• Setup Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo! in Mac Mail
  • Sort your email with Smart Mailboxes and Coloured Flags
  • Fix problems with autocomplete and using the Connection Doctor
  • Change the default account, signature and using BCC recipients

Apple Mail is the default Mail app that comes with Mac OS X. Because it’s included with new Macs, it’s the one that Apple users use the most, and although alternatives are out there: Mac Mail is one of the best email programs you can use.

There are a range of Mac Mail tips that can help you get the most out of using email on a Mac. This is our guide to the 10 most essential Mail tips you should know.


Read more OS X Mavericks tips here. 

Read our Calendar tips here.

Read our Maps tips here.

Read our Mail on a Mac tips here.

Read our iBooks on a Mac tips here

1: How to setup Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo!

Apple's iCloud is generally the default email client these days, and it’s used on a Mac because it is automatically set up during the initial Mac OS X setup process. But many people still use other accounts such as Gmail, Exchange (used for Hotmail) and Yahoo!.

Follow these steps to set up another another email account:

  • Open Mail and click Mail > Add Account
  • Click Google and Set Up
  • Fill out the Name, Email/ID and Password fields and click Set Up

It should automatically go through the setup process for each account.

If you have a different account, such as a work email, the process is somewhat more complicated. You need to click on Add Other Mail Account and follow the steps above. Mail will attempt to automatically set up your Mail account with the provider, but you may need to enter information such as the Mail Server. Your system support guys should be able to help with this.

Also: Mac support: Mail

See: How to make Mail and Gmail play together nicely

Mac Mail Tips: Set up new account

2: Search by Attachment type

One of the neatest new tricks in Mavericks is that you can now search by attachment type. You can now search for messages with Excel, for example and pick Excel Documents under Attachments at the bottom of the list. Now the list will only show Mail messages with Excel attachments. Handy!

See: Apple censoring iCloud emails and attachments

Mac Mail Tips: Search by attachment type

3. Smart Mailboxes

Setting up Smart Mailboxes is a perfect way to sort out your email messages. These use your rules to collect messages from other mailboxes. Set up a Smart Mailbox by following these steps

  • Open Mail and click Mailbox > New Smart Mailbox
  • Give the Smart Mailbox a name (we called ours Last Week’s VIPs)
  • Use the Any Recipient field to narrow down the option (we go for Date Recieved)
  • Use the Modifier field (to the right of Any Recipient) to modify the options (we choose last week).
  • Click the Add (‘+’) button to the right to add a second filter
  • Repeat the first steps to add a seocnd filter. We choose Sender is VIP
  • Click OK.

Now clicking on the Smart Mailbox called Last Week's VIPs in the sidebar will show all mail messages from people in our VIP list that have arrived in the last seven days.

See: Mac Help: Organise Mail's folders

Mac Mail Tips: Smart Mailboxes

3: Use Rules to highlight emails from your boss

Have you ever noticed that all emails from Apple come with a blue colour around them? This is a Rule that highlights all emails from Apple. You can create and edit these rules yourself.

It’s a good idea to pick your boss and highlight their emails. This way you’ll never miss a message from themn. Follow these steps:

  • Click on Mail > Preferences and Rules
  • Click Add Rule
  • Click Any Recipient and Choose From
  • Ensure that the modifier field is set to Contyains
  • Change the text field to the email address of your boss
  • Change the three fields to read: Set Colour of Message | Of Background | Red
  • Click Okay and the rule From Boss will appear in Red in the Rules window

From now on all messages from your boss will appear in red making them easy to spot.

Also: Macworld Secrets: Five essential Mail rules

Mac Mail Tips: Use rules to highlight emails

4 Stop Mac Mail from automatically using the wrong email address

One of the most annoying things to happen in Mail is when it learns the wrong email address for somebody you know. Then instead of entering the address you want it always enters the wrong one.

You can sort this by doing the following:

  • Open Mail and click Window and Previous Recipients
  • Enter the name of the person in the Search field
  • Highlight the name of recipient with the unwanted email and click Remove From List

Note that this doesn’t delete the person from your contacts list. it simply removes the email address from the Previous Recipients list.

Mac Mail Tips: Remove previous recipients

5. Send mail on Mac without people seeing who it’s addressed to

When sending an email to lots of recipients, you may want to send it to a group of people without them all seeing each others email address. This is generally considered a more professional way to send bulk email. You do this using the BCC recipients filed.

Do the following to send a bulk email to BCC recipients:

  • Click on New Mail
  • Click View and BCC Address Field
  • Enter your email address into the To field
  • Enter the names of the people you want to also send the mail to in the BCC address field. You can also drag names in from the Contacts app to this field
  • Enter your message and send it as normal. The message will be sent to you, and duplicated to all the other people in the BCC field. BCC stands for Blind Carbon Copy.

See: Macworld Secrets: Solve Mail search problems

Mac Mail Tips: Use BCC fields