Mac Performance

How to Clear Mail Cache on Mac

Do you need to clear the mail cache on Mac? The built-in macOS Mail app is very popular with Apple users. It’s consistently one of the most-used email clients worldwide. After all, it’s free with your Mac, simple to set up, and has a variety of great features, including scheduled emailing, threaded conversations, and smart filtering mailboxes.

 

If you’re an iOS user, it can also sync with your iPad or iPhone, giving you a seamless email experience.

 

If you use the built-in macOS Mail app, you may find that occasionally you need to delete the mail cache on your Mac. Whether your Mail app is crashing, running slowly, or not loading new emails, it’s a good idea to know how to clear the mail cache on Mac.

 

You may already know how to clear the Mac cache or how to delete temporary files on Mac systems, but clearing the mail cache requires a few different steps.

 

In this article, we’ll explain what the mail cache is, why you might need to clear the mail cache on a Mac, how clearing the cache can affect performance, and, finally, how to actually delete the cache.

Before we start:

 

If you’re experiencing problems with the Mail app and want to clear your cache, you’ll want an easy solution. Rather than trying to clear the mail cache on your Mac manually, why not try a Mac cleaner? MacKeeper’s Safe Cleanup can delete caches, as well as other junk files, with just one click.

 

How to use MacKeeper’s Safe Cleanup:

  1. Download MacKeeper and follow the on-screen instructions to install it.
  2. Open MacKeeper and choose Safe Cleanup from the sidebar.
  3. Click Start Scan to detect caches and junk files.
  4. When the scan is complete, choose Clean Junk Files to remove all the junk files found, or select Caches or another category to remove particular files.

What is mail cache on Mac

Your Apple Mail app has a cache. When you receive emails, the Mail app downloads a copy of them and stores them in its cache file. The more emails that you download, the bigger your mail cache will grow. It does this so that you can access emails faster in the future, rather than re-downloading them each time you open the app.

 

However, when cache files get too big, they can cause problems for your Mac. Because of this, you should clear the mail cache on your Mac occasionally.

 

Most apps on your Mac will have a cache. The cache file will fill up and get larger as you use the app more and more—it’ll save data about what you do, files you regularly access, and your preferences and settings.

 

Your Apple Mail app cache is likely one of the largest caches on your Mac due to the amount of emails and attachments you receive. Apps such as Spotify may also have large caches because they download the media files you access.

Hint from our experts: If you have multiple Mac users and all use the Apple Mail app, they will all have their own mail cache, which they need to delete.

Why clear Apple mail cache

There are several reasons why you might want to delete the mail cache on your Mac. Maybe your Mail app is running slowly or not loading new emails.

 

The macOS Mail app is a great tool. However, like all applications, it can get clogged up with cache files over time. You might notice some key signs that suggest it’s time to remove mail cache on Mac.

 

Reasons to clear the mail cache on Mac:

  • Your Apple Mail app crashes, closes unexpectedly, or stops responding
  • Your Mail app is running very slowly or taking a long time to start up
  • Some emails aren’t loading, or the Mail app won’t check for new emails
  • The Mail app won’t send emails, even though you’ve entered your credentials correctly
  • Attachments won’t load
  • Your Mac is running low on storage space, and you suspect that your mail cache is responsible for some of that—read how to find out what’s taking up space on Mac computers

If you’re experiencing any of these issues, you might want to try to clear the mail cache on your Mac.

Note from our team: 

 

If you want to remove your mail cache on your ​​Mac because you’re running low on storage space, check out our article on how to free up disk space on your Mac.

Does clearing email cache on Mac delete emails

When you clear the email cache on Mac, all of your cached emails will be deleted from the Mail app. The next time you open the app, it will download them again.

 

If the Mail app has a lot of emails to download, opening the app the first time may be a little slower, as it creates a new cache file and downloads your emails again.

