Mail ate my memory? Please help

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Phononic, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. Phononic macrumors newbie

    Mar 6, 2013
    Short Version: Mail apparently for some reason decided to re-download all hundreds of thousands of my sent messages to my laptop, eating up hundreds of MB of memory for messages that I know I already had downloaded / stored on my laptop. How do I un-do this action to reclaim my HD space, and prevent it happening again in the future? Is this indeed what happened?

    More Detailed Version: I've been experiencing internet connectivity issues the last few days. As a consequence, I've not been confident that all my e-mails have been going through. I do all my e-mailing through the native Mail app, installed on my MacBook Pro (running OS 10.6.8, and Mail version 4.6).

    Recently, to confirm that an e-mail had indeed gone through, I opened my "sent" folder to check that it showed up in there. At that point, a little circle appeared next to me "Gmail" sent folder on the left-hand panel (with the little icon of an airplane), and it started filling up like a pie-chart. I'd seen this behavior before, but usually only for a second or two when I suspect it's doing some sort of checking to be sure that all messages are in place. This time, however, the pie was filling up slowly, so I opened up my HD Info, and saw my memory disappearing. I quit mail, and the memory stopped disappearing. I opened mail again, and it started to disappear again as the pie progress chart continued to fill. This continued until it had eaten up a few hundred MB of memory.

    My guess is it for some reason re-downloaded all my sent mail? However, I don't have "duplicate" sent messages now, and I already had all my messages downloaded before, so there was no reason for it to do this (I hadn't changed any mail settings etc.). How can I get my memory back? Is it possible this has happened more than once without my noticing? I do seem to have some kind of phantom "drain" on my computer's HD memory, and I am very careful about HD space management, so it's always been suspicious to me.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated,
    Many thanks.
  2. Crusader007 macrumors member

    Dec 17, 2013
    for freeing up unused memory, open terminal and type purge
  3. justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    Think you misunderstand the OP, he's talking about Harddisk space, but I was confused as well in the beginning.

    His email Database grows and this takes up hundreds of Mbytes, but this is normal if he has 100.000s of emails in this DB.
  4. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    OP>> I assume from your description of the issue you are using OS X Mail client with Gmail's IMAP settings. With that setup all of the bajillion messages you now have on Gmail will be downloaded and synced to Mail app.

    You can ratchet that back a lot by going to and in the settings look at the IMAP tab and use the setting below to lower the number of messages synced over IMAP.


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