10 Ways To Customize Mac Mail

Mail is one of the most customizable apps that comes with macOS. You can change how you view your list of email, access mailboxes, read messages and much more.

Comments: 40 Responses to “10 Ways To Customize Mac Mail”

    Russ Winkler
    7 months ago

    I have a section in the sidebar titled, “On My Mac”. What is this for?

    7 months ago

    Russ: It is for messages stored on your Mac and not on any server. You can create mailboxes there to move messages to and have them only stored on that one device. I don’t recommend using it, but maybe for drafts.

    Jesper Vogelius
    7 months ago

    Hi Gary,
    Is it possible to “merge” mailboxes under favourites like e.g. inboxes?

    I would like to move some boxes from all my accounts to favourites but only want to see one that I can expand if needed.

    thanks in advance

    7 months ago

    Jesper: Merging mailboxes would mean copying all of the messages from one mailbox to another and deleting the empty one. There’s no way to merge a mailbox but only in Favorites as Favorites just shows your normal mailboxes. You could create a Smart Mailbox with conditions that specified any email in both. Not sure how well that would work but try it and see.

    Norm Probst
    6 months ago

    I send and receive message for personal and trustee business under the same Yahoo account. I have been saving many of my email for trustee business in folders by year under the Yahoo account name because I often need to look back for messages. I also would like to transfer the correspondence to my successor eventually. What is best way to move this correspondence in these folders to my Mac in way that I could give them to someone?

    6 months ago

    Norm: “Best” is subjective. But maybe in this case use multiple methods. Why not? Export them as .eml files. Then also export them as PDFs. Give both. See https://macmost.com/better-ways-to-organize-important-email-messages-on-your-mac.html for ideas.

    Brian Edmond
    6 months ago

    I have three mailbox accounts but when I receive mail addressed to one account it is deposited in the wrong account? e,g, my bus emails go to my Gmail acc?

    6 months ago

    Brian: Not sure what you are seeing. Incoming email isn’t “deposited” anywhere, you are just viewing the different mailboxes. So when you select JUST one account’s inbox, you would be viewing just the messages in that account’s inbox.

    Sue Herrmann
    6 months ago

    Hi Gary, I enjoy the All Inboxes displaying all the emails from my three different email accounts. I have created Smart Mailboxes to collect my most read emails. However, now I have two copies of those emails, one in All Inboxes, and one in the Smart Mailbox. If I delete one from All Inboxes, it also deletes it in the Smart Mailbox and vice versa. I was hoping the Smart Mailbox would file the email out of site.

    6 months ago

    Sue: You don’t have two copies. A Smart Mailbox is just a different way to look at your messages. Think of it like a playlist in Music/iTunes or an album in Photos. The message is there once, but you have different ways of grouping them now.

    nick
    6 months ago

    hi Gary, how should Archive be used? I like to save important emails in the native Mail format in specific folders I created in Finder, but always wondered if there are advantages in using Archive. thx

    6 months ago

    nick: It is all a matter of personal preference. Plus, no reason you can’t do both. The advantage to saving everything in your Archive like I do is there is one place to search. I don’t have to think about whether an email I’m looking for was important enough to be in one place or the other. Everything is in Archive so I search there.

    nick
    6 months ago

    Gary: I like the idea of having al email in one place. I have 3 email accounts, if I archive emails, will they go into each account Archive? Also, does the search within an Archive look at all text within the emails? I’m just trying to anticipate what the search terms might be. Thanks for taking the follow up question :)

    6 months ago

    nick: When you archive an email, it goes to the archive for its account. Search should look at all text, but it really depends on the email service. The Mail app just asks the service for results.

    Braden Minaker
    6 months ago

    My favorite customization is to turn on “view favorites bar” and then I can maximize my screen space by minimizing the mailboxes. With this I can put any folders that I would need to go into, or you can even drag a message to one of those favorites right in the bar. I love it since I keep my folders pretty simple.

    Petri
    6 months ago

    When you group related messages it show you all the conversations that took place with the newest at the bottom. Is there a setting to switch this around and put the latest at the top?

    Petri
    6 months ago

    Garry I got the box to tick for that

    David Wright
    6 months ago

    I use Rules to pre-sort my emails for things like Priority; News Letters; Family; etc. and move them to an appropriate folder. Would it be better, or more efficient, to use Smart Mailboxes instead of the Rules feature?

    6 months ago

    David: Up to you. Just two different ways to do it. I don’t use rules or multiple mailboxes as I don’t want to create complexity that isn’t needed. I find searching my archive is all I need. But Smart Mailboxes are just searches that are easy to access, so in a way that’s not far from how I do it.