Our expert tip: If your emails are no longer stored on your mail server, and the only place that they are stored is in the Mail app, deleting the email cache may permanently delete them. If this is the case, make a backup of any important emails or attachments before you remove the mail cache on your Mac.

How clearing mail cache affects Mac performance

If you’re having problems with your Mail app’s performance, clearing the cache may solve the problem. It may help the Mail app run more smoothly and fix issues with downloading emails or attachments. If your Mac has low storage space, deleting the cache file may also help.

 

Deleting the mail cache can fix issues because, sometimes, the cache file develops a glitch. This is particularly common if it’s grown very large or it has been a long time since you last cleared your mail cache on Mac.

 

Once you’ve deleted a cache file, the app will create a new one the next time it opens. However, this new file shouldn’t have any of the glitches of the previous one.

Important: The first time you open the Mail app, it may take a while to load. This is because it has to download all of your emails again. Don’t be alarmed if this happens—you should see performance improvements once your emails have been downloaded!

How to delete mail cache on Mac

There are several ways that you can clear your mail cache on Mac:

  • Delete mail cache on Mac manually, then delete junk mail and attachments. You’ll need to use Finder, the Bin, and the Mail app itself to clear the mail cache this way.
  • Delete the mail cache on your Mac using a Mac cleaner, such as MacKeeper’s Safe Cleanup. This will only take a few clicks.

We’ll explain how to remove the mail cache on Mac in both ways.

1. Clear mail cache on Mac manually

If you’re confident deleting files in Finder, you can clear your mail cache manually. Here’s how to clear mail cache on Mac manually:

  1. Open Finder, and choose Go > Go to Folder.
  2. Type or paste ~/Library/Mail and press Enter.
  3. This folder will have another folder with a name beginning with V. On my Mac, it’s V10, but it could also be V8 or V9. Right-click this folder and choose Move to Bin.
  4. Empty the Bin by right-clicking on the Bin icon in the Dock and choosing Empty Bin.
Part of a Finder window on Mac. The Go menu is open, and Go to Folder is highlighted. Step one of instructions on how to delete mail cache on Mac manually.
Step 1. Open Finder, and choose Go > Go to Folder
The Go to Folder box in Finder on a Mac. The path ~/Library/Mail is shown. Step two of instructions on how to delete mail cache on Mac manually.
Step 2. Type or paste ~/Library/Mail and press Enter
Part of a Finder window in Mac. One folder is selected and the right-click menu is open, with Move to Bin highlighted. How to delete mail cache on Mac.
Step 3. Finder a folder with a name beginning with V, and right-click and delete it
Part of the Dock on a Mac, with the Bin selected. The right-click menu is open and Empty Bin is selected. How to delete mail cache on Mac.
Step 4. Right-click on the Bin icon in the Dock, and choose Empty Bin

To make sure that your mail cache doesn’t get too big in the future, you’ll need to take a couple of additional steps:

You can either manually perform those steps before clearing the mail cache on your Mac or afterwards. We’ve explained what to do below.

1.1. Delete the junk mail

The next time you open your Mail app, it will try to download all of your emails again. Therefore, we want to try to keep the number of emails to a minimum—obviously, you need to keep the important and useful messages, but we’ll explain how to get rid of your junk.

 

Lots of people receive dozens of junk mail messages a day—in fact, nearly half of all emails worldwide are spam. That number is going down each year, but chances are you still receive a lot of junk in your mailbox. And if you don’t regularly delete them, they can start to clog up your Mail app and cause issues.

 

How to delete junk mail in Apple’s Mail app:

  1. Right-click on any folder name in the Apple Mail app, and choose Erase Junk Mail. You can also go to Mailbox > Erase Junk Mail or press the key combination Option + Command + J.
  2. Confirm that you want to Erase the junk mail.
Part of the Apple Mail app, with the right-click menu open for a mailbox. Erase Junk Mail is highlighted. How to delete mail cache on Mac.
Step 1. Right-click on any folder name in the Apple Mail app, and choose Erase Junk Mail
A dialog box in the Apple Mail app, asking the user to confirm that they want to erase junk mail. How to delete mail cache on Mac: delete junk mail.
Step 2. Click Erase

Tip from us: If you receive lots of junk mail from the same senders, see if it’s possible to unsubscribe from their newsletters or emails before you delete them. Many messages have an unsubscribe link at either the top or bottom. You can also right-click on a message and choose Block Contact to stop that sender from contacting you in the future.

