Improving Apple Mail performance

If you regularly use Apple Mail as I do, and you have thousands of mails stored, you will notice that mails may take a few seconds to load, particularly old ones. In my case, I have around four thousand mails, with a envelope database of about 8Mo.

There is a solution (found via Hawk Wings) which involves a bit of Terminal usage that will boost your Apple Mail, and it will reduce the used diskspace as well. The speediness was noticeable in my case, and diskspace was reduced at about 5Mo.

First of all, quit Mail, open a Terminal, and change the directory to Library/Mail:

daniel:~ daniel$ cd Library/Mail

Then, open the Mail sqlite3 database issuing the following command:

daniel:~/Library/Mail daniel$ sqlite3 Envelope Index

Rebuild the subjects database and exit:

SQLite version 3.1.3
Enter ".help" for instructions
sqlite> vacuum subjects;
sqlite> .quit

You may open Mail now and see if it has improved the performance for you.

For those of you afraid of deleting your mails, here is what the vacuum command does:



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Yes, it worked for me!
From a database size of 30M with pop and imap accounts, I got to 10M and now it seems much faster.


Anonymous on Friday, March 02 2007 @ 04:30 PM CET Reply | #


About is a blog about technology, opinion and random thoughts written by Daniel Alvarez, a computer engineer currently living in Zurich, Switzerland.


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