How To Speed Up Apple Mail App On Mac Running macOS

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can speed up the Apple Mail app on your Mac running macOS Sierra or OS X.

The best thing that anyone can ever really say about Apple’s Mail app is that it’s functional. Yes, functional in the fact that it loads, allows email accounts to be added, and it generally does a good job of sending and receiving mails. Other than that, it’s not staggering, and it’s certainly not the epitome of a positive app experience.


And while the app will continue to receive updates and improvements from Apple in major macOS releases, that doesn’t mean that all users have to live with the slowness and wait for Apple to bring improvements in future updates. As such, you can set up an Automator workflow right now to speed up the stock Mail app and make it a somewhat more-pleasurable experience. Here’s how.

Step 1: Automator may not be an app that the majority of you are familiar with, but it’s most definitely there, and most definitely needs to be used in this instance. Launch Automator via the /Applications directory, or search through Finder or Spotlight.

Step 2: In the new window that appears, click New Document, and then from the sheet that shows up, select Workflow and click on the Choose button to proceed.

Step 3: In the main Automator window, there is a search bar above the list of actions. In that search bar, type quit. This will produce a list of actions that match quit.

Step 4: Drag the Quit Application action in the main Workflow area that’s located to the right-hand side.

Step 5: This Quit Application action will have a drop-down menu. Click into this menu and choose Mail. The Ask to save changes box to the right-hand side should be left checked.

Step 6: Without going too in-depth, we now need to define a command using the shell. In the same search bar as before, type the word shell and then drag the Run Shell Script action into the main Workflow window.

Step 7: In the box that’s listed in the Run Shell Script action you’re going to need to paste in a little bit of text that is essentially the script that we want to run. Depending on your version of macOS/OS X, paste the script from below:

  • El Capitan (10.11.x): sqlite3 ~/Library/Mail/V3/MailData/Envelope\ Index vacuum;
  • Sierra (10.12.x): sqlite3 ~/Library/Mail/V4/MailData/Envelope\ Index vacuum;

Step 8: Now we head back to that search bar and enter the word open. Drag and drop the Launch Application action into the main Workflow below the Run Shell Script action.

Step 9: From the drop-down menu, select Mail. Yes, you guessed it, we’re going to force it to launch the Mail app.

Step 10: Now, from the File menu choose the Save option and give the new Workflow a name of your choice.

Step 11: Now, using the Run button at the right-hand side of Automator, you can actually run the Workflow that you’ve created, which will force Mail to quit, will cleanse the database and launch with a speedier and more fluid experience.

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