Top Apple Mail Tips, Tricks, and Secrets

Quick guide to mastering Apple Mail

Apple Mail, which comes as part of macOS, is packed with features that make reading and sending emails easy and convenient.

You can do more than that, however. Mail contains a suite of features that help you manage your inboxes and perform a variety of tasks. Here are 45 of the most useful things you can do with Apple Mail.

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How to Delete an Email Address From Auto-Complete

Remove From List in Apple Mail

If the email address of one of your contacts has changed, or to remove an email address from the auto-complete list in Apple Mail for another reason, here's how to undo a bit of history.

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How to Find and Open the Folder Where Mail Stores Messages

Message folders for Apple Mail

Here's how to find out where Mail stores your messages. This information is handy for backing up your messages. You can also use it to quickly clear out your inbox.

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How to Create an Address Book Group for List Mailing

Creating a new group in Contacts

Collect all members of your sales team, your soccer team, or any other group in an Address Book mailing list so you can email them all at once and with ease. Once you create a group, you can enter a single item in the To field of your emails instead of everyone's addresses one at a time.

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How to Request Read Receipts

Terminal app in macOS showing defaults write UserHeaders

In Apple Mail, you can request a read receipt for all messages and get notified when your mail is opened. Here's how to set it up using Terminal.

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How to Access Windows Live Hotmail

Screenshot showing selection of Other Mail Account

Mail supports a variety of email providers. Here's how to fetch, read, and reply to Hotmail messages from within Apple Mail.

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How to Block a Sender

Entry field for Rule description in Mail preferences

You can use filters in Mail to send incoming messages to any folder you want before it even hits your inbox. You can even send them to the trash. Get rid of annoying spam or undesirable forwards by blocking and trashing all correspondence from certain senders automatically.

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How to Add Bcc Recipients

BCC in Apple Mail

The BCC (blind carbon copy) feature lets you include recipients on emails who remain anonymous to the other people who receive it. This field isn't active by default, however. Read this article to learn how to turn on and use the BCC To line in Mail.

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How to Access a Gmail Account

Add a Google account to Apple Mail

If you prefer the speed and power of Apple Mail to Gmail on the web, you have options. You can also make a backup of the messages in your Gmail account that's functional as an email client. You can do this by adding Gmail as a POP — easily downloading messages — or IMAP account — accessing Gmail labels as folders flexibly.

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How to Send an Email to Undisclosed Recipients

To: undisclosed recipients for a new email in macOS Mail

Usually, at least one recipient of your email is visible to everyone, even if you use the BCC feature. This trick will let you send messages to a large group of people who remain completely anonymous.

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How to Specify a Default Account

Send New Messages from option in Apple Mail

You probably have multiple email addresses for work, email, and personal business. But you can set the one you use the most as your default to save some clicking. Read this tip to discover how.

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How to View the Source of a Message

Source code for a message in Apple Mail

Checking out the source of an email can turn up some useful information. You can see the sender's IP address, their email client, and the path the message took to reach you. You can use this info to fight spam or identify mysterious emailers.

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How to Change the Default Message Font

Fonts screen in Mac Mail preferences

You have several ways to add a personal touch to your emails. One of the easiest is to change the default font for the messages you write. This tip shows you how to adjust both the font and the size. Doing so

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How to Import Your Outlook Contacts into the Apple Mail Address Book

Dragging the vCards into MacOS Contacts app.

Your Mac already has a Contacts app, but you can import email addresses and information from other sources. Read this tip to learn how to grab the information from Outlook and consolidate it with your Mail book.

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How to Sync Your Address Book with Gmail Contacts

Selecting Google Contacts option

Copying contacts from other providers into Mail is one thing. But you can also sync it with Google. That way, whenever you add a new person to your Gmail contacts, it will appear in Mail automatically.

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How to Insert a Link in an Email

Add Link... menu item in Edit menu of macOS Mail app

You can add links to messages you send in Mail. Usually, that means pasting them in. But you can make it even easier for your recipients. Check out this tip to insert clickable links into your text that your reader can click like one on a web page.

