How to Add and Remove Email Addresses for VIP Senders in macOS Mail

VIP
Give VIP treatment to particular senders in OS X Mail. © sayot; CC BY 2.0 license

Does a VIP sender have more than one address? Tell macOS Mail all about it.

VIPs All the Way

Getting Mac OS X Mail to recognize the senders whose emails are most valuable to you as worthy of a star and personal folder and special notification treatment was easy. Getting OS X Mail to recognize alternative sending addresses for these senders was not extraordinarily difficult either. Getting Mail to forget the VIP status for a sender and have it treat them like any old contact was a snap.

What, now, about getting Mac OS X Mail to forget not that a sender is a VIP but just one of their alternative addresses? Removing the address from the address book card in Contacts, clearly, is not enough—but neither is it necessary.

Fiddling with OS X Mail's VIPSenders configuration file lets you edit any VIP sender's associated addresses freely and independently from the address book.

Add an Alternative Email Address to a VIP Sender in Mac OS X Mail Using Contacts

To add another email address for an important sender in Mac OS X Mail using the VIP sender's OS X Contacts entry:

  1. If the sender is not yet in your Mac OS X Contacts:
    1. Open a message sent using one of the sender's email addresses.
    2. Click with the right mouse button (or click, with the left, while holding down the Ctrl key; or tap with two fingers on the trackpad) on the sender's email address and name.
    3. Select Add to Contacts from the menu that comes up.
    4. Now click on the sender's name again with the right mouse button (or use your preferred method for bringing up the context menu, of course).
    5. Select Show Contact Card from the menu.
    6. Click Open with Contacts.
  1. If the sender is already in your OS X Contacts:
    1. Open Contacts.
    2. Locate and highlight the VIP's address book entry.
  2. Click Edit.
  3. Type the email address you want to add as an alternative for the VIP sender over an empty Email field.
    1. If you see no unused Email field, try selecting Card | Add Field | Email from the menu.
  1. Click Done.

Removing an address from the contact card will not, conversely, delete it from the VIP sender; you can remove the address (or edit it) manually, though.

Add an Alternative Email Address to a VIP Sender in Mac OS X Mail Directly Using the Configuration File

To add an alternative email address for a Mac OS X Mail VIP sender without using Contacts and without a message at hand sent using the alternate address:

  1. Shut down Mac OS X Mail.
  2. Open your OS X Mail folder in Finder.
  3. Go to the MailData sub-folder.
  4. Open the VIPSenders.plist file in a plain text editor such as TextEdit or TextWrangler.
    • To open VIPSenders.plist in TextEdit, for example, click on it with the right mouse button, select Open With | Other… from the menu and double-click TextEdit under Applications.
  5. Look for the desired VIP sender's entry.
    • Search for the name that appears in Mac OS X Mail under the VIPs folder, for example.
  6. Under the Addreses key for this dict, add a new line that reads:
    "<string>sender@example.com</string>"
    (excluding the quotation marks) to add "sender@example.com" as an alternate email address.
  7. Close TextEdit saving the VIPSenders.plist file.

VIPSenders.plist Example

If VIPSenders.plist reads like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">
<dict>
   <key>Senders</key>
   <dict>
      <key>7b6bmub3-272d-4103-8973-7190d549168f</key>
      <dict>
         <key>Addresses</key>
         <array>
            <string>newsletter@example.com</string>
         </array>
         <key>MailboxUnreadCount</key>
         <integer>5</integer>
         <key>Name</key>
         <string>Sender Example</string>
      </dict>
   </dict>
   <key>Version</key>
   <integer>1</integer>
</dict>
</plist>

, to add "sender@example.com", edit it to be

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">
<dict>
   <key>Senders</key>
   <dict>
      <key>7b6bmub3-272d-4103-8973-7190d549168f</key>
      <dict>
         <key>Addresses</key>
         <array>
            <string>newsletter@example.com</string>
            <string>sender@example.com</string>
         </array>
         <key>MailboxUnreadCount</key>
         <integer>5</integer>
         <key>Name</key>
         <string>Sender Example</string>
      </dict>
   </dict>
   <key>Version</key>
   <integer>1</integer>
</dict>
</plist>

, for example. Do use the Tab key to indent the added line.

Remove an Alternative Email Address from a VIP Sender in Mac OS X Mail

To delete an email address from a VIP sender's multiple addresses in Mac OS X Mail without removing the VIP sender altogether:

  1. Make sure Mac OS X Mail is not running.
  2. Open the OS X Mail folder in Finder.
  3. Go to the MailData folder beneath it.
  4. Open the VIPSenders.plist file in a plain text editor; TextEdit will do fine, as will TextWrangler, for instance.​
    • To open VIPSenders.plist in TextEdit, click on it with the right mouse button (or tap with two fingers on the trackpad, or click while holding down the Ctrl key, select Open With | Other… from the menu and double-click TextEdit under Applications.
    • You can also use a property list editor like PlistEdit Pro, Pref Setter or the one built into Xcode.
  5. Assuming you use TextEdit:
    1. Press Command-F.
    2. Start typing the email address you want to remove from the VIP sender.
      1. You need not start at the beginning; TextEdit will also find the address if you start with the domain name or in the middle of the username or domain.
      2. You can also search for the VIP sender's name, of course.
  6. Under the Addreses key for the desired dict, remove the line that reads:
    "<string>sender@example.com</string>"
    (excluding the quotation marks) to remove "sender@example.com" as an alternate email address from the VIP sender.
    • Do delete the entire line.
    • You can also merely edit the address, of course — to correct a misspelling, for instance.
  7. Close TextEdit saving VIPSenders.plist.

    You may have to add (and immediately remove) VIP sender status to a new, different sender in OS X Mail for the change to propagate to iCloud Mail at icloud.com, OS X Mail on other computers and iOS Mail on your devices.

    (Editing VIP Senders tested with macOS Mail 10)

    Was this page helpful?