    Sue Herrmann
    6 months ago

    After expanding my Mail window to full screen, when I double click on an email to open it, or create a new email, it doesn’t go to split screen. A new, smaller window opens on top of my Mail window. The split screen would help in responding. Is there another way to do it? I have the latest update to Big Sur on a MacBook Pro.

    6 months ago

    Sue: Perhaps you turned this off? Look in Mail, Preferences, General for “Prefer opening messages in split view when in full screen.”

    Sue Herrmann
    6 months ago

    That was it! Thank you. I never turned it off. Apparently it had not been checked when updated.

    kirsten
    6 months ago

    Hi Gary, I installed Big Sur and now every time I open an e-mail, it shows e-mail by conversation, which I find EXTREMELY annoying. I can only turn it off by clicking ‘hide related messages’ (since show by conversation was already turned off!), but that only works once for every mail. And then when you go to the next mail in your inbox: it’s with conversations again. Do you know how to fix this?

    6 months ago

    kirsten: Turn off View, Organize By Conversation.

    Kirsten
    6 months ago

    Hi Gary, that’s what I said: show by ‘conversation’ (or: organize by conversation) is already turned off but STILL it shows e-mail by conversation. The only way I can turn if off now is by clicking (a bit further below) on ‘hide related messages’, but that only works for one mail/conversation at a time, it’s not a general setting for all mails. Seems like a bug or something?

    6 months ago

    Kirsten: Then how about Mail, Preferences, Viewing and “Include Related Messages.” Does that fix it?

    Kirsten
    6 months ago

    That’s already checked as well. However: without restarting, rebooting or anything, the problem now seems to have stopped. I find Big Sur to be very frustrating so far, it seems really buggy. Dragging a calendar appointment to another date often doesn’t work either, until you click another appointment, drag that around for a moment and then try again with the original one you wanted to move. Things like that. ANYWAY: thank you for trying to help out, I really appreciate it!!

    Sue Smith
    6 months ago

    Hi Gary, How can I customize my mail sidebar so my email accounts are listed first and my folders after the emails? When I upgraded to Big Sur the sidebar flipped and folders are now above my email accounts. Thanks!

    6 months ago

    Sue: Just move what you want to Favorites.

    Linda K
    5 months ago

    If I close the mail preview screen – drag it all the way to the right – I no longer see the preview, BUT does that also stop it from opening? or does it still open, just out of sight? I get 100’s of unwanted emails, unsubscribing seems to multiply them, and most of them never actually unsubscribe, no matter how many times I try. The opening of the preview screen seems to slow down my deleting when each frame opens even if I do it as fast as I can.

    5 months ago

    Linda: Not sure. But it doesn’t really matter. Yes, I can see how it would speed up deleting messages, but it could also slow you down if there is a message you aren’t sure about. It sounds like your email service isn’t doing a good job with junk mail. Maybe consider switching. See https://macmost.com/how-to-really-stop-getting-spam-email.html

    Gilbert M
    4 months ago

    Hi Gary, I finally upgraded to Big Sur. I’m frustrated by the layout of the toolbar. Thhe “reply, reply all & forward” buttons have not only been condensed into an arrow, but that this arrow is all the way over to the right. It’s not logical and requires more track pad motion to the right. If I’m not mistaken these buttons were straight up from the list of emails. Is there a way to move the reply-replay all and forward buttons over to the left? I went under customize toolbar & you can’t.Thanks.

    4 months ago

    Gilbert: You can customize the toolbar in Mail and almost any app. See https://macmost.com/how-to-customize-app-window-toolbars-on-your-mac.html

    Cortjan
    3 months ago

    Hi Gary, Using Big Surs Mail is there a possibility to completely turn off ‘Grouping Conversations’ for all postboxes/folders in one setting? Or is there only a tick/untick option per postbox/folder?

    3 months ago

    Cortjan: View, Organize By Conversation.

    allison
    2 weeks ago

    How do I change the toolbar in mail to gray slate. Everything is white. I would like the mail sidebar/favorites bar to be grew and messages in black with white background.

    2 weeks ago

    Allison: You can’t theme the toolbars. Maybe try switching to Dark Mode if you want a more radical change. Or look at some of these options: https://macmost.com/10-ways-to-customize-the-look-of-macos-big-sur.html

    Karen
    1 week ago

    I just created a new mailbox in my mail account and it appeared at the bottom of my list of mailboxes. When I tried to drag it up to where I want it, it bounced back to the bottom. I have always been able to drag and drop mailboxes in the past but I think this may be the first time I’ve tried it since installing Big Sur. Is there a trick?

    1 week ago

    Karen: The sidebar is broken into sections by account. You can drag within your section, or you can drag to the Favorites section at the top. You can’t drag from one account to the other as that doesn’t make sense.

    Karen
    1 week ago

    Got it. It works. Thanks.

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