How to clean out old Mail downloads and reclaim disk space on your Mac!

How to clean out old Mail downloads and reclaim disk space on your Mac!

If you're running low on disk space on your Mac, especially SSD space, every extra bit can count. One of the places you can often scrape out a few extra megabytes or even gigabytes is Mail Downloads. Any attachments you open in Mail or Quick Look gets saved right to that folder. Chances are you don't need them, especially the old ones, and trashing them will free up some valuable space.

How to find and delete old Mail Download files to free up space

  1. Open Spotlight Search
  2. Type in Mail Downloads and click on the folder when it shows up to open it.
  3. Here you'll see a list of files that Mac Mail has saved. These are all attachments that you've either opened in Mail or viewed in Quick look.
  4. Delete the files you don't need and then close the Mail Downloads folder.

If you send and receive a lot of email, it's very easy for the Mail Downloads folder to get extremely large. Checking it every few weeks or months, whatever is appropriate for your use case is a good idea.

Give your Mail Downloads folder a quick look at let me know in the comments how much space you were able to save on your Mac!

If you need to reclaim even more space on your Mac, check out:

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

How to clean out old Mail downloads and reclaim disk space on your Mac!


Love your tips and how-to articles!

Is there a similar functionality for Messages? I think I send/receive more files through Messages than Mail these days. Also, is it possible to move the folder to a new location?

What if my father needs to keep those old emails backed up because they're no longer on the server from his original email (for some reason he clicked not to save to server) but still needs to wipe OS X and start fresh? Is there fool-proof way to make sure we don't lose them? Not only the attachments but the emails themselves. They're incredibly important!

Quick question. Since these are attachments and such that are within the email, if I delete them from the downloads folder will they get re-downloaded when I open up the particular email that has that attachment again?

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