How to Specify the Default Account in Mac OS X Mail

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Mac OS X Mail makes it easy to send a message from a different email account.

But what if you use one of the "different" accounts more often than the account suggested by Mac OS X Mail as the default? Make the account you use most often to send messages the default!

Specify the Default Account in Mac OS X Mail

To specify a default email account in Mac OS X Mail:

  • Select Mail | Preferences... from the menu.
  • Go to the Composing category.
  • Select the desired account under Send new messages from: (or Send new mail from:) (under Addressing:).
    • Select Account of selected mailbox to have OS X Mail choose the account based on the open folder; if you have your Gmail inbox open, for instance, if you start a new message, the Gmail address and account will be used as the default for sending.
  • Close the preferences window.

Specify the Default Account in Mac OS X Mail 1

To set the default account in Mac OS X Mail 1.x:

  • Select Mail | Preferences... from the menu.
  • Go to the Accounts tab.
  • Click on the account you want to make the default and
  • keep the mouse button pressed.
  • Drag the account to the top of the accounts list.
  • Release the mouse button.

Mac OS X Mail uses the topmost account in the account list as the default for outgoing messages. Of course, you can change the complete order of all accounts using this drag-and-drop method.

The individual account's folders under Inbox, for example, are also sorted in this order.

(Updated April 2016, tested with OS X Mail 9)