I have about 31,300 emails in 4 different inboxes in Mail. Sadly to say, it is extremely slow.

Is there any tips or trips to optimize Mail? And no, I don't want to delete any, I need them for work.

  • What kind of hard drive do you use? Oct 9, 2012 at 0:39
  • Uh, whatever is in my 24" iMac. Oct 9, 2012 at 7:23

2 Answers 2


The easiest thing to do is clean up the index file Mail uses to track the messages:

  sqlite3 ~/Library/Mail/V2/MailData/Envelope\ Index vacuum;

Thanks for this tip to the estimable Brett Terpstra. The linked article explains how to make an AppleScript file to measure things before and after to see if the operation thinned out the size of the file Mail uses to store the pointers to the messages. I would add, quit Mail and make a backup before trying to clean the file. A vacuum operation is normally harmless, but why not get a backup just in case.

Also, this thread probably goes back to @bbum and his weblog-o-mat and perhaps even deeper back...

  • Joshua- Awesome! That was driving me crazy and mail is running blazing fast again. Thanks.
    – user44068
    Mar 1, 2013 at 6:35

For me the sqlite3 vacuum didn't speed Mail.app back up.

The thing that returned my Mail.app to blazing fast speeds was deleting the mail sandbox folder.

  1. Quit Mail.app
  2. Delete the folder ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.mail (use rm -r ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.mail from Terminal, or in Finder press Cmd-Shift-G, enter ~/Library/Containers then find the com.apple.mail folder and drag to trash and empty trash)
  3. Relaunch Mail.app

Source: https://discussions.apple.com/message/20662231#20662231

  • Great! The only disadvantage for me was the reset of the Mail.app UI. The speed is incredible now. Feb 21, 2013 at 16:30

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