Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 11, 2022
Hi everyone,

I'll be picking up my new Macbook Pro M2 Max this week. I am currently using a mid 2009 Macbook Pro. I use Mac Mail for my ISP and have several thousand e-mails archived on my Mac many of which are important but only needed to be filed. I also have a lot of junk e-mail but don't really want to go through several thousand e-mails and delete them. I have made backups in Time Machine on an external drive. Is it possible when I set up my new Mac mail to receive current e-mails from my ISP server but block the population of archived of old e-mails from the server so it only brings in new e-mails?

Thank you


macrumors 68030
Mar 17, 2010
The essence of the IMAP protocol (for communication between mail client and server) is that it keeps the client (apple Mail) in sync with what is on the mail server (gmail, outlook, etc.).

So when you first run Mail on your new Mac (and connect to your mail services) Mail will synchronise with the servers, downloading all your mail.

At some point (either before on old Mac or after on the new) you need to be more organised about archiving old mail to somewhere outside Apple Mail. You could delete mail after either a) print emails to PDF or b) copy message files out of the mail library. I don't recommend either of these approaches (particularly the copying message files). Much better to use an email archiving program (it will cost you money, but save on time). I suggest either:

EagleFiler (which I use), or
Mail Archiver (looks equally good).

Both have free trials.
  • Like
Reactions: gregmac19


macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
I realize it's a job, but I'd go through that junk mail and get rid of it.
Or... just bite the bullet and delete it ALL AT ONCE, be gone!


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 11, 2022
Thanks for the advice I figured I will have to delete the junk. I have a backup on all my devices so may not even port the account.


macrumors 603
Nov 28, 2013
I create a smart mailbox which shows all mails over x years old (I edit it as required).

I then drag all those mails to an "On My Mac" mailbox. So, they're still on my laptop but it takes them away from my IMAP provider. However, as it seems I am nowhere near close to running out of space with my IMAP provider, I've since copied them all back :)

So now I use the "On My Mac" mailbox as a backup.
  • Like
Reactions: harshar
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.