How to Delete Mail on Mac (Mails, Attachments, the App)

Find it inconvenient to release the mail storage? Use Macube Cleaner, the professional Mac cleanup utility to easily remove mail caches and attachments in one click.
author Anders Smith
date Thursday, March 17, 2022

If you use Apple Mail on Mac, the received emails and attachments may pile up on your Mac over time. You may notice that the Mail storage grows bigger on the storage space. So how to delete emails and even the Mail app itself to reclaim Mac storage? This article is to introduce how to delete emails on Mac, including deleting multiple and even all emails on Mail app, as well as how to clear mail storage and delete Mail app on mac. Hope it will be helpful for you.

1. How to Delete Emails on Mac

It is easy to delete one email on Mac, however, there seems no way to delete multiple emails all altogether. And by clicking the Delete button, the deleted emails still remain on your Mac storage. You have to erase the deleted emails to permanently delete them from your Mac to regain the storage space.

How to Delete Multiple Emails on Mac

Open the Mail app on your iMac/MacBook, press and hold the Shift key and select the emails you want to delete. After selecting all the emails you want to delete, click the Delete button, then all the selected messages will be deleted.

Delete Multiple Mails on Mac

It you want to delete multiple emails from the same person, type the name of the sender in the search bar to find all the emails from the sender. If you would like to delete multiple emails received or sent on a specific date, enter the date, for example, entering "Date: 11/13/18-11/14/18" in the search bar.

Sort out Emails on Mail App

How to Delete All Mail on Mac

If you want to remove all emails on Mac, here is a quick way to do it.

Step 1 In the Mail app on your Mac, select the mailbox you want to delete all emails.

Step 2 Click Edit > Select All. All emails in the mailbox will be selected.

Step 3 Click the Delete button to remove all emails from Mac.

Delete Multiple Mails on Mac

Or you can select a mailbox to delete it. Then all emails in the mailbox will be deleted. However, the inbox cannot be deleted.

Delete Mailbox on Mac

tips Note:
  • If you delete a Smart Mailbox, the messages it displayed remain in their original locations.

How to Permanently Delete Emails from Mac Mail

To release Mail storage, you have to permanently delete emails from your Mac storage.

Step 1 On the Mail app on your Mac, select a mailbox, for example Inbox.

Step 2 Click Mailbox > Erase Deleted Items. All deleted emails in Inbox will be removed permanently. You can also control-click a mailbox and select Erase Deleted Items.

Mailbox Erase Deleted Items

2. How to Delete Mail Storage on Mac

You may find that the memory occupied by Mail is particularly large on About this Mac > Storage.

Mail Storage is mainly composed of Mail caches and attachments. By navigating to messages with attachments and clicking to Remove attachments, you can delete the mail attachments one by one. But it’s usually too time-consuming to identify them one by one. To simplify the process, there is an easier solution.

It is recommended to use Macube Cleaner to clean up Mail storage. It is a great Mac cleanup utility that lets you clean mail cache generated when you open the mail attachments as well as unwanted downloaded mail attachments in one click. In addition, deleting downloaded attachments with MacMaster won't remove the files from mail server, which means you can redownload the files anytime you want.

Here are the steps of using Macube Cleaner.

Step 1 Download Macube Cleaner on your Mac, even running the newest macOS Monterey.

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Step 2 Choose and click Smart Scan.

Macube Smart Scan

Step 3 When scanning is done, tick Mail Junk or Mail Attachments to view the unwanted junk files on Mail.

Step 4 Choose the old mail junk and attachments that you would like to remove and click Clean.

Delete Mail Attachments

You will find the Mail storage will be significantly reduced after the cleanup with Macube Cleaner. You can also use the software to clean more, such as system caches, application caches, large old files, duplicates, and so on.

Free Download Free Download

3. How to Manage Emails on Mac to Save up Storage

To prevent the Mail app from taking up too much storage, you can also change some settings on Mac to better manage the Mail storage.

Erase Junk and Deleted Messages on Mail Regularly

Actually, you can set up a time period for Mail itself to erase the necessary messages for you, and you can change the settings here:

Step 1 Head to Mail > Preferences.

Mail Preferences

Step 2 In Accounts > Mailbox Behaviors, you can change the time period for Mail to erase junk messages or deleted messages, for instance, never, after one day, after one week, after one month.

If you shorten the time period, the messages will be cleared more quickly and more storage will be saved up.

Erase Junk Deleted Messages

Remove Downloads on Mail

Mail will temporarily download the mail attachments on a special “Mail Download” folder on your Mac if you open them to have a look. As time comes by, they may also accumulate if you don’t notice and clean them. You can also set it up at Mail Preferences to manage them:

At Preference > General, you will see the setting “Remove unedited downloads”, and the available choice are “Never”, “When Mail Quits”, and “After Message is Deleted”. Change it to “When Mail Quits” if you prefer not to keep the downloads.

Remove Unedited Downloads

Prevent Mail from Downloading Attachments

By default, Mail automatically downloads the attachments when it retrieves the messages and stores them on your Mac. If you want to prevent Mail from doing so, you can change the default setting at Mail > Preferences > Accounts > Account Information, and set “Download Attachments” as “None”.

4. How to Delete Mail App on Mac

Some users don't use Apple's own Mail app, which takes up space in the Mac hard drive, so they want to delete the app. However, Mail app is a default application on Mac system, which Apple doesn't allow you to remove. When you try to move Mail app to Trash, you will get this message that the Mail app can't be deleted.

Mail Can't Be Moved to Trash

Even so, there is a way to delete the default Mail app on iMac/MacBook.

Disable System Integrity Protection (SIP)

If your Mac is running on macOS 10.12 and above, you need to disable System Integrity Protection first before you are unable to remove a system app like Mail app.

Step 1 Boot your Mac into recovery mode.

How to put your Mac into recovery mode:
  • For an Intel-based Mac: Tap “Apple logo > Restart” on your Mac, press and hold the “Command + R” keys until Apple logo or spinning globe appears.
  • For an M1 Mac: Shut down your Mac, then press and hold the Power button, and you will see a message saying that you will be able to access startup options. Keep holding the button until you finally enter it. After that, select Options > Continue to open Recovery Mode.

Step 2 Click Utilities > Terminal at the left top. Type:

csrutil disable

And click Enter key.

Step 3 Now that your System Integrity Protection is disabled, restart your Mac.

Disable System Integrity Protection

Delete Mail App with Terminal Command

Step 1 Sign in your Mac with your admin account.

Step 2 Then launch Termail. Type in:

cd /Applications/

and hit Enter, which will show the application directory.

Step 3 Type in:

sudo rm -rf

and hit Enter, which will delete the Mail app.

Delete Mail App on Mac

You can also use the sudo rm -rf command to delete other default apps on Mac, such as Safari, FaceTime.

After deleting Mail app, you should enter Recovery Mode again to enable the System Integrity Protection.

Enable System Integrity Protection

Step 1 Shut down you Mac and put it into recovery mode. Same as the above step.

Step 2 Click Utilities > Terminal. Type:

csrutil enable

And click Enter key.

Step 3 Restart your Mac, and the ISR is enabled again.

Above are what you can do to remove mail from Mac. You can reduce the Mail storage by deleting emails, attachments, caches, and also uninstalling the Mail app if you rarely use it. Hope they are helpful for you to clean up the Mail storage on your Mac with these methods.