The place for Postbox news and product updates.

May 6th, 2019

Optimizing Postbox for Search


We recently released several search improvements in Postbox, so we wanted to take a moment to update you on what's new.

Before we dive in, here's an overview of how search works in Postbox...


For messages to be searchable, Postbox must first download and index messages using a two-step process:

  1. When a folder is selected, message headers are downloaded and added to the search index.
  2. When a message is selected, its contents are downloaded and added to the search index.

However, Postbox cannot find messages it has not yet seen. If a folder or message isn't selected, then email data cannot be downloaded, indexed, or found during a search.

Fortunately, Postbox has a variety of settings that you can adjust to make search work efficiently for you.

How to Index Messages for Search

Manual Indexing
For new installs, it's a good idea to jumpstart the indexing process manually. Navigate to the Tools menu and select Indexing > Index All Folders. You can continue working in Postbox while the indexer runs in the background.

Idle Indexing
To keep the search index up-to-date, Postbox will automatically download and index messages when it detects that your computer has been idle for three to five minutes.

New! The amount of time Postbox will wait before indexing is now adjustable in Preferences | Options > Advanced > General > Index on idle after 180 seconds.

If you would like Postbox to be more active in keeping the index up-to-date, set this preference to a lower number. But note that this will consume more power and CPU cycles, impacting battery performance if you're on a laptop.

If you would like Postbox to wait longer before indexing, set this preference to a higher number, but this may decrease the frequency of indexing cycles.

Optimizing Postbox for Search

New! Download All Message Headers
As mentioned earlier, Postbox will only download message headers when a folder is selected. A new setting in version 6.1.15 enables you to automatically download all headers across all folders when Postbox checks for new messages. Navigate to Preferences | Options > Advanced > General and select the option for Download all messages headers.

New! Download All Message Bodies
To have Postbox automatically download all message bodies when a folder is selected or checked for new messages, navigate to Preferences | Options > Advanced > General and select the option for Download all messages bodies. Note that this setting only applies to folders that have been set to download offline.

When both of these settings are selected, Postbox will automatically download and index all headers and message bodies across all folders marked for offline.

Important: If you select both of these settings, be sure to set IMAP Limiting to a value other than No Limit, as otherwise you might download and index a lot of messages that you may not need.

Other Search Improvements

We've also improved how search functions when the Focus Pane and Account Groups are selected, when messages are manually downloaded after selection, and when searches are cleared.

That's it for this update. Thank you for being part of the Postbox community and for your continued support!