You can also choose to mark messages as junk when you receive them.

 

To mark messages as junk, open the email and click the Junk Mail button.

A toolbar from the macOS Apple Mail app, with the Junk Mail button highlighted. How to delete mail cache on Mac: delete junk mail.
To mark messages as junk, open the email, and click the Junk Mail button.

1.2. Remove mail attachments

Mail attachments can take up a lot of space on your Mac. Whether people send you media files or embed image files in their signature or email body, the file sizes can add up.

 

You can delete mail attachments in a few different ways. Here’s how to remove mail attachments individually:

  1. Open the email with an attachment.
  2. Go to Message > Remove Attachments.
The Message menu from the Apple Mail app, with Remove Attachments highlighted. How to delete mail cache on Mac: remove mail attachments.
Open the email with an attachment, and go to Message > Remove Attachments

How to remove attachments from multiple emails at once:

  1. To do this, you’ll need to use a Mac cleaning app such as MacKeeper’s Safe Cleanup. Open MacKeeper, choose Safe Cleanup and click Start Scan.
  2. When the scan is complete, click Mail Attachments. You can either select all attachments or click the arrow next to your email address to choose individual attachments to delete. Then click Clean Junk Files.
MacKeeper's Safe Cleanup, before a scan. The Start Scan button is highlighted. How to delete mail cache on Mac: remove attachments.
Step 1. Open MacKeeper, choose Safe Cleanup, and click Start Scan
MacKeeper's Safe Cleanup after a scan, with Mail Attachments shown. How to delete mail cache on Mac: remove mail attachments.
Step 2. Click Mail Attachments, choose which attachments to delete, and select Clean Junk Files

Important: Before you remove mail attachments, remember to save them if you think you’ll need them in the future.

2. Empty the Trash

We all know it’s important to delete emails when we don’t need them. However, it’s easy to forget to delete them from the trash.

 

Try to get into the habit of deleting unnecessary emails—that might be newsletters that you won’t read again, spam that hasn’t gone into your junk folder, or emails that aren’t relevant to you.

 

How to delete emails and empty the trash in the Mail app:

  1. There are a few different ways to delete an email in Mail:
    • Right-click on the email and choose Delete.
    • Click the trash can icon in the menu bar.
    • Go to Edit > Delete.
  2. Once you’ve deleted the email, empty the trash by right-clicking on any folder in the sidebar. Choose Erase Deleted Items, and confirm that you want to delete the items.
A menu from the macOS Mail app, with Delete highlighted. How to delete mail cache from Mac: empty the trash by right-clicking on an email.
Step 1a. Right-click on the email and choose Delete
The menu bar from the macOS Mail app, with the trash can icon highlighted. How to delete mail cache on Mac: empty the trash by using the menu bar.
Step 1b. Click the trash can icon in the menu bar
The Edit menu from the Apple Mail app, with Delete highlighted. How to delete mail cache in Mac: empty the trash by using the Edit menu.
Step 1c. Go to Edit > Delete
Part of a menu from the Apple Mail app. Erase Deleted Items is selected. How to delete mail cache on Mac: empty the trash.
Step 2. Right-click on any folder in the sidebar, and choose Erase Deleted Items

3. Reduce the amount of space that mail uses

If you regularly find that the macOS Mail app takes up too much space or is creating large cache files, you can stop it from downloading attachments. This will limit the large files it downloads.

