Whats wrong with Apple Mail IMAP
January 4, 2013 8:04 AM   Subscribe

Migrating from Thunderbird to Apple Mail (on OSX Lion). Apple Mail takes about an hour to get messages from the IMAP server whereas Thunderbird gets them instantly. What may be going on?

Same IMAP server of course. I was on Thunderbird this morning.
I decided to switch to Apple Mail, got all my IMAP settings in, retrieved existing messages. Fine.
Then I noticed that the timestamp for new messages coming in were anywhere from half an hour to hour earlier.

To test this, I emailed something to myself from another email account. Waited. An hour later, It still hadn't arrived. I tried "Get New Mail" and "Synchronize". Still nothing. I restarted Apple Mail. Nothing.

For kicks, I fired up Thunderbird and it retrieved the email message immediately.

Whats going on? Is there an Apple IMAP client setting that I haven't set correctly? The mail does arrive but it is very delayed.
posted by vacapinta to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I just looked at my configs, 'cause I don't have this misbehavior with my IMAP accounts.

On the main Mail Preferences pane, how often are you checking for updates? (I've got 1min)
On the Advanced pane of the IMAP account, is the "Use IDLE if the server supports it" set, and does your server support it? (I do have this checked).
posted by Runes at 9:04 AM on January 4, 2013

Response by poster: All my config looks like yours.
I've discovered the Activity Window under Window->Activity
And it shows that its hanging on "Fetching New Mail" so I'll have to investigate further as to why thats happening. That would explain why it takes so long to get mail...

I do have a huge inbox of about 50k messages. So my first guess is that Apple Mail is less efficient than Thunderbird was of synching such a large inbox.
posted by vacapinta at 9:13 AM on January 4, 2013

Best answer: You could monitor the network activity graph in the Activity Monitor before and after you trigger the mail check. If it's obvious that Mail is doing a shitload of little transactions for a long time, that would suggest Mail doesn't like bloated IMAP folders.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:42 AM on January 4, 2013

Best answer: I use Mail with gigantically bloated IMAP folders (though granted only about a fifth the size of yours) and do not have this problem. But if you've just switched over it's likely Mail is still grinding away at synching up the list to begin with -- once it's had enough time to work through the backlog it may speed up again.
posted by ook at 9:51 AM on January 4, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I do have a huge inbox of about 50k messages. So my first guess is that Apple Mail is less efficient than Thunderbird was of synching such a large inbox.

ook has it; once Mail has had a chance to fully sync and build its local cache (like Thunderbird has been doing all along), it'll be nice and speedy. Thunderbird has been building its cache over time, bit by bit; your fresh install of Apple Mail is having to do it all in one big push, so it'll take some time. Leave it open, let it chew on it for a while, and it'll perk right up.
posted by xedrik at 10:12 AM on January 4, 2013 [3 favorites]

I imagine this is too late, but: go into the Window menu of your Apple Mail app, and enable the Activity window. If it's not blank, then your mail client is still working on digesting the 50K messages you gave it. Once it's done, the quiescent Activity window will be blank, and your mail should be speedy.
posted by mr vino at 12:32 PM on January 4, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks guys. The problem was that I had no visual indication (before opening the Activity window) that Mail was doing anything. And so to me it just looked like it was not getting my mail.

After working for about 10 hours(!) it finally finished and then retrieved my new mail.

Thanks again all.
posted by vacapinta at 5:23 AM on January 7, 2013

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