How to Search the Current Mailbox Fast in Mac OS X Mail

Hand holding a magnifying glass
Grab the metaphorical magnifying glass to find even tiny emails in macOS Mail. StockUnlimited

In macOS Mail, emails are easy to search, especially in the current folder.

Where did I see…?

macOS Mail and OS X Mail have a wonderful feature in its default toolbar: a search field. It lets you search for messages in the currently open mailbox (or, of course, any folder) really fast.

Search the Current Mailbox Fast in macOS Mail

To quickly find an email—or emails—in the current folder using macOS Mail:

  1. Click in the Search field.
    • ​​You can also press Alt-Command-F.
  2. Start typing what you are searching.
    • ​​You can look for a sender or recipient's email address or name, for example, or words and phrases in subjects or email bodies.
  3. Optionally, pick an auto-complete entry.
    • ​​macOS Mail will suggest people's names and email addresses, subject lines as well as dates (try typing "yesterday", for instance).
  4. ​Make sure the current—and desired—folder is selected in the Mailboxes bar under Search:.
    • ​​To have macOS search all folders, make sure All is selected.

For more control over search results, macOS Mail offers search operators.

Search the Current Mailbox Fast in Mac OS X Mail 3

To search the current mailbox in Mac OS X Mail from the Search Mailbox toolbar item:​

  1. Click on the scope selector drop-down menu (the icon with the magnifying glass) to select where you want to search: Entire Message, Subject, To or From.
  1. Type your search term in the entry field.

Mac OS X Mail searches for matching messages as you type the term for which you are looking, so you have to type only as much as is absolutely necessary.

(Tested with macOS Mail 10)