New Mail Notification Style in Mac OS X Mail

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This is not a matter of style alone.

The style you choose for alerts about new (or important) emails in Mac OS X Mail brings with it a certain function as well. Do you prefer alerts for key messages only and have the notifications linger and nag until you accept them? Do you want quick notices that let you know what is going on if you glance at them but do not really interrupt and hide all on their own? Do you, perhaps, like but a comforting "ding" every once in a while?

OS X and its Notification Center together with Mail can deliver just the nudges you need — in the style you prefer.

Pick the New Mail Notification Style in Mac OS X Mail

To choose how you want Mac OS X Mail to alert you about new messages:

  • Open the System Preferences application.
  • Now open the Notifications category.
  • Select Mail in the list of applications under In Notification Center or under Not In Notification Center.
  • Choose the desired style you want to use for new message alerts under Mail alert style:
    • None: no pop-up notifications will appear on the screen; recent messages can still show up in Notification Center, sounds can still play, and Mac OS X Mail can still indicate unread mail hints badge icon if enabled.
    • Banners: pop-up messages show briefly in (and disappear automatically from) the desktop's top right corner when emails for which notifications are enabled arrive.
    • Alerts: pop-up messages appear to the top right of your desktop when new mail worthy of notification arrives; you have to acknowledge the alert message by clicking Open (to open the message) or Close (to merely dismiss the alert) for it to disappear.
  • Choose how else you want Mac OS X Mail to treat unread or new messages:
    • Recent Items: Have Notification Center collect and list the most recent email messages (which you can open straight from there) whether or not you received any other kind of notification for them.
    • Badge app icon: Have the number of unread messages counted in Mac OS X Mail's Dock icon.
    • Play sound when receiving notification: This has no effect; you get an audible alert for new mail if (and only if) a sound is selected for incoming messages in Mail itself.