Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

Download Mail attachments to Downloads folder Apps
One thing that annoys me with Apple's Mail app is that it stores attachments to be opened in a separate folder (in ~/Library/Mail Downloads). I wanted to make those Mail attachments appear in a subdirectory of my Downloads folder (or alternatively, in the Download folder itself, or in /var/tmp, which I clear regularly with a cron task).

It's relatively simple to move the Mail Downloads folder to another directory, and then provide a symbolic link so that Mail.app can access it. Quit Mail if it's running, then open Terminal. Stay in your home folder (where Terminal starts you off), and enter this command:
$ mv Library/Mail\ Downloads Downloads/; cd Library; ln -s ../Downloads/Mail\ Downloads
Or alternatively, to make Mail downloads appear directly in the Downloads folder:
$ mV Library/Mail\ Downloads/* Downloads/; mv Library/Mail\ Downloads/.* Downloads/; cd Library; rmdir Mail\ Downloads; ln -s ../Downloads Mail\ Downloads
[robg adds: I tested this (moving the entire folder into the Downloads folder) in 10.6, and it seemed to work just fine.]
    •    
  • Currently 2.33 / 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  (6 votes cast)
 
[24,759 views]  

Download Mail attachments to Downloads folder | 9 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'Download Mail attachments to Downloads folder' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Download Mail attachments to Downloads folder
Authored by: jcbeckman on Sep 02, '09 08:14:45AM

Why not just go to Mail's preferences and select the folder that you want?



[ Reply to This | # ]
Download Mail attachments to Downloads folder
Authored by: sallythemac on Sep 02, '09 08:16:34AM

It doesn't work for me. When i use the second command i get the following error:

-bash: $: command not found mv: rename Library/Mail Downloads/. to Downloads/.: Invalid argument mv: rename Library/Mail Downloads/.. to Downloads/..: Invalid argument rmdir: Mail Downloads: Directory not empty ln: Mail Downloads/Downloads: File exists

Any ideas?

---
MacBook and iPhone.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Download Mail attachments to Downloads folder
Authored by: MurphyM on Sep 02, '09 08:53:04AM

It looks like you didn't escape the space in Mail Downloads with a backslash like in the post.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Download Mail attachments to Downloads folder
Authored by: harkey on Sep 02, '09 08:16:37AM

You know you can just specify which folder Mail downloads save in by going to Mail Preferences, right?

Often it's the simplest solution that should be tried first.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Download Mail attachments to Downloads folder
Authored by: sallythemac on Sep 02, '09 08:22:57AM

I think the tipster meant where the initial downloaded file is saved. As in, if someone sent me a video, Mail would download it (to the ~/Library/Mail Downloads folder )initially so i it could be viewed. Then, if i liked it, i could hit "Save..." and it would save a copy to my Downloads folder. But that means i have two copies of it now. It would be better, as this tip (if i can get it to work) suggests, to have them save directly to the downloads folder. Saves space, and it easier.

---
MacBook and iPhone.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Download Mail attachments to Downloads folder
Authored by: timcrawf on Sep 02, '09 02:49:12PM

If I understand what happens properly (and I just tried this). If you click the text portion of an attachment to open it, it will go to the ~/Library/Mail Downloads folder as the OP mentions. If you click the save button, it goes to the folder specified in Preferences, as mentioned in a couple of comments. So the first scenario is what the OP was referring to.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Download Mail attachments to Downloads folder
Authored by: MJCube on Sep 02, '09 12:39:43PM
I just Command-Option-dragged my ~/Library/Mail Downloads/ folder to ~/Downloads/ to make an alias. This avoids changing any defaults and avoids file duplication.

(I did this as soon as I started traveling with a MacBook and using Apple Mail for the first time; I still save all my e-mail in Eudora on my desktop Mac at home.)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Download Mail attachments to Downloads folder
Authored by: bitwise on Sep 05, '09 06:02:50PM

I haven't tested anything. But be careful of using this with Mail's preference to "Remove unedited downloads" set to something other than Never if redirecting to a folder containing other files. Hopefully Mail is smart enough to differentiate between files it placed there and those originating elsewhere, but if not...



[ Reply to This | # ]
Download Mail attachments to Downloads folder
Authored by: pbodifee on May 14, '10 11:04:38PM

I am not sure why attachments are downloaded in "Mail Downloads", I think to be able to modify the attachment while preserving the original.

As a test I deleted a few of these files and went back to the original mails containing these deleted attachments. As soon as I accessed the attachment in the mail using an external program (e.g. using quick look), the attachment reappeared in the folder 'Mail Downloads'. An embedded video will play without 'downloading' as long as no external program is used.

As the OP suggested these files can be deleted. At least version 4.2 of Mail has a setting in preferences > general called "remove unedited downloads' which can be set to 'when Mail Quits'. And it does exactly that: it deletes any file placed in the folder "Mail Downloads" which you haven't modified. However after the setting has been set, so any previous placed files need to be trashed manually.

Mail Downloads should eventually only contain attachments you modified. The original attachments are still in ~/Library/Mail/<mail_account>/<mailbox>/Attachments, unless you used the remove attachment function in Mail.

One caveat, you need to quit Mail from time to time. Something to keep in mind.



[ Reply to This | # ]