanted emails. Then you can take what has already downloaded and delete those off your computer.

    Otherwise you'll just have to wait for them to download and then do a select all and delete them. But you won't be able to do this until they have finished downloading. Most likely it would be far slower to try and do it through the web interface since most of them only allow you to select some small grouping at a time say 50 emails.
  8. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Quite frankly, this is why is use POP instead of IMAP -- and will continue to use POP until it is no longer available to be used...
  9. MacTCE macrumors 6502


    Dec 20, 2013
    Upstate NY
    If that's the case do you only access your email from one location?
  10. Bending Pixels macrumors 65816

    Jul 22, 2010
    That's why you have 31M emails.... Common sense should tell you having 7 email accounts all dumping stuff into the same client - it'll get clogged really fast.

    As another poster noted, if any of your accounts can be switched from IMAP to POP, do it.

    One more thing...when you delete emails, empty the trash - get rid of 'em
  11. gtstricky macrumors regular


    Apr 19, 2012
    If you suffer from OCD stay out of this thread. This guy will drive you nuts.
  12. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    I have three Macs, all are set up with POP.

    On one of them (my "main mail" Mac), I have the Mail prefs set to remove messages from the server when I collect them.

    On the other two, I have deselected this option -- mail is never removed from the server when read.

    Thus, I can "read" as-yet-unread mail (that has not been retrieved from the server yet) on ANY Mac.

    But I actually save and manage mail from only my "main mail" Mac.

    I also use "Mailbox Manager" to preview ALL mail, and filter out junk before it is even downloaded from the server.

    That's how I do it. Then again, I'm only an end-user and don't manage multiple accounts.
  13. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    Your inbox should not be a dumping ground for mail you don't know what to do with. I just checked and I have 8 messages in my inbox. I have a number of folders to keep emails organized and out of my inbox.
  14. kirsch92 macrumors member

    Apr 30, 2009
    For Google, log in by browser and go to Gmail. Then Settings and "Forwarding and POP/Imap"

    Change the settings there to your liking so that the server doesn't keep all that garbage forever.

    Yahoo mail has a similar setting I used like "auto empty trash every (week)"

    Otherwise that stuff never goes away.

Share This Page

13 October 15, 2014