If Your Mail App Is Running Slow, Try This

If you use the Mail app on your Mac and notice that it seems to have slowed down, you can try rebuilding the message index databases to see if that will help. The more email addresses and the more mail you save, the more likely this is to assist with a slow system. It might take a while to complete, but your email will still work perfectly so it is worth doing periodically.

With the Mail app open, Select Mailbox > Rebuild.



If you are in the middle of rebuilding and you have to quit out of Mail for some reason, don’t fret. The rebuilding will take up where it left off when you restart mail.

This entry was posted in Apple Mail Tips, Beginner Mac Tips, Mac Tips. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to If Your Mail App Is Running Slow, Try This

  1. Frank says:


    Does this only rebuild the mailbox that is currently selected?

    Thanks, Frank

    • macnancy says:

      Hi Frank,

      Yes, you have to rebuild each mailbox separately.

      I’ll go back into the blog entry and try and clarify that better.


  2. Thank you for your post. What does Rebuilding do exactly? I’m always nervous I’ll remove something important or mess up my computer entirely. Thank you for your help.

    • macnancy says:

      Hi Danielle, Yeah it is kinda scary, especially when you get warning messages. The best way I can think of to describe it is to compare it to your flatware drawer. Just imagine making sure all the flatware is sorted and in it’s correct compartment. While you are doing that, you might encounter a fork with tines that are bent so much that you throw it away. When you rebuilt, all those “forks with bad tines” get discarded. That is a simple explanation of Rebuilding.

  3. Stephen Cole says:

    Hi, can I rebuild my mac mailbox from my iPad? I don’t have a MacBook .

    • macnancy says:

      Hi Stephen,

      I don’t the answer to your question. I searched the internet for instructions and all I found was instructions that required a Mac computer. I suggest that you contact Apple phone support to see if they have an answer. It seems to me that there must be something you can do, I just don’t know what it is. The number for Apple support is 800-275-2273. You will need to have your iPad serial number when you call. (Settings > General > About > Serial Number).

  4. Ali Jut says:

    can you tell me how to fix safar? its bit slow

    • macnancy says:

      The only thing I know to do in this instance is to clean up your cache. Select Safari > Develop (menu bar) > Empty Cache. That will get rid of all the old stuff Safari has saved to save you time. For instance you visit your bank site and the next time you go there Safari knows where it is. The cache file can get quite cluttered. If that doesn’t work, I suggest you call the Apple help line 800 275 2273.

  5. Warren Maher says:

    overtime i just click on an email, the round rainbow circle appears and everything freezes for apprx 30 seconds before it allows to go to the next email.
    I have done a rebuild but no change. what does anyone suggest next?

  6. Mike Vruggink says:

    I have a desktop Mac and aol e-mail with thousands of e-mails with attachments. I’m having trouble composing an e-mail, sending or even responding to one. Very frustrated! Any ideas on how to fix??

    • macnancy says:

      Hi Mike, I’m not exactly an expert on anything to do with a mail app not functioning, but my first thought when I read your message was to suggest that you move some of those thousands of e-mails out of the app and into a folder on your desktop. You will still be able to get to them, but free up some space on your app. Hope this helps.

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