 

To stop Mail from downloading attachments:

  1. Go to Mail > Settings, or press Command +.
  2. Go to Accounts and select your account. Click the dropdown menu next to Download Attachments and select None.
The Mail menu in Apple's Mail app, with Settings highlighted. How to delete mail cache on Mac: reduce the amount of space that mail uses.
Step 1. Go to Mail > Settings
The Accounts Settings page in Apple's Mail app. Download Attachments is highlighted. How to delete mail cache on Mac: reduce the amount of space Mail uses.
Step 2. Go to Accounts, choose your account, and select None from the dropdown menu next to Download Attachments

4. Use alternative email services

If you’re often running low on space or your Apple Mail app is getting clogged up with cache files regularly, you could choose to use a different email service.

 

This doesn’t mean that you’d need to change your email address or lose your existing emails. Instead, it just means that you’d access your emails differently to avoid constantly clogging up your Apple Mail app.

 

There are several options:

  • Use a different email client on your Mac, such as Microsoft Outlook, Spark, or Mailspring. You may still need to clear the mail cache on your Mac when using a different email app, but this might vary, depending on how the app handles email and cached files.
  • Use a webmail service—this is especially easy if you currently receive your emails through a provider such as Gmail, Outlook (formerly Hotmail), or AOL. Your email provider probably has its own webmail service, where you can access and interact with your emails through your web browser.
  • Use your phone, tablet, or other device to access your emails rather than regularly downloading them to your Mac.

5. Delete mail cache on Mac with cleaner

If all of the above steps and solutions sound a bit complicated, don’t worry. We also have an easier solution—you can use a cleaner app.

 

Does Apple have a Mac cleaner already installed? There’s no all-in-one solution, but you can optimize your Mac in several ways with its built-in features.

 

However, if you want to clear the Mail cache on your Mac with just a few clicks, the best option is to use a Mac cleaner like MacKeeper’s Safe Cleanup. Our tool can not only remove mail cache files on your Mac, but it can also remove other junk files, including:

  • Mail attachments
  • Other cache files
  • Logs
  • Unnecessary language files
  • Trash files

Together, these can add up to quite a lot of storage space—when I tested it out on my Mac, Safe Cleanup immediately found 4.36GB of junk that could be removed.

 

In addition, if you want to clean your Mac further and increase your storage space, MacKeeper also includes Duplicate Finder and Smart Uninstaller features.

 

How to delete mail cache on Mac with MacKeeper’s Safe Cleanup:

  1. Open MacKeeper and choose Safe Cleanup from the sidebar.
  2. Click Start Scan.
  3. When the scan is complete, choose Caches > Mail Caches. Make sure that this folder is selected, and choose Clean Junk Files. You can also choose to select Mail Attachments to delete your email attachments and free up more space.
MacKeeper’s Find & Fix home screen, with Safe Cleanup highlighted in the sidebar. Step one in how to delete mail cache on Mac: use a Mac cleaner.
Step 1. Open MacKeeper and choose Safe Cleanup from the sidebar
MacKeeper’s Safe Cleanup home screen, with the Start Scan button highlighted at the bottom. Step two in how to delete mail cache on Mac: use a Mac cleaner.
Step 2. Click Start Scan
MacKeeper’s Safe Cleanup, after a scan. Mail Caches is highlighted, as is the Clean Junk Files button. How to delete mail cache on Mac: use a Mac cleaner.
Step 3. When the scan is complete, choose Caches > Mail Caches, and click Clean Junk Files

A catch-up from us: You can also expand the Mail Caches folder in MacKeeper’s Safe Cleanup to look at individual files within your mail cache.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article has explained how to clear the mail cache on Mac computers and given you some alternative options for avoiding removing mail cache files on your Mac too often.

 

However, deleting the mail cache on a Mac isn't difficult. Rather than manually deleting files, MacKeeper’s Safe Cleanup can help you clear your mail cache on your Mac with just a few clicks. Not only that, but it can also clean up other junk files—helping you to optimize your storage space and keeping your Mac running well.

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