Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mavericks Apple Mail and Gmail

Joe Kissell:

However, it seems Apple didn’t entirely think through the implications. Most seriously, with All Mail enabled, Mail periodically gets into a state in which, according to the Activity panel (choose Window > Activity), it’s synchronizing my Gmail Archive (that is, All Mail) and updating the cache directory for my Gmail account. That’s all well and good as long as it happens in the background. But when one of these syncing fits starts, changes to messages in my Inbox made in other clients or on the Gmail Web site aren’t reflected in Mail. Not even if I quit and restart Mail, or rebuild the Inbox, or force a synchronization! There appears to be nothing I can do but wait, and sometimes that wait is hours. Worse yet, sometimes the syncing ends — Mail’s Activity panel shows zero activity — and still my Inbox is out of sync for a long time. (For example, as I write this, Gmail shows I have no unread messages in my Inbox, but Mail shows 10, including some I filed more than two hours ago.)

From what I’ve been hearing, various areas of Mail in Mavericks are extremely buggy and/or slower than in previous releases. Don’t forget that there are alternatives.

Update (2014-02-25): Joe Kissell:

I’ll begin with the usual disclaimers: not every problem has disappeared, and what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. Even so, this is the first version of Mail in Mavericks that feels reasonably reliable, and it’s about time!

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"From what I’ve been hearing, various areas of Mail in Mavericks are extremely buggy and/or slower than in previous releases."

C'mon, really? I don't mean to be a hater but Michael do you ever post anything POSITIVE about Apple? I'd say 95%+ of what you post here is negative w.r.t. Apple.

I've been using Mavericks since the first developer release and I've seen no (OK, one) issue with Mail. But, then again, I don't use any plugins. The one issue I have seen relates to Gmail and "All Mail" - If you DO NOT have "all mail" exported via IMAP, then moving emails from your inbox doesn't work. I think labels aren't properly applied. This is a change (regression?) from previous releases, and I've filed a bug. But I haven't had a crash, and aside from some logging cruft (which was fixed in a late seed), it has been as stable as ever for me.

@John Honestly, I've been using Apple Mail since 2001, and it has been a disappointment.

The current version I'm using is doing a really bad job at detecting spam (it used to be better).

Apple Mail is one of the system apps that can freeze all the processes when it's opened. It's so bad that it's hard to believe OS X supports SMP and multi-threading.

Apple Mail is a nightmare when you have a very big mailbox (at least, it's not saved as a monolithic file and will avoid you losing all your mails should something bad happens. Yes, I'm looking at your Outlook for Mac OS 9).

The UI of Apple Mail is changed too often (remember those ugly rounded segmented controllers for the toolbar?) and the mail templates are a iDVDification of the application.

Exchange support is quite fragile, etc.

I could write an encyclopedia about all the absurdities of Apple Mail (and plugin support with completely absurd UUIDs would deserve an entire chapter). But let's end with a positive note, AppleScript support is good in Apple Mail (at least in the version I'm currently using).

Seriously? I have had zero issues with Gmail so far, on two accounts and four machines. And yes, I have "All Mail" disabled.

It seems to me that most people just don't get that smart folders take a good deal of time to start working after the first run as Mail reindexes messages - I have smart folders that filter other smart folders, so if anything was amiss, I'd have noticed by now.

I've never had a problem with updating anything, but something is definitely buggy with Mail in Mavericks. I've installed in on two computers with the same result. Mail launches, shows the email window, then promptly crashes and quits. Unless someone can tell me how to fix this issue, I definitely need to find a good alternative to Mail.

@John I’m not trying to be positive or negative or to achieve some sort of “balance.” I just post what I find to be interesting and important. Recently, I have posted positive comments about the iPhone 5s, Apple’s work on battery life (both Mac and iOS), the improved “level” sensor with iOS 7.0.3, Podcasts playback speeds, NSURLComponents, and Xcode 5 doc comments.

Unfortunately, I’ve been using Apple Mail since the beginning, and Mavericks is the roughest update for it I’ve seen. I don’t use Gmail. Here are some of the problems I’ve personally seen in the first 24 hours: repeatedly forgetting account passwords, Page Up/Page Down keys not working, print scaling/wrapping options removed, inserting extra page breaks when printing, multi-second delays moving messages via rules or AppleScript, incorrect smart mailbox counts, and smart mailboxes that take minutes to update even after indexing is done.

