Mail Uses More Disk Space Than It Should

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by eboyer7, Jan 3, 2010.

  1. eboyer7 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    #1
    Hi. I recently set up Mail to sync my Gmail account via IMAP to my mac running OSX 10.6.2. I have just over 3100MB of e-mails in Gmail (as seen from within a browser), but for some reason the Mail folder in my user account's Library folder is over 12GB. I looked into it to see what's going on, and for some reason it seems that all my e-mails have been duplicated 3 or 4 times. But in Mail, my inbox shows up properly, and no messages are duplicated.

    I'm pretty sure I set everything up properly in Mail, so I don't see why this would happen. Perhaps it's because my Gmail account makes extensive use of labels when I organize my e-mails in a browser? (I have about 30 labels, and many e-mails get multiples labels).

    Also, I should note that I don't actually use Mail for anything. All my e-mail reading, sending, and organizing occurs in a browser; I only set up Mail so that I have a copy of all my e-mails on my own computer, which is useful when I don't have access to internet. So, I pretty much haven't touched Mail since I set it up.

    Any idea what's going on? Let me know if I should give more details about my configuration.
     
  2. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    How so?
     
  3. eboyer7 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    #3
    There wasn't much to set when setting everything up. First I enabled IMAP in Gmail from the browser, then in Mail I entered my name, e-mail address, and my e-mail's password. Everything was created automatically from there, and my Gmail account's existing messages were all downloaded at this point.

    My current settings in Mail are:

    In the "Account Information" tab:
    Incoming Mail Server: imap.gmail.com
    Outgoing Mail Server (SMTP): smtp.gmail.com:[my user name]. This server's settings are "Use default ports (25, 465, 587)", "Use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)" is checked, and Authentication is done by Password

    In the "Mailbox Behaviors" tab:
    Drafts, Sent Messages, Junk Messages, and Deleted Messages are all stored on the server.
    Sent Messages, Junk Mail, and Deleted Messages are never automatically deleted.

    In the "Advanced" tab:
    "Enable this account" is checked
    "Include when automatically checking for new messages" is checked
    "Compact mailboxes automatically" is checked
    "Keep copies of messages for offline viewing" is set to "All messages and their attachments"
    "IMAP Path Prefix" is empty
    "Port" is set to 993, and "Use SSL" is checked
    "Authentication" is "Password"
    "Use IDLE command if the server supports it" is checked

    I think those are all the relevant settings.
     
  4. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #4
    In your OP, you said something about setting up 30-odd labels. What about these labels? Do any of them have the same names as Gmail's reserved categories?
     
  5. eboyer7 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    #5
    By reserved categories you mean "All Mail", "Drafts", "Sent Mail", etc, right? None of my labels have those names.

    One potentially interesting fact is that one of my labels is called "Comp/tech/sci". In Mail, this shows up as Comp being a folder, with tech being a folder within it, and sci being a Mailbox in the tech folder.
     
  6. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #6
    This is because the forward slash ("/") is a reserved character in UNIX and Unix-like operating systems. Each forward slash denotes a level of hierarchy in the directory (folder) structure of Unix-like operating systems. MacOS X is supposed to prevent you from using reserved characters, but you seem to have outsmarted the system.
     
  7. eboyer7 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    #7
    Ya, I thought that was the reason. I doubt that this label would be causing the disk usage space problem though: the Comp/tech/sci label only has about 1/6 of all my e-mails, so I can't see how it would make my Mail folder 3 times larger than expected.

    To figure out the space usage problem, I guess it'd make sense for me to say what's taking up all the space in the [my user]:Library:Mail folder (not sure why I haven't done this yet). So, here's the structure:

    - The Library:Mail folder is 12.76GB (compared to 3.11GB in my Gmail account)
    - Inside the Mail folder is a bunch of small files and folders, and then there's a folder called "IMAP-[my gmail address]@imap.gmail.com", which is 12.73GB
    - In the "IMAP..." folder there is a folder called "[Gmail]" (which is 8.27GB), as well as ".imapmbox" files for each label that I have in Gmail. Each ".imapmbox" file contains the messages and attachments for all e-mails that have that label, and all these files seem to be the right size (considering what e-mails are in them).
    - In the "[Gmail]" folder there are ".imapmbox" files for all the reserved labels: All Mail, Drafts, Sent Mail, Spam, Starred, and Trash. All these files seem to be the right size considering what's in them.

