what do you use for email?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by ghanwani, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. ghanwani macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 8, 2008
    #1
    I just recently got a mac and am in the process of migrating my data over from the PC. I primarily use gmail for my email, but I have some old email that I used to use Outlook Express for that I need to migrate over.

    I was trying to decide between Apple Mail and Thunderbird.

    What format does Apple Mail store emails in? Is there an option to store them as plain text? I'm pretty certain Thunderbird will save it as text, but if Apple is better for search or whatever reasons, then I would prefer to use that than to download a new app. I would also prefer to have control over which directory the emails get stored in.

    Thanks for any insights.

    Anoop
     
  2. richard.mac macrumors 603

    richard.mac

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    #2
    Apple Mail is great and very easy to use. just create a new account with your gmail address and password and youre done!

    Mail stores emails in the Mbox format and you can set emails to be displayed in plain text in its preferences. The search is awesome fast just search for anything that you know is inside the email youre looking for and it will show up instantly. Also not sure about storing your emails in a different directory. The emails are stored in home/Library/Mail/ but everything you need to do is inside Mail, unless you want to move the location.
     
  3. ghanwani thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Are Mbox format files readable as text? I don't care about the viewing as much as I care about the format of the storage.

    Also, can I can the location of where the mbox files are stored?

    Thanks,
    Anoop
     
  4. richard.mac macrumors 603

    richard.mac

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    #4
    each email is an emlx file stored inside the mbox and you can read it using QuickLook, but just opens with Mail. if you open the emlx email with a text editor you can read it.

    example here is my first email from Google welcoming me to Gmail :p

    /Users/rich/Library/Mail/IMAP-username@imap.gmail.com/INBOX.imapmbox/Messages/4.emlx

    Screen shot 2010-10-24 at 5.17.22 PM.png

    and i dont think you can change the location of Mail's emails but you could copy your IMAP folder to another drive and then place a symbolic link to it in the Mail folder.
     
  5. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #5
    If you want your messages stored as plaintext, Mail is not for you.
     
  6. ghanwani thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Thanks. What are my options? Is Thunderbird a good option?

    Anoop
     
  7. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    Jul 17, 2002
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    USA
    #7
    You are asking the wrong question. You are not trying to export messages from your Mac; you want to import your messages to your Mac. The messages stored on the Gmail server will be immediately accessible from your Mac, whether using Mail, Thunderbird, or anything else. As for your files [including email messages], every Mac ships with Migration Assistant. This utility is there to move your files from your old computer to your new computer. Even without Migration Assistant, Mail can import messages from a number of other email clients. Included among the supported email clients is Outlook Express.
     
  8. Middling macrumors regular

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    Jan 25, 2009
    #8
    Mbox files are plain-text and are one of the standards for storing email on *nix systems. Basically all emails in a folder are combined into a single plain-text file (like Outlook's pst files on Windows, only readable :D).

    Mail.app hasn't used the mbox format for the past few OS releases though. It now uses a modified Maildir format (Maildir is also a *nix standard and i prefer it). In Maildir each email is stored as an individual plain-text file. Apple's version adds some custom XML to the bottom of each email so you may have trouble importing them into another application (although you could probably import into Thunderbird, which uses mbox, and from there to another application).

    Mail.app isn't configurable in this way, but you could probably trick it using symlinks.

    Despite its problems i still prefer Mail.app over the alternatives on the Mac, although Thunderbird is good (and Postbox is better than Thunderbird, but expensive for an email client).
     
  9. belltree macrumors 6502

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    Tokyo, Japan
    #9
    Outlook 2011 for the simple fact that Like having my Mail, Calendar, Tasks, etc in one application. I am no fan of Microsoft but I can't turn Outlook 2011 away.
     
  10. ghanwani thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 8, 2008
    #10
    Thanks for the reply.

    The goal is to migrate the old email messages over to my mac, but I want to do it in a format that will make it easy to read my messages on a PC or Unix Machine if I decided to go that route down the line.

    I don't want to pull my messages from gmail. This only applies to really old messages that I've had sitting on my PC for years. Text messages are the easiest to deal with because it is trivial for any mail program to support that. As an example of migration pain, I have some old MS Word documents that cannot be read by Pages, but I have no problem reading text files that are 20 years old!

    And one of the things that I'm looking for in a mail program is to be able to locate the directory for email at a place of my choosing. Outlook Express allowed me to do that.

    Anoop
     
  11. Detektiv-Pinky macrumors 6502a

    Detektiv-Pinky

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    #11
    You can export and import mbox files quite easily from and to Mail.

    This should give you all the flexibility if you later should decide that you want to move your email to another platform. Almost any mail program (on *nix and PC) can handle mbox files.
    Mail export is called 'archive' in Mail, you can export a whole folder hierarchy or each mail folder individually.
     
  12. ghanwani thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 8, 2008
    #12
    I was expecting to see lots of "thumbs up" responses for Thunderbird but it doesn't look like that is case...sounds like most everyone seems to think that sticking with Apple Mail is a good enough option and shouldn't hinder any future migrations.

    I guess the only sticky thing is the location of the mail folders...it sounds like if I choose to go the Apple Mail route, I would have to play around with symbolic links to be able to locate the folders where I want.

