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In looking to make some room on my MacBook Pro's Hard drive, I ran the excellent Disk Inventory X

As I expected, movies, my Aperture Archive and other media-intensive files took up a ton of my space. But I was surprised to find that files that Disk Inventory X categorized as "Mail Message" took up a whopping 22 GB.

I mostly use Apple Mail as my email client, although I've been giving Sparrow another try lately. But in either case, other than a legacy MobileMe account that I never use, Gmail is my mail provider (and storage facility).

What the heck is stored locally in that size, and can I safely delete it somehow?

(I can't fathom it matters, but I'm running Lion.)

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Mail is caching your Gmail contents and this is normal for IMAP. See this SuperUser question and answers for possible solutions and implications regarding SpotLight search through emails:

  • Disable all message caching
  • Disable attachment caching
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sincere thanks - I read the SU question, but are my only options really A) disable local storage, or B) store everything I've ever gotten, at 22GB and counting. (Yes, I see that I can save without attachments, but that only partially addresses the issue.) It seems odd that I can't wither clear it, and save local going forward, or set it to locally save the most recent XX messages, or up to YY days. – Jaydles Mar 22 '12 at 20:49

I'm thinking it's probably messages, attachments, indexes, and logs. If you clean them out, you could just try using the online Gmail if it happens again. Otherwise, there's probably a setting for Mail that allows you to choose how many messages to store, and whether to download attachments. (I'm not at my Mac right now)

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