Apple Mail downloads

Bruce Whittington

Well-Known Member
This must be a very basic question: I have been trying to purge mail attachments lately to free up space. One by one, yup, got that one in a safe place, delete, nope, don't need this one, delete, etc. Having gone through a very lengthy purge I discover a) that many of these seem to have reappeared in the Mail Downloads folder in the library from which I deleted them, and b) many of the ones I deleted are now in an apparently new Downloads folder on the desktop. Sources online suggest Mail may place multiple versions of files in various places depending on what you do, which has left me confused. Using Catalina. I have had the downloads preference set to "remove after message is deleted" - does this not allow me to delete attachments?
 

chas_m

Well-Known Member
Unless people are routinely sending you large video files, purging downloads is probably not a great way to clear much in the way of space. If your email is synced with other devices, the downloads are probably being restored to keep them in sync. The email that contained the files and where the downloads are stored inside mail are tied together.

If you really want to get rid of a large download permanently, delete the email that contains it — or archive emails older than X months/years into a mailbox, then copy the contents of that mailbox into a folder (preferably on another drive), then delete the mailbox and its contents.
 

Bruce Whittington

Well-Known Member
Thanks - that sheds some light. I don't have any devices synched so that should not be an issue. Some of the downloads are videos but not many; more are image files, which can be large. But perhaps you can help me understand how this works: If I find duplicate downloads (and there are lots), is that because they have gone back and forth in an email thread? Are there really duplicate downloaded files, or just links or aliases to the same file?
 
Top