C-Command Software Forum

Mail archiving, IMAP, and Apple Mail

Does using IMAP in Mail defeat the purpose of archiving email in Eaglefiler?

I use IMAP so that if I read an email on my Palm, and delete it, it will still exist on the Gmail server. But I notice that if you use IMAP, Mail maintains a complete collection of all your mail in addition to the mailboxes that one uses daily to winnow and sort. (The larger collection of mail appears low on the left rail of mail under the rubric MYNAME@GMAIL.COM, with a whole set of sub-folders. It’s a subject of discussion on the Apple forums, as this complicates searching.)

Eaglefiler is billed as speeding up Mail by freeing it of old messages. But doesn’t the way it handles IMAP mean it will still have a huge, onerous number of emails no matter how much archiving you do?

An archive in EagleFiler lets you:

  1. Have a local backup that’s independent of your IMAP mail server.
  2. Speed up Mail, Spotlight, and your backups—if you delete the messages from the server or have them not show up in Mail.
  3. Search and organize the messages using an interface that you may find more convenient than Mail or Gmail.

Personally, I only keep recent messages on the IMAP server. I delete them after archiving them in EagleFiler. Otherwise Mail becomes unbearable slow to sync with the server and just to browse and search the messages.

If you want to keep a complete archive of your mail on the IMAP server, you could configure Mail to only show/store a subset of the mailboxes.

  • With some IMAP servers, Mail lets you control which mailboxes to subscribe to.
  • Gmail lets you control which mailboxes are visible to IMAP clients.
  • You can set the IMAP path prefix in Mail so that it only shows a particular subtree of mailboxes.