Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fixing an OS X "updating cache directory" problem

Yesterday Emily's email stopped working.

She reads email on 10.5.6 OS X Mail ( which sync via IMAP to our Google Apps family domain Gmail service.

I could see things looked fine on the Google side, so I opened the activity window and saw it was stuck on "updating cache directory" (Google search link).

It seems this is a fairly common OS X bug, but everyone I read had a different "fix".

Mine was very simple. I assumed it was an OS X problem; Apple is notorious for cache issues. I did a "safe boot" (hold shift on restart). That clears out some caches and is the first thing I do for most OS X problems. I like to do a "safe boot" every few months anyway; it's a bit of superstition perhaps.

After the "safe boot" I restarted. I didn't login, I just restarted normally.

The problem was fixed.


  1. Unfortunately, this solution didn't work for me. (OSX 10.6 on MacBook Pro Core Duo 2)

  2. For me, I ultimately figured out that the problem was I had to many messages in my All Mail folder (12K+). What I did was use the Google Labs "Advanced IMAP Controls" to limit my All Mail folder to 5K messages. Presto. The unending caching has finally ended.