After upgrading to Mavericks, I see that the Mail app has been upgraded to version 7.0, and that the setting for "Check for new messages" has been changed from my previous setting (every minute) to a new "Automatically" option.

According to the help screen, this means that "Mail varies how often it gets messages, based on whether your Mac is plugged into an electrical outlet". My Mac is plugged in, and I've been keeping an eye on the Activity window, and I've seen intervals of 20 minutes, 7 minutes and 9 minutes between checking for mail. It is, of course, possible that I missed an update - I haven't been obsessively staring the Activity window.

Does anybody know what the intended behavior of the app is, when the "Automatically" option is selected? If not, is there a way to increase the log level to try to work out what the app is actually doing? I've looked in the Console and there appear to be no log events associated with the "Fetching new mail" activity I see in the activity window.


According to Dan Frakes @ macworld.com:

In the General screen of Mail’s Preferences window, you’ll find a new option in the ‘Check for new messages’ pop-up menu called Automatically. This option essentially allows Mail to support push-style message retrieval—you receive new messages immediately, rather than at the next scheduled check.

  • 4
    Interesting, but it doesn't seem to work with my company's Exchange server. I wonder if there is something else that needs to be configured to get that working. The account is configured as an "Exchange" account in the mail app, but there is still a delay before messages appear in Mail: they turn up on my iPhone significantly faster. Nov 5 '13 at 18:42
  • Yes, I'm seeing the same behaviour on Exchange 2007. I suspect there is additional setup needed somewhere, or limited support for this feature to work as you'd expect. Checking for new messages every minute still seems the quickest way to get new emails in Mail (and Outlook 2011).
    – pknz
    Nov 6 '13 at 3:43
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    I saw that MacWorld article, and I think it's flat out wrong. At least for Exchange servers, push email requires ActiveSync, which would be a very big deal if supported by Apple Mail because Outlook for Mac doesn't even support it.
    – wst
    Nov 8 '13 at 18:04
  • Only managed to find this tidbit on Apple's KB: support.apple.com/kb/HT5847? "OS X Mavericks OS X Mavericks v10.9 and later do not use SyncServices. Instead, Mavericks supports sharing your information using several network-based and cloud-based solutions. If you want to sync your information across multiple devices and computers, you should use one or more of these methods. These include iCloud, CardDAV servers, CalDAV servers, and servers that utilize the Exchange ActiveSync protocol."
    – pknz
    Nov 10 '13 at 21:20
  • But on this KB support.apple.com/kb/PH14873 it only mentions EWS. "For an Exchange account to be set up in Mail, the Exchange server must support Exchange Web Services (EWS). Contact your server administrator for more information."
    – pknz
    Nov 10 '13 at 21:30

I have a mix of 5 x Pop3 and IMAP email addresses; and emails were arriving 4 minutes prior on my iPhone before arriving on MAIL. My experience has been that switching to Check for new messages "every minute" as opposed to "Automatic" has increased the immediacy of the messages coming in.


In my case, I don't use and Exchange server. Just bought a new mini with Mavericks preloaded. Although I have checked "Check for new messages every minute", I've found that I have to press the "Get Mail" button in order to receive messages. Prior to this on my 2009 mini that had Snow Leopard, I'd get my emails instantly (also having the 'Check every minute' selected. No other preferences were changed between both versions. Like others, I'll get them on my iPhone quicker.


Bare in mind one of the big changes in mavericks was around reducing power consumption.

There were a number of features added to the operating system around reducing applications polling all the time (because Wifi and network connections use up battery power quickly). Mavericks has a feature called 'AppNap' which is around applications putting themselves to sleep when not needed.

For more details see http://arstechnica.com/apple/2013/10/os-x-10-9/12/#energy-saving

I'd expect the behaviour of Mail when set to automatic to be different when on or off battery power, and also when other applications are busy or not. I've turned off automatic on my work computer because it is not immediate enough.

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