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Trimming Apple Mail to prevent iCloud storage from getting full
So, as a paid user of MobileMe, Apple provided you with 20 GB of iCloud storage. Suddenly, in October ’13, Apple removed 15 GB of that, and you’re getting messages from Apple that your iCloud storage is getting full, or even the dreaded message, “Your iCloud storage is full… You can no longer send or receive messages with your iCloud email address…” Apple is strongly encouraging you to buy more storage. Do you have any other options?

As Apple suggests, go to System Preferences > iCloud > Manage > Mail. At that point, Apple recommends, “To free up storage used by Mail, erase messages in the Junk and Trash folders.”

That’s a good start, but that’s not nearly enough. If that shows that Mail really is the culprit in hogging your iCloud storage, try deleting the attachments from your received and sent mail! That can reduce your iCloud storage tremendously. (That alone cut mine down from about 4.8 GB to 1.2 GB).

To find your mail with attachments, in Apple Mail, you can go to View > Sort by Attachments. Make certain the files are shown in descending size, so you can easily find your mail with attachments. Alternatively, you can create a Smart Mailbox by going to Mailbox > New Smart Mailbox. Name your Smart Mailbox “Has Attachments” and set the condition to “Contains Attachments.” Select “Include messages from Sent” but deselect “Include messages from Trash.”

Once you’ve found your mail with attachments, save any attachments that you want to keep (one way to do is is to go to File > Save Attachments). After you’ve saved any desired attachments, select the messages with attachments, and go to Message > Remove Attachments. If you want, delete those messages too. You may have cleared gigabytes of iCloud storage.
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Alternative - move to local storage
Authored by: jscotta on Nov 14, '13 08:46:47AM

If you don't have the time to go through all of your mail attachments now, I don't want to do would be to create a Ford or on your local drive and simply drive the dropping your mail from the server onto the local drive. These days every computer comes with at least terabyte storage. Adding new storage is relatively cheap. So occasionally moving three or four gigabytes of Mail to your hard drive will be barely notice.

Windows because I have to. OS X because I want to.

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Not "suddenly" at all
Authored by: Strod on Nov 14, '13 09:02:47AM
Good suggestions.

But the statement "Suddenly, in October ’13, Apple removed 15 GB of that" is quite frankly borderline inflammatory and very misleading as it suggests a very different picture from what actually happened.

The reduction in space was not something that happened "suddenly". Apple notified MobileMe users that it would grant them 20 GB of free space for only one year after MobileMe was to shut down on June 30, 2012.

Furthermore, Apple stated that would be the case almost one year before MobileMe was shut down. And furthermore still, Apple extended the freebie for three months (it was originally set to expire on June 30, 2013).

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Trimming Apple Mail to prevent iCloud storage from getting full
Authored by: jeaginsky on Nov 14, '13 09:30:59AM

thanks to OP. this is a nifty solution to a nagging problem.

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Trimming Apple Mail to prevent iCloud storage from getting full
Authored by: dbourbon on Nov 14, '13 11:15:58AM

From Mail Help:
"Mail will not delete an attachment that you have edited or saved."

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Trimming Apple Mail to prevent iCloud storage from getting full
Authored by: selasley on Nov 16, '13 10:18:35AM

There is a longstanding bug in Mail where removing an attachment from a message with quoted-printable encoding can change the content. To see the bug, send a plain text message to yourself with a long line of text containing the string =41 =42 =43 =44 and an attachment. The long line should cause the body to be encoded as quoted-printable. If you remove attachments from the sent or received message the =41 =42 =43 =44 string now appears as A B C D. If you view the raw source of the message before and after removing attachments you can see that the encoded = characters, =3D, are now just = characters.

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