Getting GMail to Play Nice With Apple Mail (and vice versa)

Have Mavericks? Use Apple Mail and GMail? Into self-loathing much? If you’re like me, you’ve pondered ditching either Apple Mail or GMail. I weighed my options, and chose to stick with Apple Mail because: I rely on third-party plugins like MailActOn, MailTags, and SpamSieve. Is everything perfectly okay in my email world? No. But until I decide on what email client to replace Gmail with, I’m plowing forward until after the holidays, when presumably, I’ll have more time. Yeah, quit laughing so hard. I can hear you from here. I’m not going to rehash the hordes of articles about the how and why the two don’t work well together. If you have copious amounts of time on your hands, a search of Apple Mail + Gmail, or Apple Mail + MacWorld (or insert your favorite Mac resource here).

Here’s what I ended up doing to get my email working (mostly) again. Note that it might just be better to cut your loses on either Apple Mail or Gmail as you might spend as much, if not more time resolving the issue. Some of what I had to go through is NOT for the faint of heart. Proceed at your own risk, and ALWAYS back up right before attempting. I can’t stress this enough.


You get the spinning beach ball of death. It spins for hours. Mail sucks up 100% of your Mac’s memory. Constantly. You run out of application memory. My solution is NOT for the faint of heart. Backup your Mac first. Read the instruction first and determine if this is something you’re comfortable doing. In a nutshell, you are going to be working in your Library folder. You will need to add all you email accounts back in manually, although you won’t need to worry about losing mail you’ve kept in folders within On My Mac. At least, I didn’t.

1. Shut down Mail.

2. Run all updates. There have been several Mail patches since Maverick’s release. 

3. Open Finder. Click Go from the drop down menu, and press the option key. You’ll see Library. Click on that.

4. Click on Mail, then V2.

5. Right click and make a duplicate of this folder.

6. Rename the original to OLD V2.

7. Remove the word Copy from the duplicated folder.

8. Restart Mail.

For me, this is where Mail finally decided to open. Now, it’ll still consume a LOT of memory.

1. Click Window, then Activity from Mail’s menu bar. You’ll see a lot of activity. Go have lunch. Walk the dogs. Whatever.

2. Add all your email accounts from scratch. If you’ve forgotten how to do this, it’s under Mail, Preferences, Accounts.

If this didn’t work for you, you can always revert back to using the Old V2 folder. Shut down Mail. Then, call the now current V2 folder Bad Idea V2 (or something), and then rename the Old V2 folder back to just V2. If this does work for you, I’d leave the old folder there for a couple of weeks to be sure you’re happy.


Onyx and a Mail database rebuild didn’t work for me. Here’s what I had to do. Note that you should read through this before proceeding. Don’t do it if you are not comfortable messing around in the Library folder.

1.  Shut down Mail.

2.  Open Finder. Click Go from the drop down menu, and press the option key. You’ll see Library. Click on Library.

3. Navigate to Mail, V2, then MailData.

4. Right click on MailData and make a duplicate.

5. Rename the original MailData folder to OLD MAILDATA

6. Remove the work Copy from the duplicated folder.

Now, you’re going to delete some files in the newly created duplicated and renamed MailData folder.

1. Navigate to the folder MailData.

2. Delete ALL files that start with Envelope. Be careful. Check the names carefully.

3. Restart Mail.

4. Walk away from the computer for about an hour or two while Mail rebuilds these files and indexes them.



I followed the instructions here. It involves a few changes in Settings on GMail’s side of things.



You probably have a few email accounts. When you send an email from a service or from your browser, it sends the email from an account you didn’t expect. Fortunately, this is easy and doesn’t require a backup or nerves of steel.

1. Open Mail.

2. Open Mail Preferences.

3. Navigate to the Composing tab.

4. Locate the section: Addressing (middle of the dialog box), and then locate Send New Messages From:

5. Change which account Mail uses via the up/down arrows.


Okay, back to writing, because that’s my real job – the one that keeps the candles burning and the Mac & Cheese on the table. Hope this helps, guys. Later!


3 thoughts on “Getting GMail to Play Nice With Apple Mail (and vice versa)

  1. I stick with Apple mail but I was going to merge my gmail account to my apple. But with gmail my spam folder is insane so I decided to keep my Apple mail.

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