I have Macbook Air 2012 model (128 GB SSD) with Mountain Lion (10.8.2) and I am having difficulties trying to configure the mail.app. When I first tried to set-up my gmail account it started to sync my Macbook with my whole gmail account which is very huge (about 10 GB). Is there any way not to sync whole mailbox? Given the limited capacity of SSD I wanted to have something like we have on an iPhone where for instance only 1000 (or less) of emails messages would be stored locally.

  • By default Gmail syncs all mail folders (inbox, sent,...) using the IMAP protocol. To change what folders to sync to must enter your GMail account and customize the settings under labels.
    – gentmatt
    Nov 26, 2012 at 15:37
  • this will take a long time, I do not use labels and gmail with google-like search options makes my life easier without them. Is there no possibility to set a message quota like we do on an iPhone? Nov 26, 2012 at 15:45
  • No idea, you can right click on a folder in Mail.app to get more details, but I've never seen any options that limit the offline storage.
    – gentmatt
    Nov 26, 2012 at 16:54
  • It takes about 5 min to define a "do-not-sync" label in Gmail, turn off syncing for it, apply it to all mails and create a rule to auto-apply it all future emails. That's probably easier than mucking around with Mail.app.
    – nohillside
    Nov 26, 2012 at 19:45
  • why can't there simply be an option which would allow do decide how many of recent emails to keep offline?.. Most of the time we just need on-going email conversations. If I need to search an older ones I could use internet. Nov 27, 2012 at 12:12

1 Answer 1


I suppose that most of the space required by your mails is due to the attachments. In this case you can avoid to store tham.

Indeed, in Mail.app you can configure IMAP for keeping only the text for off-line viewing and not the attachments.

  1. Go to Mail > Preferences
  2. Go to the tab Accounts and select your account
  3. Go to the sub-tab Advanced
  4. In the first combo-box select "All messages, but omit attachments"
  • but what if I need an attachment from the letter eventually? Nov 26, 2012 at 17:31
  • @ParvizBagirov When you decided to download an attachment it will be saved on your drive. You can later ask Mail to remove it. An alternative is creating a Mail Box where you move a copy of the mails with attachment that you tipically need offline.
    – Maverik
    Nov 27, 2012 at 8:35

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