    So, it would seem that all the files and folders are probably the right size, BUT there is a lot of duplication. For example, the "All Mail.imapmbox" contains all of my mail, so every other file and folder will have duplicates of what "All Mail.imapmbox" has. Also, I'm guessing (but not sure) that any e-mail that has multiple labels will show up in multiple of these .imapmbox files.

    So, either there is a setting in Gmail/Mail is causing this duplication problem, or Mail has a bug in which it can't handle complicated Gmail labelling systems like mine. Any idea which it would be?

    Also, does anyone else have this problem with their Mail folder being larger than they would expect it to be?
     
  8. eboyer7 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    #8
    A few days ago I tried deleting my Mail account and re-creating it. When I deleted it I made sure that it was actually gone by checking the Library:Mail folder, and it was indeed gone. I then set up my account again, but it's using just as much space as before for the same reason: it's duplicating any messages that appear in multiple labels in my Gmail account.

    I'm starting to think this is a bug in Mail. Anyone have any further input before I send feedback to Apple about this?
     
  9. mrfnay7 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2010
    #9
    I am experiencing the same issue

    This morning I got a message saying that my startup disk was full. I've spent all morning trying to figure this out and I found this thread. I checked and my IMAP Gmail folder is taking 12.24 GB on disk (my Gmail account online says I am using 4.4 GB).

    1.5 GHz PowerBook G4, 1.25 GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
     
  10. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #10
    Gmail presents each label as an IMAP folder. If you just left your email in 'Inbox', the presence of All Mail would guarantee that Mail.app would see twice the email that Gmail reports. It's not Mail.app's fault.

    Luckily, you can go to Google Labs and turn on "Advanced IMAP Controls", which will let you use the "Labels" tab to control which labels Gmail makes visible to IMAP. I turn off the All Mail label.

    A.
     
  11. HellDiverUK macrumors 6502

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    Oct 24, 2009
    Location:
    Belfast, UK
    #11
    Why on earth would anyone possibly need 4.4GB of email? Delete some of it. :rolleyes:
     
  12. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #12
    Some of us use email for more than just play. It's important and necessary to keep emails that relate to business, and it's also important for many people to keep emails from friends and family. To suggest deleting emails is inappropriate.
     
  13. HellDiverUK macrumors 6502

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    Oct 24, 2009
    Location:
    Belfast, UK
    #13
    But, 4.4GB? I have sites that have 20 architects and the whole site's Exchange database isn't 4.4GB...

    Here's a little word for you: archival. Google it. :)
     
  14. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    May 16, 2008
    #14
    I have around 7,000 emails (over 4GB), and it doesn't need to be archived. I need to be able to quickly search and reference any of them, when clients have questions. There's no reason at all for anyone to have to archive email, when disk space is so cheap. The size isn't determined by how many people use it or even how many emails you have. Attachments can significantly affect the size.
     
  15. eboyer7 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    #15
    Alrescha you're a hero!! I'm still using 7.65GB instead of 3.12GB, but that's cause I want my e-mails to be organized by labels in Mail, so I'm still synchronizing Inbox and all the labels (which makes quite a few duplicates). But, at least I saved almost 5GB!

    I guess my feedback will be going to Google rather than Apple, to tell Google to mention this issue in the setup guide for setting up Mail.



    As Alrescha said, it's very useful to keep all e-mails. Being able to search for absolutely every e-mail that I've ever had in the past 5 years has been very useful to me MANY times. I have almost 13,000 e-mails, but I don't plan on ever deleting any of them. Gmail's inbox capacity is increasing faster than how quickly I'm using up space, so I don't think I'll ever run out of space on Gmail's servers. Plus, harddrive capacity has become so cheap that using up even dozens of GB on my computer for e-mails is mostly trivial.

    Btw, if you're wondering how I manage to use up so much space, it's mostly because I send and receive lots of photos and files to friends.
     
  16. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #16
    By "all e-mails," do you mean all email? I mean are you hanging onto SPAM, chain mails, and holiday sales notices?

    I have just about every email message that I have received from my friends, family, colleagues, and business contacts since 1996. My entire Mail folder requires less than 1.3 GB of space.
     
  17. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #17
    Both Gmail and Apple Mail have very effective spam filters, so no, those get deleted and don't take up space. As said before, the size of your email "library" is greatly affected by attachments. You could have 50,000 emails (mostly text), and still use less space than someone with 1,000 emails with large attachments (photos, files, etc.)
     

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