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How Do I Remove Email Attachments?

Hi Gary
I recently upgraded from Yosemite to Sierra on my 2012 iMac, and find that I can’t remove any email attachments, from either received emails or sent ones. In the menu bar I select ‘Messages’, and ‘Remove Attachments’ is greyed out. No received messages with attachments show the paperclip symbol in the message browser, yet the attachment can be saved from the email itself.
In Yosemite I could remove attachments from my received emails but not my sent ones, and I was hoping that Sierra would fix this, but it has got worse, not better!

Comments: 2 Responses to “How Do I Remove Email Attachments?”

    6 years ago

    If no paperclip symbol appears next to the message, then it means mail doesn't believe that there is an attachment for that message. That would explain why you can't select the Remove Attachments menu item, as it doesn't see an attachment.

    It is hard to say why this is the case without a firsthand look. So much about email is dependent on your server, not on the client software (Mac Mail, in this case). It could be that if you are using ISP email that their email service doesn't fully support how modern attachments work. Maybe there are no attachments, really, and the messages you think have attachments just have links to files on the server? Or, perhaps the ISP email server is just not compatible with modern email clients. Some of them are more than a decade out of date. That's one reason why I recommend that everyone leave their ISP email and stick with reliable services like iCloud or Gmail.

    Here is one thing you can check, though. Go to Mail, Preferences, and then Accounts. Then select your account on the left. Then look for the setting "Download Attachments." If it is set to Recent or None, then that would explain why the messages don't have attachment and why you can delete them. You may want to stick with this setting, as it is far easier than manually deleting attachments if you goal is simply to save space on your Mac. Otherwise, switch it to All to have those attachments downloaded. That may take a while and may require you to view the message or even rebuild the mailbox since the first time the message was downloaded it said "no thank you" to getting the attachments as well.

    6 years ago

    Thank you for your prompt and detailed reply, Gary.

    Re your last paragraph, I have seen other webpages where these settings for "Download Attachments' are mentioned for Sierra but I do not have them. Under 'Account Information', I have 'Enable this account', Status:, Description:, Email address:, "Remove copy from server after retrieving a message...",and 'Prompt me to skip messages over...".
    My account is a POP one - does that make a difference?

    Thanks again.

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