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Speed Up Mail App on Older Macs By Turning Off Image Attachment Previews

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Whenever an image or PDF is attached to an email in Mac OS X Mail, you’ll see a preview of that image or document. Similarly, if someone sends you photos, these drawings will then be drawn on the screen of that email as previews.

While this is a great feature for most of us, drawing these built-in graphics can be a very slow experience on older Macs with less system resources, and the default command allows you to disable these previews and speed up Mail performance .app quite a bit.

Disable previewing image attachments in Mac OS X Mail

Here’s how to turn off image attachment preview in Mac Mail:

  1. Close the Mail application
  2. Start Terminal, which can be found in Launchpad or / Applications / Utilities /, and type the following script:
  3. defaults type com.apple.mail DisableInlineAttachmentViewing 1

  4. Restart Mail for the changes to take effect

Update: Some users have reported issues with the original default command. Try this variation if it didn’t work for you (thanks Ken & Elwira!):

defaults type com.apple.mail DisableInlineAttachmentViewing -bool true

Opening an email with image references now only shows a generic thumbnail that shows the file type and file name, as if it were in the Finder.

Email without image attachment preview

You can double-click these icons or thumbnails to open the image in the preview, or you can save the image somewhere in the file system or on the desktop by dragging and dropping.

Performance increases only for Macs with fewer resources

While this shouldn’t be necessary for most users for speed purposes, it will no doubt affect Macs with fewer resources. For example, we tested disabling image preview on an older MacBook Air (2010) with 2GB of RAM and a 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor, which significantly changed the performance of Mail when sending and receiving several large full-resolution images to and from iPhone , especially when the Mail application was open at the same time as several other applications. The reason is quite simple, Mail no longer has to draw previews of images and resize each graphic to be displayed on the screen, which means less RAM and requires less CPU usage to simply send and receive these messages.

Speed ​​improvements are likely to be even more pronounced on older Macs with fewer resources, or on older Macs, which are often in the most demanding situations. In testing, the difference may be profound enough that I would add it to my to-do list as I try to speed up the performance of older Macs, especially for anyone with complaints about the performance of Mail itself.

It’s worth mentioning that the newer MacBook Air or MacBook Pro model didn’t offer virtually any performance difference to the running Mail app, but these machines have plenty of hardware to draw 8MP images on the fly, whether it’s in Mail or elsewhere. It may be easiest to say this: if your Mac feels slow and sluggish when managing pictures, documents, photos, or other attachments in OS X Mail, try this tip. If you don’t have any complaints, don’t bother because it’s probably not necessary.

Show image previews in Mail Mail (default) in Mac Mail

Return to default email settings:

Update: Some users reported issues with the original default command, try this if you have issues:

defaults type com.apple.mail DisableInlineAttachmentViewing -bool false

The same email as shown above, this time by default the image preview drawn in the message window:

Email with image attachment previews

You can access MacWorld based on this hint by clicking the corresponding default command.

Benefits: Speed Up Mail App on Older Macs By Turning Off Image Attachment Previews

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FAQ: Speed Up Mail App on Older Macs By Turning Off Image Attachment Previews

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Final note: Speed Up Mail App on Older Macs By Turning Off Image Attachment Previews

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James Hogan
James Hogan
James Hogan is a senior staff writer at Bollyinside, where he has been covering various topics, including laptops, gaming gear, keyboards, storage, and more. During that period, they evaluated hundreds of laptops and thousands of accessories and built a collection of entirely too many mechanical keyboards for their own use.

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