My customers are seeing mailboxes and smart mailboxes that just plain show the wrong messages, high CPU usage that never seems to abate, weird crashes that persist even when all plug-ins are removed, messages in the inbox marked as junk with no spam filters enabled, and mailboxes that exist on the server but have become invisible on the Mac.

I’m glad Mail’s been working well for you. But the developer forums were full of reports about Mail since before the release, and it doesn’t seem like Apple listened. There are other Gmail problems, even with “All Mail” enabled, as Joe Kissell has described. The good news, such as it is, is that there seems to be renewed interest in third-party mail clients.

@Rui Carmo Even after the indexing has finished, my smart mailboxes are very slow to update. For example, I moved a hundred messages to another mailbox and watched the number next to my smart mailbox count down one message every few seconds.

I've yet to have any major problems with Mail - and I use it with two Gmail accounts. However Michael had said that Applescripting Mail was slower. I ran some tests and for moving messages it's significantly slower. I've heard from many people their junk mail is worse. However I've been using Michael's SpamSieve for years so I didn't notice. (hint, hint)

Mail in Mavericks has been a nightmare for me, and I have all default settings (no special clever things with All Mail or anything like that).

Mail that shows up just fine in iOS 7 Mail, or other clients, such as Airmail often don't show up at all in Mavericks Mail. I have a bunch of Gmail mail sitting there on the web and they just are not coming in.

Red flags don't toggle. Read mail doesn't get marked as read - even locally. Mail moved to folders via another client don't get moved locally on my Mac in Mavericks Mail. It's just awful. I can't reliably use mail. I wish I had never upgraded to Mavericks.

I tried Airmail and it's very interesting, but has its own problems, such as if you delete any message in a conversation it also trashes your "sent" contributions to the thread!

Right now I am sitting here with no good mail client solution. I have 4 Gmail accounts and 2 Hostgator accounts running as IMAP. Any good alternatives to Mavericks Mail or Airmail? I would try Postbox, but their site says they provide no support and they have no support forums either.

Thunderbird seems inadequate.

Depressing. :(


[...] week I complained that in Mavericks you can no longer Page Up or Page Down through Apple Mail’s message list [...]

Bug or feature? Now we've got the chorus saying to cancel your gmail account...

I’m sticking with my Gmail accounts. But I’ve jettisoned Apple Mail for now. It’s just become too unreliable. At times it’s not even syncing mails I can see via iOS 7 Mail - and on the Gmail site itself.

So for now I’m using Airmail and working around some of its idiosyncracies. At least it delivers the mail!


[...] general, OS X 10.9 is well designed and executed. However, it shipped with the most unreliable version of Apple Mail that I can recall. Some of the bugs have been fixed, but I help customers [...]

Lately because of a lot of loose-ends and bugs in Airmail I’ve switched to Mailplane.

Apple Mail is just broken with Gmail. Even AppleCare support people couldn’t help me get it to reliably sync new incoming mail. Why don’t they just revert to pre-Mavericks Mail?


Israel Alvarez

Just want to be clear that the Gmail issues shouldn't be laid at Apple's door. Google uses their own internal system that is only occasionally IMAP-compliant. I run my own mail servers and have literally never had any problems with Apple Mail connecting to them. It's only since work recently switched to Gmail (from Rackspace) that I've seen problems. While Google Apps are useful, their mail system ranks as the worst that I've used, so much so that about 25% of our company have given up on native clients and use the web interface exclusively - something I suspect is Google's preferred solution.

@Israel I see your point, but Gmail worked fine with all previous versions of Apple Mail. Regardless of whether Gmail is doing things in a non-standard way, Apple exchanged code that worked for code that doesn’t.

[...] odd about the continuing Apple Mail problems with Mavericks is that Mail used to be a very reliable app. I’m not sure why the [...]

[…] far, it looks like Apple has finally fixed the bug from Mavericks where it can take tens of seconds to move messages via […]

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