iCloud Mail Message Size Limitations

Send bigger files over iCloud mail

A package ready to be mailed

 Beck Gussler / Flickr / Creative Commons

iCloud Mail has an upper limit to the size of any message that you can send or receive, which even includes emails sent with file attachments. Messages sent through iCloud Mail that exceed this limit will not be delivered to the recipient. 

If you need to send really large files over email, be sure to see the section at the bottom of this page for information on those kinds of services.

If you can't send an email with iCloud Mail because of some kind of limitation error, be sure to check over the other limits imposed by iCloud to see if you're breaking any of those.

iCloud Mail Size Limits

iCloud Mail lets you send and receive messages that are up to 20 MB (20,000 KB) in size, which includes the message text as well as any file attachments.

For example, if your email is only 4 MB with text, but then you add a 10 MB file to the message, the total size is only 14 MB, which is still permitted.

However, if you add an 18 MB file to an email that already exceeds 2 MB, then it will be rejected since the whole message exceeds 20 MB.

iCloud Mail's email size limit is increased to 5 GB when Mail Drop is enabled.

How to Email Really Big Files

If you need to send files that exceed these limits, you can use a file sending service that doesn't have such a strict limit. Some file sending services let you send files as large as 20-30 GB or more, and others have no limits at all.

Similar to a file sending service is a cloud storage service, such as DropBox Google Drive. With these, you can upload files that you want to share with someone, and then instead of sharing the files, you just need to share a URL that points the recipient to the online files. These work well for avoiding email limits since most cloud storage services support really large files.

Another option is to compress any file attachments into an archive, like a ZIP or 7Z file, with a tool like 7-Zip. When used with the highest compression level possible, some huge files can be cut down enough to still be usable within the iCloud Mail limits.

If none of these options work well for you, you can always send multiple emails that each include part of the original so that the large email can be reduced to several smaller ones. This isn't generally desirable for the recipient but it does work just fine for avoiding iCloud Mail's file size limits.

For example, while you can't send one 30 MB archive of several images and documents over iCloud Mail, you can make three archives that are 10 MB each, and send three separate emails that don't exceed the limits.

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