Mastering Mail.app: Essential Tips and Tricks for Users

One of the standout features of Mail.app is its ability to utilize rules. These rules can execute various actions such as moving, copying, and changing the color of emails, or even auto-replying, forwarding, and redirecting them based on specific conditions. For instance, Mail.app comes with a pre-set rule called “News from Apple” that marks emails from Apple in a distinct light blue color. Below, I’ll share some of my personal favorite rules.

To set up a new rule, navigate to the “Add Rule” option in the “rules” section found in the preferences of Mail.app.

Highlighting Critical Emails
Some emails require immediate attention.

For those, I use a rule that visually distinguishes them. For example, if you’re expecting a crucial email from Stan Sitwell, CEO of Sitwell Enterprises, this rule makes the Mail.app icon bounce in the dock to alert you.

  • Select “any of the following conditions”

  • “From” contains “stan@sitwellenterprises.com”

  • “Priority is high” – then set the action to “Bounce icon in dock”

Managing Less Urgent Emails
Consider the frequent, less urgent emails from your brother, George Oscar Bluth (“GOB”), who often asks for money for his magic shows. You can automatically direct these emails to a specific folder.

  • Choose “all of the following conditions”

  • “From” contains “gob@bluthcompany.com”

  • “Message Content Contains” “money”

  • Set the action to “Move Message” to a designated mailbox

Email Announcer Feature
Imagine having someone announce who’s emailing you as soon as the message hits your inbox. This can be achieved with a rule combined with an AppleScript created by George Sudarkoff.

It even pauses your iTunes music to announce the sender’s name, then resumes playback.

  • Start by opening the AppleScript Editor and paste the script from this page on Sudarkoff’s website. Save it on your computer.

  • Select your desired conditions for the emails you want announced.

  • Choose “Run AppleScript” and select the saved script file as the action.

Automating Torrent Downloads
Another great use of mail rules involves an AppleScript that triggers actions when it detects specific keywords like “download torrent” in an email subject. This script, which you can find on macosxhints, will automatically start your torrent client and add the torrent to the queue. The script is available for download here.

While torrents can be associated with illegal downloading, many are legally shared to reduce bandwidth costs.

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Edward is a dedicated writer for TUAW, your go-to source for all things Apple. With a keen eye for detail and a love for technology, Edward brings insightful reviews and updates on the latest Apple products, from the iPhone and iPad to the MacBook and Apple Watch. His articles are both informative and engaging, making complex tech topics easy to understand. When he’s not writing, Edward enjoys exploring new apps and features on his Apple devices, always staying ahead of the curve.