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How to Export Your Address Book Contacts to a CSV File

Screenshot showing how to export Mac contacts to a VCF file

A CSV (comma-separated value) file is the go-to for files that contain a lot of separate entries. The contacts in your Address Book are one example. This tip will let you export that data while keeping each entry separate so that it stays readable. You can also use that CSV file to export your contacts if you want to.

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How to Add Links to Signatures

Option to all Link to text in a macOS Mail signature

Your signature is a block of text that automatically appears at the bottom of the emails you write. It can contain contact information, your favorite quotation, your website, or anything else you think your readers should know. To save space, you can use links instead of URLs. Here's how.

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How to Insert an Image Inline in a Message

Selecting images using the Photo Browser in Mac Mail

You can use rich formatting to unlock a bunch of extra options when you're writing emails. Some of them include bold type, italics, and embedded links. Rich text also lets you include images as part of the message instead of just as an attachment. You'll find this useful if you regularly make newsletters or need to include visual aids.

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How to Quickly Create a Calendar Event From an Email

Detail screen for an event in Calendar

In Mail, turning dates and times mentioned in email messages into events in Calendar is easy and fast to do. The program will identify and export the pertinent details to help you make an event with just a few clicks.

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How to Use Tables and Lists in Apple Mail

Table option under the Format menu in TextEdit

Basic, paragraph formatting isn't always the best way to present info in an email. Along with links, you can also insert bulleted lists and even tables. These options open up all-new options to help make your messages as easy to read – and write – as possible.

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How to Import Address Book Contacts into Outlook for Mac

Screenshot of Contacts

Mail isn't just about grabbing your contacts from other services. You can also export your Address Book to other places. Read this article to learn how to get your contacts list into Outlook.

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How to Select Multiple Messages Easily

Contiguous emails selected in the Mac Mail application

You can delete, print, and forward multiple messages at once in Mail. This is a handy trick to speed up how you process your inbox. Read this article to learn how to get several emails highlighted and ready for the next step.

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How to Send a Message Quickly

Laptop with email illustration
Atomic Imagery / Getty Images

If you regularly write a bunch of emails in a row, here's a tip that will save you time and wear on your mouse. This article shows you how to send a message using a quick keyboard command.

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How to Save and Use Messages as Templates

Save button

You don't need to re-invent the same message over and over again. To save some time writing similar messages, you can use Mail's Drafts folder to create a template that you can update for each one you send. This article will teach you a quick tip that will streamline your workflow.

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How to Empty the Trash Quickly

Erase Deleted Items in Mail

Deleting an email from your Inbox doesn't get rid of it completely. Instead, it goes to a Trash folder until you remove it for good. Read this article to find out how to dump those unwanted messages.

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How to Automatically Bcc an Address on Every Message

Terminal commands to automatically BCC

BCC can help you keep your message recipients anonymous. You can also use Terminal to automate this process to send copies to a secondary address or back to yourself. Read this article to discover how.

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How to Copy and Paste Text Styles

Past and Match Style in Mail

You can copy and paste more than text and images into your emails. The selections you move over from other sources can also bring their text and formatting along with them. Read this article to see how to save some time reformatting.

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How to Set up an Autoresponder

Creating a new rule in Apple Mail

Reply without moving a finger. Here's how to set up an auto-responder in Apple Mail that generates and sends replies to incoming mail automatically. You'll find this useful to let people in your contacts know you're on vacation and when they can expect a proper response to whatever they're messaging about.

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How to Use Search Operators to Find Mail Precisely

search results for an email address in Mail on a Mac

Sometimes you just want to read or reply to a specific email message. You don't have to scroll through your entire Inbox and all of your folders to find the one you're looking for. This article gives you valuable tips to help you pull up a specific email that might be buried.

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How to Make Apple Mail Send Conventional (Not Inlined) Attachments

Mail in macOS setting the attachments option.

Mail normally inserts attachments inline into the text of your email as you place them. It can also send all files in more traditional a manner, however, at the message's end. Here's how to enable that option.

