Mail Message Swipe

A new feature of Mail in El Capitan is the ability to swipe across a message using your Mac's trackpad to access some common functions. This is similar to how Mail in iOS works. You can mark a message as Read or Unread, or delete it. You can also change the delete option to archive. This even works for messages not currently selected.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Mail Message Swipe.

Hi, this is Gary with On this episode let's take a look at a new feature in the Mail app in El Capitan that let's you swipe messages to quickly archive them or mark them as read.

I'm using version 9.1 of Mail which is with El Capitan. It has this ability to easily access a couple of key functions with an individual message.

I can select a message here in the message list on the left and I can swipe. Either swipe left or swipe right just like I do on the iPad or iPhone. But here on the Mac, of course, how exactly do you do that since you don't have a touch screen.

Well, you need to have a trackpad like all MacBooks do but also if you have a magic trackpad you can do it on your iMac or Mac Pro or Mac Mini. Use two fingers to swipe one direction or the other.

Now it is important to realize that I am not clicking. I'm just moving my fingers over the surface of the track pad. Not clicking down. When you do that slowly, I'm going to swipe from left to right, it reveals a button to the left. I can click that button to now activate that function. So it marks this as Unread. I can do that here again and mark as Read.

I can also do it a little more forcefully and it does it automatically. So I can, instead of clicking like that, I can go all the way across and you can see I can mark as Read or Unread.

On the other side if I go from right to left I get the Trash button. I can click that to throw this in the trash or if I swipe over harder it would just do it in one action. If I don't want to do that I just click here on the message and dismiss that button.

So there is two ways to access these two functions very easily. Either swipe slowly and click or swipe forcefully, just with a big swipe, and it would automatically do it without requiring a click.

Now you do have one preference that you can change if you go to Mail, Preferences, and you go to Viewing you have the option here to change Swipe Left from Trash to Archive. So if you use a system like gmail, for instance, you're definitely going to want to switch that to Archive. I never really delete any email. Now when I swipe here I get an Archive button rather than a delete button so I know that that message is properly archived and removed from my inbox instead of actually deleted and put in the trash where I'll loose that message forever.

One of the things I love about this as opposed to doing something else is normally you would just select this and you can hit the Delete key on your keyboard to delete, you can hit the Archive button or the Trash button to delete, you can even Control click on a message you've selected and select a ton of different options BUT with swiping you can do it with a message that you are not even viewing, that you haven't selected. Like this message here. I'm not viewing it, I haven't selected it yet I can still use two fingers on my trackpad and swipe to the left, click Archive, and I've archived it without actually even bringing the message up here.

Comments: 5 Responses to “Mail Message Swipe”

    3 years ago

    Thanks for the tip. Sure makes email management a breeze

    Robert Poland
    3 years ago

    This apparently doesn’t work in the Classic Mode.

    3 years ago

    You can use the mouse to do this on an iMac

    Steve Wolf
    3 years ago

    Gary. I use gmail. Why would I want to Archive messages which I have read and just want to put in the Trash?

      3 years ago

      So Gmail gives you pretty much unlimited space to store messages. So it doesn’t cost you anything. Gmail is designed to let you archive instead of trash email. The idea is basically that you never know what email you’ll need in the future. Sure, 99 out of 100 or even 999 out of 1000 emails you won’t need. But you don’t know which one you will. Perhaps it has the contact information of someone or a company you never thought you’d need again. Or, it is a receipt for something. By archiving everything you can easily search your email and find it. It also becomes a journal of sorts. When was that party a few years back when this-and-that happened? Check your email archive for the invite. Things like that. It is a handy tool to have all of your email available for searching.

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