Mail in Mavericks with Gmail

Apple Mail in Mavericks with Google Gmail

The launch of Mac OS X 10.9 "Mavericks" brought with it significant changes to the way Apple Mail integrates with Google's Gmail service. Unfortunately, these changes were unexpected and initially not documented anywhere, so it took a lot of people by surprise, including myself.

The most comprehensive account of the situation I've read is by Joe Kissell over at TidBits. It's a good read if you manage your email through Apple Mail in Mavericks with Gmail.

I won't go into the details, as most of what you need to know is in Joe's article (there's good info in the comments as well). However, I will go through my personal case and maybe it'll help some of you in a similar situation.

First things first. I have a Google Apps for Business account that I got back when it was free for a certain number of users. At some point, Google removed this option and today you can only get the premium version, but they did grandfather those of us who'd signed up before the change.

I've been using this account for years with a personal domain and have set up email accounts for several family members that are not technically savvy. Just thinking about changing anything that might affect them seems like more trouble than it's worth. At least for now, I'd rather leave it as is.

Personally, I manage all my email with Apple Mail in the Mac and the built in apps in iOS. Prior to Mavericks, making Gmail work with Mail required you to go into Gmail settings and prevent the "All Mail" label from showing up in IMAP.

Mavericks changed that and it now tries to interpret Google's weird way of integrating with IMAP. When I first installed Mavericks and went to my emails it all seemed normal. Until I deleted a few emails from my inbox. Every time I opened Mail again those deleted emails reappeared. It was frustrating.

I spent some time testing different things until eventually I re-enabled All Mail, effectively reversing the pre-Mavericks "fix".

As I expected, Mail started to download thousands of emails. Normally, I would've stopped it and tried something else, but it was late at night and I decided to just leave it overnight and check what had happened in the morning.

By the morning Mail had finished doing its thing and everything seemed to work well again. I've been running it like this for 2 weeks and it's stable and everything syncs as expected.

So that solved my particular problem. But a few caveats though:

  1. I only use that specific account for light personal email. There are only 6,546 emails in All Mail.
  2. I rarely save attachments in emails. I download what I want to keep and file it away and delete the email. I'm using less than 800MB out of the 16GB in the account.
  3. I have never used Gmail labels or any other Gmail specific feature.
  4. I don't use folders in Apple Mail with the Gmail account.
  5. I never use Gmail from the web interface. It's always through Apple Mail on both Mac and iOS.

This means I'm perfectly happy keeping a copy of every single email in my Mac and the labels/folders issues don't affect me. If you're a heavy Gmail user this might not be an option for you. Enabling the All Mail label in IMAP means that Apple Mail (and any other normal IMAP email client) will download everything locally.

But if you use Gmail similar to me, try turning on All Mail (The Mac Observer has a quick how-to), letting it do it's thing until it finishes, and test if it meets your expectations. I'm happy with the way it works now.

Pixelmator 2.2 Blueberry - Mini Review

Pixelmator got an update a few weeks ago to version 2.2 called Blueberry. I didn't write about it at the time because I wanted to have a chance to play with it for a bit first. It was only a point update, so I wasn't expecting much. In my view, it's a mixed bag.

Pixelmator 2.2 Blueberry review

Let's start with the good stuff.

The new Paint Selection Tool is a welcome addition to the tool set. It makes the selection process much faster and is, for the most part, accurate enough. Obviously, it's not as powerful as Photoshop's multiple selection tools (for those wondering), but that's ok. It gets the job done and is a pleasure to use. This is my favourite feature of the new version.

The Light Leak Effect is fun to use and the Instagram crowd will love it. It's like Instagram on steroids with endless possibilities to customise the effect, so it's easy to create your own look. Personally, I don't think I'll use it much because it's not my style, but it's really nicely implemented and fun to play around with.

Pixelmator is still a normal buy-a-license kind of app, as opposed to that BS Adobe is doing with their subscription-only model. Sorry, had to vent on that one a bit.

Now with the not so good.

Most of the other new features are for graphic designers, not photographers. I fear Pixelmator is heading down a "let's be Photoshop and Illustrator combined" road. I believe this is a way to be kinda ok at both, but not great at anything. That's not a good place to be.

What I liked about Pixelmator was that it felt like a true photo editor for photographers. Sure, version 1 was buggy and it was missing many features, but it was heading in the right direction.

Now they're all excited about their new shape tools and vector features. They even "sneaked a feature" that turns Pixelmator into Vectormator. What. The. Hell?

Sure, the designer features are good and work remarkably well. But seriously, how many photographers add squares and butterfly shapes to their photographs? Text, maybe. Sometimes. At the very end of the process. I still think text should be at the bottom of the feature list in an photo editor for photographers.

Where are features like non-destructive adjustment layers? Or real PSD and TIFF support? Or 16 bit? Or a Liquify Tool?

They actually hinted that layer styles were coming in 2013 back in December 2012. Whilst that would be awesome, their communication back then suggested they were putting their efforts into non-photography related features. I even said I felt they were going to "follow the Photoshop path and become a bloat trying to please everyone".

I have to say I'm slightly disappointed with Pixelmator 2.2 Blueberry. It seems Pixelmator is no longer a photographers application. The question will no longer be photographers asking "how good is it as a Photoshop replacement" but it'll be web designers instead.

Still, I'm hopeful. And for $15 bucks I still think everyone should buy it. Maybe if enough of us support the developers they'll have an incentive to add the features photographers want.