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How to Access AOL Email in Apple Mail

AOL account in Apple Mail

Along with Gmail and Outlook, Apple Mail also plays well with your AOL account. You can either have the program download new messages or get seamless access to all your online AOL folders.

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How to Safelist a Domain in Mail

Creating a new rule in Apple Mail

Apple Mail lets you exclude individual email addresses from spam filtering. But you can also do the opposite to ensure that messages from a particular domain make it through to your inbox. Read this article to find out how to safelist the emails you definitely want to receive.

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How to Use Text Formatting and Images in Signatures

Composing tab in OS X Mail

You aren't limited to text and links in your Mail signature. You can also add formatting and even images. Check out this article to learn how to fully customize your sign-off text.

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How to Set a Default Signature for an Account in Mac OS X Mail

Black fountain pen on white background

deepblue4you / Getty Images 

You can create multiple signatures for your emails in Apple Mail. You'll find this convenient if you send different types of messages. For example, you might have a signature for work emails and one for personal messages. If you use one way more than the others, you can set it up as the default. Doing so will make Mail automatically add it to every email you write to save you the trouble of selecting it.

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How to Add Addresses From the Auto-Complete List to Address Book

Mac Mail app shown running on macOS Sierra

Apple Mail remembers everyone you correspond with. It stores those emails in your Previous Recipients list, but it doesn't add them to your Address Book. Find out how to convert the addresses Mail remembers for you to proper contacts.

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How to Change the New Mail Sound

General Tab in Apple Mail

Apple Mail has a variety of alert sounds it can use to let you know a new message has arrived. This article shows you how to choose the best one. And if you want no sounds at all, that's an option, too.

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How to Export Messages and Folders to Mbox Files

Mail on doorstop

Seb Oliver / Getty Images

Your messages don't have to live exclusively in your inbox or folders. You can also export emails and groups. Doing so will help you make backups or export them to other services. Check out this article to find out how.

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How to Change or Reverse the Mail Sorting Order

OS X Mail inbox with the sort menu highlighted

You don't have to stick with the default view in your Inbox. You can pull out unread messages, order them by when they arrived, and sort by message size, among other options. Here's how to change a folder's sort order in Apple Mail.

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How to Use Multiple 'From:' Addresses

'From:' line in Apple Mail

Nobody has just one email address anymore. Apple Mail includes options that let you choose which of your many accounts you use to send messages. You can also set one as the default if you use it way more often than the others.

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How to Change a Message's Text Background Color

Document Color menu in macOS Mail with the color options highlighted

Along with fonts and font sizes, you have some more opportunities to customize your messages in Apple Mail. One powerful option lets you change the background text of your messages. With this setting, you can put white text on a black background or be even more creative.

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How to See Bcc Recipients of Your Emails

View BCC in Apple Mail preferences

The recipients of your emails won't be able to see each other if you put their addresses in the "Bcc" field. But it's only invisible to them. Read this article to find out whom you've blind copied on any message.

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How to Display Messages in a Larger Font

Accessibility Zoom options

Apple Mail has settings that let you write messages in a larger font. You also have options available to read the emails you receive more with more comfort. Check out this article to see how to make the text come to you.

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How to Access the Gmail Address Book

Setting Google to use Apple Contacts on a Mac

Gmail works seamlessly in Apple Mail. The Gmail address book can work just as seamlessly in OS X Contacts. You can even set it to update when you make changes. Read this article to get Mail and Gmail working in sync.

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How to Save Multiple Emails to One File

OS X Mail inbox

 Epoxydude / Getty Images

Apple Mail lets you save any messages you've received. Doing so is a crucial step for archiving and backing up important documents. This tip lets you be even more efficient by compiling multiple messages into a single file.

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How to Specify a Preferred SMTP Server for a Mail Account

Mac Mail application server settings screen

When you send an email, more goes on behind the scenes than you may be aware of. This article will let you specify a particular server to handle your traffic. Doing so could increase Mail's efficiency and make sure your messages come and go as well as possible.