    Thanks for all the responses.

    Anoop
     
  13. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    #13
    You don't have to play around with anything. You message files are stored in a well-defined location.
     
  14. ghanwani thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 8, 2008
    #14
    I know I don't have to, but I want to...I have a directory I call "home" and my entire directory structure sits under there...photos, documents, etc. When I want to back stuff up, that is the only directory that I need to bother with. I don't want to have to think about backing stuff up from 2 or 3 places.

    Thanks,
    Anoop
     
  15. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    #15
    What are you talking about? Your home directory is the only directory that you have to backup. You do not have to think about backing up stuff from two or three places. What made you think otherwise?
     
  16. ghanwani thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    What I'm calling "home" is a directory created by me under the unix home directory. It doesn't include all of the directories that MAC OS has such as Documents, Music, etc.
     
  17. fcortese macrumors demi-god

    fcortese

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    Big Sky country
    #17
    I use Apple Mail. Everything else on my MBP seems to integrate with it so mcuh easier. I do use Friefox, but I've enver tried T'bird. I guess it comes down to what you are more comffortable with using.
     
  18. sup3r1or macrumors regular

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    Jun 24, 2010
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    Manchester, UK
    #18
    I kind a hate mail and just use browser:)

    Why Mail is bad for me? I have Gmail with over 2 GB of stuff on it AND I DO NOT WANT TO STORE THIS ON HDD, everytime I try to connect my gmail through MAIL app it just keeps on downloading everything to my HDD and I hate that because it takes ages. I want it to be like Android gmail app that shows what you have but not downloading any msg unless you tell it to.
     
  19. jahala macrumors regular

    jahala

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    Feb 7, 2008
    #19
    My situation was similar to that of the OP. I wanted to migrate my messages from Outlook to the Mac. Having tried Thunderbird, Eudora, and just about every other mail client for the Mac, I decided Apple Mail is the best for me. The files are stored in mbox or emlx format, both of which are human readable. It also integrates nicely with everything else.

    In fact, the integrate between applications is one of the great things about working on a Mac. It is so convenient that I am willing to jump through a couple hoops to get everything in Apple's applications.

    As for the guy who does not want Mail to download all his messages, that is one of the options in the Accounts preferences. Go to the Accounts section of Preferences and select your gmail account. In the Advanced tab, change the combo box under "Keep copies of messages for offline viewing:" to the option you prefer.

    I discovered the other day that I have over 10 GB of mail and attachments on my hard drive. There is no noticeable difference in Mail's performance from when it was mostly empty.
     
  20. jahala macrumors regular

    jahala

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    Feb 7, 2008
    #20
    I think you are making things unnecessarily complicated for yourself, but of course I don't have the whole story. Are you trying to make it easy to transfer things you know you want to keep and leave all your settings behind?
     
  21. ghanwani thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 8, 2008
    #21
    Bingo. When I backup, I'm just looking to back up non-recoverable stuff. I don't want to be backing Google's cache of everything I've surfed in the last x days, which looks like would be part of the "gunk" in the main unix home dir.
     
  22. ghanwani thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 8, 2008
    #22
    Finally got down to trying to do the migration to Apple Mail today. I just realized that Apple Mail will not import .dbx files (from Outlook Express). I downloaded Thunderbird, and that won't accept .dbx files either.

    I did some googling around and it looks like there's something called dbxconv that might be able to help, but I'm not sure it's reliable.

    Any suggestions for how to get my .dbx files migrated over?

    Thanks,
    Anoop
     
  23. Detektiv-Pinky macrumors 6502a

    Detektiv-Pinky

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    Location:
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    #23
    Look at this article:
    http://hints.macworld.com/article.php?story=20040325164915651
    It is quite old, but in the comments people are discussing recent options.

    Keep us posted how you solved the migration of the Mailboxes into your 'Home' folder. I use a similar setup (except for Mail) and would be interested.
     
  24. natekettles macrumors member

    natekettles

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    Aug 9, 2010
    Location:
    Cape Town, South Africa
    #24
    I know its probably not the best option, but I use MailPlane. This is because I like the gmail interface and I like storing my mail in the cloud for easy access at college, other PC's, etc.

    I should probably try Apple Mail...but..
     
  25. ghanwani thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 8, 2008
    #25
    Made some progress with this today. :)

    I used my work computer and downloaded a copy of dbxconv.
    [A dbx converter is available for the mac but it costs $49;
    dbxconv is free but it only runs on Windows. Instead of
    paying $49, if I had to work with my mac alone, I would
    have paid for VMware's Fusion which is a few tens more
    but then allows me to run any Windows app.]

    Anyway, I copied the files to a USB drive, copied them to
    my work computer, ran dbxconv (with the -ic and -dn options),
    copied the .mbx files back to the USB and then imported them
    into Mail. Mail doesn't require the files to be .mbox, but an
    artifact of not having them, means you end up with a bunch
    of folders with names "foo.mbx", instead of just "foo".
    Probably not a big deal.

    I think the next step, of creating a symbolic link to these
    files within my home directory should be fairly trivial at
    which point I should be done with this project.

    Anoop
     

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