Mountain Lion adds the ability to recognize senders of email as VIPs. Once you indicate that someone is a VIP, their email will also appear in a special inbox just for them. You can view all VIP email at once, or just one VIP, or your regular inbox as before. You can also customize Mail so it only notifies you when you get a new email from a VIP, not just everyone.



Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today’s episode let’s take a look at the new VIP feature in Mountain.

So Mountain Lion Mail has this new feature called VIPs. It allows you to mark certain people that you get email from as VIP and it shows them in a separate inbox. Let me show you.

So to get started with VIPs you want to add your first VIP. Now this should be somebody you get email from and you want to make sure you know when you get an email from them. So the way you do that is in Mail you go to a message you have received from them. You can go back and look at an old message or just wait until the next time you get one from them. Then you roll the cursor over the area here that has their information. When you do you will see a little star appears to the left of the name. You can also click on that little arrow there to the right of the name to add it from a drop down menu. But the easiest way to do it is to just click once on that star.

The first time you do that you will notice the creation over here of a VIPs mailbox. So the VIPs mailbox is an alternate version of your inbox that includes just the messages from that one email address. You can actually open it up here and take a look and see the individual names. So if you have five people that are VIPs you will see them all listed there individually. So you can actually focus in on just the email that you have gotten from one VIP.

So let’s go back to my inbox here and add another one. Here is a good example. The MacMost Newsletter. I want to make sure when the MacMost Newsletter comes in so I’m going to make the Newsletter’s email address a VIP here.

Now I can see there are two under VIPs. If I click on it here I can see all the messages from both of those together or I can focus in on just one or the other.

So the obvious use for this is that you can set VIPs up and then use this VIPs mailbox here as the place that you go to to look at your mail. Then every once in a while you can go back to your regular inbox and see what other email you have received.

In addition you can control Notifications based on this. Let’s go to Mail Preferences and under General Preferences here you can see that there is a new message notification setting and you can set it to be Inbox Only, only new stuff in your inbox, or VIPs. There is also settings here for only giving you notification when you get a message from somebody who is in your Contact list. But if you set this to VIPs now you just get notifications when a VIP sends you email.

So now we can go to System Preferences and under System Preferences go to the Notifications setting and under there we can look at the mail settings for Notifications. We can up the alert level here by having a full alert that you need to dismiss and have it play a sound when you receive notifications as well and now the notifications become that much more useful because you’re not going to get them with your constant stream of email, only when you get a message from a VIP.

Another thing about VIPs is that they are part of iCloud. So if you have two Macs, your MacBook say and your iMac, and they are both using the same iCloud account, setting up VIPs on one will make that same email address a VIP on the other.

Also, if that person has multiple email addresses in the Contacts, then all those email addresses become part of VIPs. So if they have a gmail account and an iCloud account you will actually be setting both of those to be VIPs because they are both assigned the same contacts.

Then in the future with IOS 6 we can expect that the VIPs feature will also go across there. So you will use the same Apple ID iCloud account for your iPad and you will have the same VIP setup there.

So I hope you found this useful. This is Gary with MacMost Now.


11 Responses to “MacMost Now 748: Mac Mail VIPs”

  1. Spice says:

    To remove an account from VIP status… move your cursor over the star and they will be removed???

  2. Delmar Knudson says:

    What if you’d rather have your naked body covered with honey and be staked to an anthill than get an email from some particular party?

  3. Karen says:

    Is it correct that the emails in the VIP folder are not copies, but just views (thereby not duplicating emails)?

    It seems that when you delete an email from VIP it also deletes it from the Inbox and vice versa.

    • Right. They are not copies. Like playlists in iTunes or albums in iPhoto. Think of it as a smart folder or the results of a search. They are an alternate way to view your inbox that only includes those contacts.

  4. Chris says:

    Great tip with the VIP and Alerts notifications! Now I can check my email only when I know it’s necessary. Highly useful.

  5. Nancy says:

    I have the VIPs on both my iphone & ipad but not on my computer. Do I not have something set right on my computer? Everything else syncs between the 3?

  6. Chris says:

    I work through Elance and receive email from them daily. However, each email address is different and only temporary for specific jobs, so I cannot make them a VIP.

    I can make a Rule for all Elance content to goto a new mailbox, but I cannot receive Notifications for custom mailboxes.

    Any tips?

    • “Send Notification” is one of the actions a rule can do. So you can set up a rule to put it in a special mailbox, and send a notification, and play a sound, and more if you want.

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