How much real memory should Apple’s Mail Program use on average?

David Bashover April 8, 2011

I have a 1 year old iMac with 4 GB of memory. I turned on Activity Monitor and noticed that the Mail application is using 2.5 GB of real memory, on average. I close the program, open it and it shows only 50 MB of real memory use. But it quickly climbs to 2.5 GB of real memory.

This seems abnormal. I have the latest update of the OS and the application. Any suggestions or comments?

  1. Anonymous
    April 9, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Can be kernel problem as source of your trouble with Mail. If the kernel can't allocate memory then either you have bad RAM installed or your system is corrupted. Looks like you will need to erase/install.

    For this boot into safe mode for sometime then reboot normally.
    Booting into Safe Mode fix all the leak issues; including but not limited to:

    Address Book (believe it or not, it would go up to 1.17gb sometimes)
    MS Office

    Also some reported that is iSync problem, so open iSync and reset this computers Sync History before that terminate MobileMe.

    if you have othet accounts on mail like Google mail via IMAP
    1)Delete the Google mail account
    2)See if this help
    3)Reinstal Google Mail.

    try rebuilding mailboxes and rebooting,

    try this also
    -1. Start by opening System Preferences
    -2. Select ‘Sharing’ from the Internet & Wireless section
    -3. From the list on the left choose ‘File Sharing’ and turn it off.
    -4. Delete anything listed in the Shared Folders section
    -5. Turn File Sharing back on
    -6. Log out, then Log back in
    -7. Done!!”

    Try to uSe Growl
    Growl is a global notification system for the Mac OS X and Windows[1] operating systems. Applications can use Growl to display small notifications about events which the user deems important, in a consistent manner. This allows users to fully control their notifications, application developers to spend little time creating notifications, and Growl developers to concentrate on the usability of notifications

  2. Mike
    April 9, 2011 at 1:23 am

    I agree that 2.5GB seems to be way too much.
    Do you have any Mail Bundles (Plugins) installed and in use? They could effect the memory usage.

    It also depends a lot on how much mails you have within your Mailboxes and Attachments.

    For Mac OS X 10.5 and later

    Apple Mail uses an SQLite Database ("Envelope Index") to keep track of all Emails and and a Property List file ("OpenedAttachments.plist") which keeps track of attachments opened directly from Emails [as in not saved to the Desktop or somewhere else].

    With the amount of Emails and over time both files grow and will effect the memory usage.

    You could try cleaning both up by:
    1. Quit Apple Mail
    2. go to your Users homefolder
    3. navigate to ~/Library/Mail
    4. delete the files Envelope Index and OpenedAttachments.plist
    5. navigate to ~/Library
    6. delete the folder Mail Downloads
    7. when you open Apple Mail it will re-index all current Emails, this might take some time.

    "Mail Downloads" is kind of temporary directory where attachments are exported/stored to when you double-click them within the Mail. Unfortunately Apple Mail does not organize or manage this folder in any way. Deleting the directory does not delete the Attachments within your Emails.

    Instead of deleting them you can also move everything to a temporary directory (as a backup). Or just keep the Trash folder and empty it after you checked everything is working.

    • Jnjsq2
      April 11, 2011 at 1:08 pm

      Thanks, Mike.

      I tried your suggestion but it didn't work.