Ok, so you have tens of thousands of emails in gmail. The web interface deals with this reasonably well, but I have multiple email accounts, so I have IMAP enabled. My IMAP client is Apple Mail, and it is starting to bog down with so many emails (which I never delete, as per gmail’s recommendations).
The symptoms I see:
- Mail inexplicably decides to download all the emails over again, or at least their headers
- When viewing a thread, I open the thread with a right arrow, and all the messages in the message area disappear (here I had to delete the Mail cache to fix this problem)
So, I could just set up a folder and move them all there, but I’ve noticed gmail has an archive function, so I want to explore that feature first. Archiving simply takes the email out of your inbox and makes it accessible only by looking at All Mail. In Mail, you won’t see it in your Mailboxes Inbox, but rather it will be in your custom account’s [Gmail]->All Mail folder. That keeps the message out of the way, but still accessible if I ever need it.
So, how do you archive a subset of messages? For me, I want all my old messages archived. I don’t know if there is a way to archive messages from Mail, so I am using the web client. There is no way I am going through gmail, 100 emails at a time, selecting all, and then choosing archive. What you want to do is search for all emails older than say, 2011. The problem is, when you click on search options, the only date-specific option is to choose a date within say 1 year of my specified date – that’s useless to me. The way to do it is with a search query. So click on Inbox, and then in the Search field, type:
Now click the check box above all the messages on the top left. It should be set to all, and will select all messages on the page (but not the thousands remaining on other pages). To really select all, notice that a message has appeared above your message subjects:
All 20 conversations on this page are selected. Select all conversations that match this search
Clicking that link will get you the correct selection, and all that is left is to click Archive. Notice that this may take a few seconds – look for the Still Working status at the top of the page, and the subsequent completed message. In the web interface, you can access the archived mail by clicking All Mail, which may be under the more dropdown menu.
Note that any filters you may have in gmail, which assign labels to messages (which resolve to folders in Apple Mail), will be archived, but will still be accessible by their label, and their folder.
Now you should have a much more reasonable number of (in my case) unread messages in your inbox :-)
PS. You’ll want to rinse and repeat for your other gmail inboxes.