Apple OSX Mavericks Mail slow and memory consuming

If you are like me and you have been using Apple OSX for a while you might notice that the Mail application has the tendency to slow down after a while. Since Mavericks OSX Mail it also consumes a huge amount of memory.

After searching on the Apple support forum I finally found a solution that solved most of my memory usage and performance issues with Mail.

Let me start by explaining what is causing my issues. This way I’m not waisting your time with a solution that is not solving anything for you.

The main cause for my issues is that I’ve had several accounts configured in the recent years. Although I was still only using one configured mail account, older mail accounts and content is still saved on disk and scanned while opening the application. As OSX uses memory to improve performance a lot of this content was also stuck in memory.

Luckily there is a very easy way to check if this issues applies to you as well.

OSX Mavericks Mail

Open up Finder and go to the root folder for your user account.

OSX Mavericks Finder User Folder

While the user folder is selected go to View and select Show View Options

Mac Finder Show Library Folder

Select Show Library Folder

Now open the path User Folder –> Library –> Mail –> V2

OSX Finder Mail V2 Folder

In the screenshot above the content of my V2 folder is shown, as it is right now after cleaning up older mail accounts. I had 4 mail account folders still there which I removed.

Just remove the folders for the accounts you are no longer using and restart OSX Mail. You should immediately notice that it starts a lot faster and memory consumption is much lower.

Please leave a comment if this article works for you or you have a different approach!


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About Barry Schiffer

Barry is an IT Architect with 15 years of IT experience. He has gained both a broad and deep knowledge in the sphere of IT. Throughout the years, Barry has developed into a specialist in the field of Microsoft Windows, Server Based Computing, desktop and server virtualisation.Barry is co-founder and member of the Board of the Dutch Citrix User Group.Barry is awarded with the Citrix Technology Professional award in 2015 and received the RES Software Valued Professional award in 2012.

11 Responses to Apple OSX Mavericks Mail slow and memory consuming

  1. Maureen Small says:

    Since updating to Mavericks, my user account is no longer showing in my Finder sidebar. I tried using Spotlight to find the folder (username/library) – still nothing. Any suggestions on how to even find my root folder?

  2. Jeff W. says:

    Great tip! Saved me from installing another email client!

  3. MicMan says:

    Installed Maverick and it has given me much of a head ache. My user is now really slow. 25 sec to start up a program. Mail is showing many of the problems seen on various foras. Al also gained a dublicate of my archive. I don’t dare to delete it.
    I have 256 G space left on the machine, but when I try to install the Mail update to Maverick, then I am told that the disk is not available. When I log in as a guest, then the speed is much better. Any good ideas?

  4. Kushal says:

    Using 10.9.4..upgraded yesterday and my Mail on macbook(mid 2012) 15″ is all over the place..slow..multiple confusing folders..wrong count of flagged emails and so on..I have 3 email accounts set up..upon following above instructions i see a list of 6-7 different accounts..I want to know which ones to do i send you the details..can you please give me your email address

  5. I installed Yosemite and Mac Mail just taking off. I hear the fans kick on and I look at iStat and see the memory usage of Mail going from 500MB to 3GB to 4GB up to 10GB and then my Mac says it is out of resources. This version of the OS is pretty buggy. I am also having problems with Dropbox ever since I upgraded.

    I tried your suggestion above (found one entry to delete) and it still happens. I have about 10 active email accounts, ranging from IMAP and POP on GoDaddy. I used to use Thunderbird (and I like it a lot better), but I want to have my new iPhone and my Mac work together and play nice. So, I dumped my Android and got an iPhone.

    Anyway, Mac Mail is out of control and when this stars to happen, I can’t even close it. I have to manually kill it.

    How can this be diagnosed?


  6. Duncan says:

    My mail memory was up to 60GB, I deleted some unused accounts and it’s behaving much better. I am still getting some odd things happening in mail with random messages appearing in threads. but thank you for this tip.

  7. Rik Hunter says:

    The problem ends up being…what’s the point of trying to use an email client with multiple email addresses if they ultimately slow down the app? I have multiple accounts I use for specific purposes, and now is becoming non-functional. Sounds like bad design.

  8. Mike says:

    Hello Everyone!

    I was going out of my mind with this problem. My mail wouldn’t download, when it did it wouldn’t appear for long periods of time after clicking on the particular mailbox, my entire computer was slowed down to an almost stand still. YESTERDAY, I did a couple of things that seem to have done the trick.

    My CPU didn’t seem to be bogged down so I began trying some stuff…

    1. I had a couple of cloud services that would always open upon startup. JustCloud and ZipCloud. For whatever reason, they didn’t appear in my startup items and I didn’t know how to get rid of them. Looked it up and found something that said to go to APPLICATIONS and just drag the apps to the trash to uninstall them. Did that. Didn’t notice a difference – but it could have had a little bit of an effect.

    2. I’ve always had apple mail checking my mail “every one minute” so that I get email as soon as it’s sent. I changed that to “manually”because the computer seemed to be stuck in a process.

    3. The next thing I did – which I think was the bullseye – is I turned off iCloud. I DO NOT use iCloud, so I never thought of it. HOWEVER, Mavericks seems to automatically turn this on! Grrr… I turned this off and everything is working easily again!!

    Apple Mail is downloading email right away, emails appear in the mailboxes right away when I select them, and my system doesn’t seem like it’s having a seizure anymore.

    Yesterday, more than 45 minutes had passed and I still could not get all of my email to download, and anything that did – wouldn’t appear in my mailboxes yet. It was beyond frustrating and made it impossible to get anything done.

    I constantly got the beach ball and I have regularly repaired my permissions. So it really seemed like the computer was stuck in a process somewhere.

    Hope this helps someone else.

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