I don't care for actually using mail app. I use it just for offline access, for eventual quick reading and even more eventually replying. I use mostly the gmail interface.

So I've setup and tuned up it with gmail and everything is working fine. I think I've followed every guide out there... Here's a great one. But I could find nothing about avoiding redundancy.

Well, I can manually do that either by using only POP or by checking off most of my labels out of IMAP. But I do use a lot of labels and I often label messages with more than 1. And I want them on mail app.

Is there anyway to make it keep just 1 copy of repeated messages? Maybe there's a message id or checksum that could be used...

If there isn't a way to do it, be assured I still prefer having the extra messages and "wasting" space rather than not having any.


I've came across many solutions for finding duplicate files, but they just delete the files. That make things worst because Mail.app will sync it all again.

I've realized it's probably better to keep two accounts setup, POP for backup and IMAP for everything else with removing the "All Mail" from it. That's because if the "All Mail" on the server is deleted for any reason, my "All Mail" local will also get deleted, while POP will keep all files regardless of the server. This doesn't solve the redundancy issue at all, but it doesn't create any new issue as well, and I can even use the search properly, without duplicated results, if I search just on the POP. So it helps optimizing a little bit.

But I still think the best way to solve this issue would be having something such as aamann's Mail Scripts tweaked to hardlinking the duplicates rather than deleting, and optimized to not need to scan everything every time. I'm trying to contact him and see what we can do.

At any pace, I'm still looking for a solution!

  • Please read the FAQ, SU is not about web services. – Molly7244 Mar 2 '10 at 22:48
  • Well, I want a solution on my Mac OS. Should I close this question? – cregox Mar 2 '10 at 23:12
  • I forgot to mention @Molly :P – cregox Mar 3 '10 at 16:15
  • dunno, but as of recently posts referring to web services (such as gmail) are getting closed. – Molly7244 Mar 3 '10 at 17:23
  • If only we could get @Wouter and @Krazy_Kaos ideas together in one nice solution... – cregox Mar 5 '10 at 0:26

Hmmm, I'm not aware of any off-the-shelf product that will let you do this.

However, if you ran something (such as an IMAP server with Maildir) that kept each email in a separate file and you used a filesystem with deduplication...

  • This is quite off-topic, but please tell me more about that filesystem with deduplication! I think I won't be able to use it yet, tho. – cregox Mar 2 '10 at 22:07
  • Well, there are not some many filesystems that support deduplication. The latest versions of ZFS do, but I hear ZFS is no longer supported in Mac OS X. I guess you could rune ZFS-fuse on Mac OS X, as Fuse works on OS X, but I'm not sure if ZFS-fuse has dedup yet. Most other deduplication FS are commercial. As an alternative, you might want to try a filesystem with compression. – alex Mar 3 '10 at 22:07
  • heard of ZFS, didn't know it was that nice. oh well, I guess most of us will still have to wait for a better solution on filesystem just yet. – cregox Mar 5 '10 at 0:12

I have spent many evenings trying to find a solution that would allow me to use GMail with all it's features (like labels) from within desktop application, but had no luck. So far the best solution I have found is to

  • Done that. Not quite a backup solution, but it's great for offline! :) – cregox Mar 2 '10 at 22:39
  • Backup is done by Google already. If by any chance their system will crash, then I believe they will provide a way to restore mail from your offline database. In other words, it is backup solution, but there is no tool that allows you to transfer messages stored in offline database back to GMail. – Sergiy Belozorov Mar 3 '10 at 10:51
  • You really should read more histories on people losing their gmail... Plus, take a look on dataliberation.org I even actually have a 200 GB storage on google, but it doesn't cost too much to play on the safe side. – cregox Mar 3 '10 at 15:34

With Maildir one should be able to compare md5sum/sha1sum hashes and replace duplicate messages with hardlinks to the original (at least on Linux).

  • 1
    Sure. That'd be nice and basically what I wanted. But are you telling me nobody did this before and that I should go and learn how to do it? – cregox Mar 2 '10 at 22:45

Well, just an idea, would a dupicate file find do the job (I'm assuming you got the mail on eml files, or anyway.... "files"), so if they are redundant, ther content will be exactly the same, and any duplicate file finder would find them

Some duplicate file finders:

  • That's the idea! I'll check those out soon enough. But it sure would be better it was already done for the Mail.app – cregox Mar 3 '10 at 20:55
  • Sadly duper didn't work (it must have some bug on SL or something) and the other one has no mac version as far as I could tell. :( – cregox Mar 5 '10 at 0:11
  • On another note, I've briefly talked to Jon Kissel through email and he suggested this great solution: homepage.mac.com/aamann/Mail_Scripts.html but it would just delete my duplicates and not resolve my issue. I'd like more like hardlinking or something that won't mess the IMAP sync, like letting it get them all back again. – cregox Mar 5 '10 at 0:25
  • After some google foo (I don't own a MAC), I found this site with lot's of duplicate finders (some free, some shareware): search.macupdate.com/… – Krazy_Kaos Mar 5 '10 at 19:08
  • yeah, but finding duplicates and deleting them won't solve my issue - it will create more! Read the comments on the Question. – cregox Mar 7 '10 at 2:23

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