OS X Mail Maintenance

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Eusebius, Feb 24, 2007.

  1. Eusebius macrumors member

    Dec 9, 2006
    Back when I had Thunderbird in Windows XP, I used to compact mail folders every now and then (click "File -> Compact Folders"). Quote from a Thunderbird web site:

    "When you delete or move e-mails from a folder, Thunderbird and other e-mail programs simply hide them (and mark them as ready for physical deletion later on), and these hidden e-mails still actually remain in the folder. Even emptying the Trash does not physically delete them. These hidden e-mails are physically removed only when the folder is compacted. If you don't compact your mail folders periodically then they can grow very large and erratic program behavior may occur."

    Is this an issue with the OS X mail application? I can't find any mention of compacting folders anywhere in the application.
  2. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    Under 10.3 or earlier, yes; I forget what the exact command was, but this was true.

    Under 10.4 (and I assume later, when there is a later), Mail.app no longer uses a "flat" file for it's mail (that is, one that needs to be rebuilt to remove things from the middle of it). Instead, it stores each message as an independent file.

    Although the wisdom of this approach is up for debate, the advantage is that it's quite easy to delete messages. When a message is deleted from the Trash folder, it really is gone.

    Generally people have the trash folder set to automatically remove messages after a certain period, but if you want to get rid of them manually you can control/right click on the trash and select "Erase Deleted Messages" or alternately do the same on a particular folder, which will wipe only the messages from that folder (you'll notice they disappear from the trash when you do this).

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