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When I am using Apple Mail, it insists on downloading the full body and attachment 100.000+ email I have on gmail, which eats up my hard drive, and makes the interactive search function annoyingly slow.

Is there any way to make Mail only create indexes for Subject/From fields, and keep all the actual mail content remotely?

Possibly, it could cache "new" mail locally (from the last week or so), but to cache the full body of every single mail from years ago is just insane with the amount of mail one has these days.

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Did you set it up in both GMail and Mail as IMAP? –  maksimov Jun 27 '13 at 15:49
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2 Answers

Apple's mail will download all the mail that the server tells it about.

Since that's how the mail client was designed and codes, you will need to go to gmail's web interface and hide some of the folders from IMAP access to prevent mail from ever seeing the messages. Exchange has a setting to determine a time range of mail to sync, but google and IMAP do not have that feature.

Gmail -> Settings -> Labels

Most people I know that use mail like you describe (keep all of it all the time) choose to not show All Mail in IMAP and then just clean their inbox when the volume becomes unwieldy.

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+1 because I've been battling this with mail forever and never thought of this. Thanks @bmike!! –  ckpepper02 Jun 27 '13 at 14:57
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One possibility is setting Gmail to POP mail in Mountain Lion - a well-hidden but perfectly viable choice.

The trick is to hold down the Option key on the Create button, when adding an account, which turns the button into "Continue" and you can go on configuring it as a POP account.

In addition, I have my GMail accounts configured on the web as both IMAP, for the phone and iPad, and POP on the desktop ... working fine, for a long time.

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I see a downvote, but no explanation of why? –  RawFocus Jul 21 '13 at 21:49
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Does POP limit downloads by protocol or is there some setting that is configurable to prevent downloading all 100k messages? –  bmike Dec 11 '13 at 14:35
    
Open Mail preferences and look at the Advanced pane of your account. Where it says, "Remove Copy From Server" it doesn't mean to your computer, it means delete from server, period. Erased. So it's a "convenience" you don't have to use. –  Zo219 Dec 18 '13 at 20:23
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