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In iOS6, is there a way to check how much space is being used by the Mail app?

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I've totally re-done my answer. My guess is this is a bug in communicating to us whether Mail data is a cache and can be arbitrarily deleted by the OS when storage space gets low and the omission of Mail in storage views is intentional, but poorly documented and understood. – bmike Apr 3 '13 at 17:22
up vote 1 down vote accepted

It's quite hard and you might need to delete the mail and measure the space freed since iOS isn't showing Mail usage like it does for other apps.

In theory, you should be able to Open the Settings app and presumably:

  • Select General.
  • Select Usage.

Wait for the Storage pane to calculate the current allocation and you will see sorted from most space to least, the combined application and application data usage for each app. If Mail isn't on the list, scroll the content up and tap the "show all" entry below the initial list of apps using the most storage space on iOS.

As things stand, you will not get Mail as an entry in this list (and might spend several minutes looking for a smallish blue icon among a list of hundreds of apps).

My theory is that Apple has implemented code to prune mail storage gradually as your available space becomes low. That would mean that all Mail on iOS is a temporary cache and just like Safari pages held in cache.

If all Mail storage is simply an offline cache and not something you can depend on being on the device if you download a large game or take video and otherwise use up your storage, one viewpoint might be that the correct action is to not show the size of this cache no matter how large or small since when push comes to shove, no mail will be retained on the device if space gets low.

At best, you might need to actually save a snapshot of your usage and then delete the accounts for Mail from your device and then calculate the difference by assuming all the space freed was due to Mail storage caches.

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I did that, and did again, the Mail app is really not there. – Tom Brito Apr 3 '13 at 16:53
Yup - I filed a bug report with Apple on this. Are you using iCloud as I am? Or purely non-Apple email sources? – bmike Apr 3 '13 at 17:04
I'm using non-Apple e-mail sources (GMail). – Tom Brito Apr 3 '13 at 17:06
I'll add that to my bug report with Apple. Thanks. I understand why they didn't do the work to calculate Mail's storage needs since the system almost surely will delete Mail storage at will once you start filling up your space as part of the low free space cleanup - but I'd rather see how much space it's using even if Apple has programmed measures to ensure Mail space is always temporary and sacrificed once storage space gets low. – bmike Apr 3 '13 at 17:08
To be clear - I don't agree with the decision to not list Mail as using storage in the Settings app. It should be coded and exposed to the user to decide. Not hidden under the carpet and ignored IMO. – bmike Apr 3 '13 at 17:09

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