The Quick and Easy Way to Add Bcc Recipients in MacOS Mail

Protect recipients privacy with Bcc in Mail

The widespread use of email has given rise to an unwritten set of protocols that help users send and receive email productively and courteously, and macOS Mail is no exception. MacOS Mail, like most email apps, offers an easy privacy workaround: the Bcc feature.

Information in this article applies to the Mail application on Macs running macOS Catalina (10.15), macOS Mojave (10.14), macOS High Sierra (10.13), or macOS Sierra (10.12).

One such "good manners" protocol has to do with sending a single email to a group of people who don't necessarily know one another. It's considered bad form because listing all the email addresses in the To field doesn't respect the privacy of the individual recipients. Each recipient can see the email addresses of all the other recipients—a situation one or more might find objectionable or intrusive.

Another potential pitfall of sending the same message to multiple recipients at the same time is the perceived lack of personalization. The recipient of such an email might—correctly or incorrectly—feel that the sender didn't deem the correspondence important enough to create a personal message.

Lastly, you might not want to reveal all the recipients you sent an email simply to avoid awkward work or personal situations.

Bcc: What It Is and What It Does

Bcc is an abbreviation for blind carbon copy—a term held over from the days of typewriters and hard copy. Back then, a typist might include Bcc: [names] at the bottom of an original correspondence to tell the primary respondent that others received copies of it.

In modern-day email usage, using Bcc protects the privacy of all the recipients. The sender enters all the email addresses of the group in the Bcc field rather than the To field. Each recipient can see only his or her own address. The other email addresses to which the email is sent remain hidden.

Using the Bcc Field in macOS Mail

Like most email apps, macOS Mail makes using the Bcc feature easy. In the Bcc header field, you add all the email addresses to which you want to send your email. The other recipients of your message remain unaware of each others' receipt of the same email.

To send a message to Bcc recipients in macOS Mail:

  1. Open a new email window in the Mail application on a Mac. Note that the Bcc field may not show when you first open a new email screen in macOS Mail.

    New email message screen in Mac Mail app
  2. Select View > Bcc Address Field from the menu bar to open the Bcc field if the email screen doesn't already have one.

    Mail menu bar of Apple Mail

    You also can use the keyboard shortcut Command+Option+B to toggle the Bcc field on and off in the header of the email.

  3. Type the Bcc recipients' email addresses in the Bcc field. You don't need to enter any address in the To field, although you can. Enter a subject and the text of the email as usual and send the email.

    New Mail window with Bcc field

When each of the Bcc recipients receives the email, it displays Undisclosed Recipients followed by their own address in the To field, along with any names you entered in the To field when you sent the email. The other names entered into the Bcc field don't show, although the presence of Undisclosed Recipients in the To field indicates there are other recipients.

Apple Mail with undisclosed recipients

Your efforts to protect a Bcc recipient's privacy may be in vain if that person selects Reply All, which sends a reply to anyone listed in the To and CC fields. The Bcc sender reveals his existence, but not that of the other Bcc recipients.

If you forget who you Bcc'd on an email, you can see the recipients of your emails including Bcc recipients, at any time. However, no one who receives your email can access the Bcc information.