Transferring from Gmail to Mail?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by paulparkie, Oct 6, 2009.

  1. paulparkie macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2009

    Ok... so I have been an avid Gmail user and fan since in was released. I have only been a Mac user for a little over a year now, and love it! I have only just recently tried to make the switch to using 'Mail'. Until now I've just used Gmail, but I wanted to try Mail because it syncs seamlessly with everything, auto-suggests calendar entries and to-dos etc. However, my questions are these: How much HD space do the emails take up? Are the still stored on Google's server (through Gmail), or do they take up my HD space?

    I know you can archive Mail emails... but are they still searchable like they are on Gmail... I'm sure I read somewhere that once they're archived in Mail, you can't search for them through 'spotlight'... and finally - the most annoying thing... can you make it display/save emails in conversations like Gmail does? ... I really want to use Mail, but that one thing alone annoys me a lot!

  2. devburke Guest

    Oct 16, 2008
    E-mails don’t take up much HD space at all. How much yours specifically will take up depends on a lot of things. How many e-mails you have, the content of those e-mails, attachments, how long you keep the e-mails, etc. But in general, they won’t take up much space.

    However, there are a couple things you should be aware of if you’re concerned about space. First, Gmail is unique in the way that it uses labels rather than folders. In most e-mail setups, an e-mail only exists in one folder, whether it’s the inbox, trash, or anywhere else. In Gmail, instead of folders you have labels, which show you all e-mails that are given that tag, and an e-mail can be given as many tags as you like. So when sees these labels, it treats them as folders, and so any e-mails that have more than one label are actually downloaded multiple times, and a separate copy is kept in each folder. But again, this really shouldn’t be an issue unless you have a very large amount of large e-mails, because individual e-mails are very small.

    Personally I only use the default folders 99% of the time (now and then I’ll create a “Saved” one).

    As a result of that, the All Mail folder as it shows up in Mail will keep a separate copy of every e-mail you have. The absolute largest this folder will get is limited by the Gmail space limit, which is currently a little over 7 GB, but I’m guessing you’re nowhere near that (because that would be a TON of e-mail). I don’t use the All Mail folder actually, and there is a Gmail Labs feature that allows you to tell certain folders not to show up in IMAP clients if you’d prefer (I turn off Starred, Chats, and All Mail for IMAP).

    The one other thing you should know about space is that it depends on these settings:

    Screen shot 2009-10-06 at 3.15.43 PM.png

    If you keep your e-mails forever, they will naturally start to take up more space over time.

    But really, I’ll only say it one more time, you shouldn’t have to worry about the space they take up. If you have little enough HD space that you can’t easily take an e-mail hit, you’re in pretty urgent need of a new HD.

    Oh, and to answer the other part of that question, they’ll be stored both on Google’s servers and your HD, so you’ll have access to them whether you’re offline on your computer or signed in to the Gmail website.

    As for archiving mailboxes, you shouldn’t have any reason to do that. It’s not the same as Gmail’s “archive”. In Gmail it just means keep it in the “All Mail” folder. In Mail, archiving a mailbox saves it to your HD somewhere so you can remove it from and restore it if you ever need to. You really shouldn’t need to archive. As long as an e-mail is anywhere in, Spotlight will find it, and find it fast. I actually prefer’s search to Gmail’s by a long shot.

    As for conversations, it won’t work exactly the same. But most e-mail replies quote the text of the original message right below the reply anyway, so you can see the conversation history there. Also, has an option under View to “Organize by Thread”. What this does is lumps all of the e-mails in the current mailbox that are from the same thread together (provided that you don’t alter the subject line other than adding things like Re: and Fwd:).

    Screen shot 2009-10-06 at 3.28.59 PM.png

    Screen shot 2009-10-06 at 3.29.19 PM.png

    It won’t lump e-mails from different mailboxes (so if you’re in your Inbox, messages from Trash won’t appear there).

    Unless you’re using Snow Leopard, don’t let automatically set up your account, because it will set it up as POP, when you should use IMAP. See [URL="”]here[/URL] for more information on Gmail and IMAP, including instructions and the difference between IMAP and POP. Also see [URL="”]here[/URL] to get Mail working right with Gmail’s Sent/Trash/Junk/Drafts folders. The last thing I’d tell you to be aware of is that if you do like to use Gmail’s “All Mail”, skip that link’s instructions for the Trash part, because putting an e-mail in Gmail’s Trash will remove it from everywhere else.
  3. kr.reyes macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2009
    Gmail - Mail

    I imported all my mail from Gmal to my Mac Mail, however, I just realized that I failed to uncheck the "remove copy from server after retrieving" check box. Is there anyway I can return all of my mail back to my Gmail server so I can access them online?

    Thanks in advance
  4. devburke Guest

    Oct 16, 2008
    It sounds like you have it set up as POP, so much of what I said won’t apply to your setup. You can set it up as IMAP alongside your POP and just drag the e-mails into the IMAP folders.
  5. kr.reyes macrumors newbie

    Oct 6, 2009
    And that will send mail back to the server? I'll try that. Thanks!
  6. devburke Guest

    Oct 16, 2008
    As long as the folders you drag them to are Gmail IMAP folders (and not just On My Mac folders), it should.

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