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Save disk space by deleting copies of Mail attachments Apps
By default, Mail will keep file attachments that you've opened or viewed in your ~/Library/Mail Downloads folder, until you delete the associated email. You can save disk space by making the following switch:

In Mail's preferences, go to General, then set Remove unedited downloads to When Mail Quits. This does not remove the attachment from your email, just from your local cache of Mail Downloads.

On one machine I've got, I reclaimed nearly half a gigabyte after using the system for only a few months! I can't wait to see how much I get back on a system I've been using for 5 years!

[kirkmc adds: I find it odd that Mail keeps these attachments after you view them, since they're still in the emails. This is only an issue, however, if you save emails with attachments; if you delete them, then the default setting deletes the cached files as well.]
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Save disk space by deleting copies of Mail attachments
Authored by: auco on May 17, '13 07:46:07AM

Note that the name of this folder is localized. In German it's called "Geladene Mail-Anhänge" (Downloaded Mail Attachments)



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Save disk space by deleting copies of Mail attachments
Authored by: Andrew J Freyer on May 17, '13 08:25:47AM

@kirkmc - Mail saves the attachments for offline viewing.



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Save disk space by deleting copies of Mail attachments
Authored by: petersconsult on May 17, '13 04:33:14PM

I was going to say the same -- for IMAP connections, Mail keeps these offline so they're available without needing to re-download them each time...

Just another reason to stick with good-ol' POP...

Cheers,
Peter



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Save disk space by deleting copies of Mail attachments
Authored by: Makosuke on May 17, '13 05:52:00PM

Right--it actually makes a fair amount of sense on IMAP connections so you don't end up re-downloading large attachments repeatedly, since I'm pretty sure IMAP attachments are NOT downloaded along with the messages during a sync.

Example: I have a message with 10MB of large images attached to it in an IMAP account. With the "delete on quit" option selected, every time I view that message, if I have quit Mail since the last time, it will need to re-download those 10MB of images to display them. For someone like me, who passes a lot of images around via email (business reasons), that would be incredibly annoying--it would render Mail.app nearly unusable, in fact.

Edited on May 17, '13 05:53:09PM by Makosuke



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Save disk space by deleting copies of Mail attachments
Authored by: mousyak on May 17, '13 09:40:00PM

Not really. Your comment made me test it - I disconnected from my internet connections and test-opened a bunch of attachments. They all opened no problem, without complaining that there was no connection to the IMAP server. I quit Mail, saw them deleted from the above mentioned folder, and repeated.
Attachments are stored offline in Mail, and this folder is a duplicate location when the user decides to open the attachment...
Just my 2 cents..



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Save disk space by deleting copies of Mail attachments
Authored by: Makosuke on May 20, '13 04:03:43PM

Interesting. I stand entirely corrected, then.

I had always assumed, since when you first view an IMAP message with large image attachments you can see the image attachments queueing for download, that they were going into that folder.

This being the case, this is a very valuable tip for those short on disk space (those of us with SSDs, in particular).



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Save disk space by deleting copies of Mail attachments
Authored by: Strod on May 20, '13 07:06:28PM

Actually you were partially right. The thing is that most email clients have an OPTION that allows you to keep copies of messages with or without attachments for offline viewing.

For your desktop or laptop computer turning this option on makes a LOT of sense, and I believe it is the default for Apple Mail and Outlook.

For other mobile devices like smartphones and tablets this option does NOT make a lot of sense so many mail clients don't even include it.



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Save disk space by deleting copies of Mail attachments
Authored by: ShawnLevasseur on May 17, '13 11:08:55AM

After noticing that this folder was taking up a lot of space on my mac, I cleared it out, and then set up a Hazel action for it, so that files added to it will only be in there for a few months, then trashed.



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Save disk space by deleting copies of Mail attachments
Authored by: barefootguru on May 18, '13 04:54:30PM

Under Mountain Lion my version of this folder is ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.mail/Data/Library/Mail Downloads

@petersconsult not sure why you'd want to run POP in this day and age. I check the same e-mail accounts on 4 different devices, IMAP's the only way to stay sane doing that. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Message_Access_Protocol#Advantages_over_POP



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Save disk space by deleting copies of Mail attachments
Authored by: demure on May 20, '13 02:16:31PM

I think they may be linked



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Save disk space by deleting copies of Mail attachments
Authored by: Makosuke on May 20, '13 04:07:34PM

Seriously.

I'm as big a fan of local storage as the next luddite, but when you try to access three different mail accounts from a home desktop, a home laptop, a work desktop, an iPhone, and an iPod Touch in any functional way, POP does not cut it. Besides, with offline caching, there's really not that much difference between IMAP and POP (unless the IMAP server instructs your local computer to purge the entire contents of a folder or something, in which case you're relying on your local backup).



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Save disk space by deleting copies of Mail attachments
Authored by: richie on May 20, '13 05:58:34PM

Thanks for the heads up. I found my downloads folder in the same place. Running Mountain Lion 10.8.3.



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Save disk space by deleting copies of Mail attachments
Authored by: demure on May 20, '13 02:24:13PM
You can use the following to wipe out the attachment dirs: find ~/Library/Mail -name "Attachments" -depth -exec rm -rf {} \;

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Save disk space by deleting copies of Mail attachments
Authored by: smartblogger on May 21, '13 05:00:20AM

to clear disk space basically I create rules, It helps me to manage my account more efficiently.



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Save disk space by deleting copies of Mail attachments
Authored by: bluesmanyo on Nov 13, '13 09:08:44AM

Hello,
I had the same issue about having large amount of attachments in Mail, so I've done a little script to save attachments file into an external drive or directory, and also delete all attachments files gracefully
If IMAP, nor just 'find', is not enough for your case, maybe the script could be useful:

https://github.com/blues-man/mail-attachments-util

chmod 755 mail_util.sh
# Recover all attachments, organized by accounts and Folders, putting them on an external drive set explicitly in the script
./mail_util.sh
# Delete all attachments asking for each account
./mail_util.sh --delete
# Delete all attachments asking for each file per account
./mail_util.sh --delete --ask

Bye



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