How do I set my default email program on Mac OS X?
Mail is set as the default email program on our Mac, so when we happen to click on an email link in anything (say, our browser), the Mail app automatically opens up and creates an email message. We don't want that, we'd like to be able to designate our chosen email apps (I use Thunderbird, she uses Entourage). How do you change this?
While there's a lot about Mac OS X that I think is wonderfully crafted, changing the default email program (or Web browser, for that matter) is pretty baffling. In the old days, there was a separate Control Panel for changing all these settings, but now you need to know the trick...
For changing your default email program, it turns out you need to launch the Mail.app program just once to get to its Preferences panel.
When you start it up, the program will step you through the configuration steps, but you don't have to finish these steps, just go step-by-step until the Preferences option on the Mail menu isn't greyed out.
Once you can get to the Preferences, here's what you'll see:
The topmost element is what you want to change: pick the mailer you'd prefer as your default email handler (You can see that I use Microsoft Entourage, not Apple Mail). Click the little red button on the top left to close the window and quit Mail without finishing up the configuration steps.
That's all there is to it.
If you wanted to change your default Web browser, by the way, Apple Safari has a similar option on its Preferences pane, in the "General" area. Why it's not a part of the "Network" Control Panel, or even its own Control Panel, escapes me completely. Wouldn't that be easier?
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Written by Dave Taylor
apple mail, mac os x, microsoft entourage, thunderbird
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Reader Comments To Date: 79
I never understood why Apple moved that preference out of System Preferences in 10.3. At least in the case of Safari, it's not too difficult... but you have to set up a fake account in Mail.app just to be able to get to the preference to allow you to change your default mail reader. At least they could make the Preferences item active without having to complete the setup process!
Thank you. I thought I had tried everything to change the default. Your clear concise answer did the trick.
I've tried that and the Mail.app is still opening when I try to send pictures out of iphoto. I've gone back in to preferences and double checked that my default s set to Thunderbird and it is... any suggestions?
fij, it's quite possible that Apple apps have a built-in predilection to invoke other Apple apps. What happens in Safari when you click on a "mailto:" link?
It opens Thunderbird from a webpage either in Safari or in Firefox, so at least that is correct. Any ideas on the iphoto thing?
Nevermind! I found it, although Thunderbird isn't an option there is a place to change your email preference in iphoto. Thanks!
Can I set up my mac "mail" to recieve mail from my "Hotmail"?
The reason you can't use Thunderbird (or Netscape or a few other mail apps) with iPhoto is that it uses Apple Script to communicate with the mail app, and evidently it is not easy to get working with many email clients. If yours is not one of the default clients, you may try this:
I may at some point try to write an intermediate app that takes Applescript commands from the above patch (or maybe directly from iPhoto) which allows you to compose the email in a Thunderbird-like environment and then mail it via Thunderbird, but this is non-trivial task (I suspect) and don't plan on doing it too soon. In the mean time, unless someone else does it, we're out of luck. The ugly way I do it is to have an inactive account in Mail.app which only sends mail from iPhoto with the proper return address and using the proper server. Yuck.
Thanks so much for your help - clear, concise, brilliant!
Jo Walton, Kew, Surrey, UK
to answer the homtail in mail question it depends;
if you have had your account for over 6months or so then you can set up the pop settings in mail they can be found by googling pop settings for hotmail,
if you have a relatively new hotmail account (a free one) then they have decided to dis-continue the pop functions,
they left the ability in old accounts, as not to dissuade current users,
Thank you! I am looking for similar information on my PC, because the email client i want to use is not showing up in the preferences list. grrr. but i enjoyed reading your page and will send mac users your way. Kjones
Where can I change the email preference in iPhoto ?
I read the instructions for making Entourage my default email, but I do not know how to get to Mail.app...when I launch mail and go to preferences I never see the screen that you show here.
How do I get to Mail.app where I can call up the mail preferences and change my default to Entourage?
I tried tying mail.app in finder and spotlight and I keep getting the same mail program. I even tried launching the mail install package with no results.
am I missing something?
This is a quote from your instructions to make Entourage the default:
"For changing your default email program, it turns out you need to launch the Mail.app program just once to get to its Preferences panel."
How do I do this?
Can anyone help?
Many thanks for this, had been struggling to figure this out for some time!
Excellent - thanks for such a clear and simple explanation of how to change what was becoming a frustrating setting for me!
My mac mail still kept popping up even after setting up for entourage default. Finally I just deleted the mail program, deleted from trash and that solved the problem - my mac now only looks to the only available email program, being entourage.
I dont know what would happen if a computer uses 2 programs (eg thunderbird and entourage) but it certainly solved the mac mail problem.
Mail.app? Huh? I don't see a mail.app! When I click on someones email address my default is Thunderbird. I want it to be "First Class" I see a MAC and I use Firefox.
Hi, I'm having a problem with sending emails with the mail program on my Mac powerbook.I can only receive. I have aol. Can you help?
My problem is that when I click on an email link in Firefox, it now opens a new email from my Gmail account. It was using Apple Mail before some magical moment that Gmail took over my computer, I guess.
How can I set Firefox to use Apple Mail?
Of all the goofy things!
Thanks! You saved me!
I have another kind of problem. I've deleted my Mail client by mistake and now i'm unable to change the default mail client. I want to use outlook 2003. Any clues?
Sorry for opening up this can of worms again ... Does anybody know how I can get Firefox (or Safari) to open Gmail (a compose pop-up would be the best) when I click on mailto links? Would be awesome since I only use that and not any local email client. I was able to set this on Windows XP, but I haven't found any clues about this for OS X yet.
Thanks in advance!
Thank you for having this lucid site. It helped me get G-mail to replace Mail as the way to forward certain articles. Now I will attempt to get Hotmail to do it. I no longer have to move items to my desktop and then send them along as an attachments. It was the exploding fondue news item which finally motivated me to solve this problem. Mac G-4's and IBooks/ OS 10.4 /Safari
I'm not able to set up a "fake account" in Mail.app. No matter what I try, I get this message: "Trying to log into the .Mac server “mail.mac.com��? has failed. Please make sure the username and password are correct. If you continue, you may not be able to receive any email." What am I doing wrong? I need to bring that "Preference" from gray to bright.
i was wondering how to make my google address my default email .... i continually need to choose an application from my HD but i just want it to go to google mail ... thanks, any help would be appreciated!
i did all the things you said on this page and still my apple mail is not working properly. i want yahoo to be my default outgoing mail server when i click any mailto link from safari or firox. is there a way i can do this? i have also tied to make entourage the default mail reader and through entrouge use yahoo and that has not worked either? can you please help me??
I'm a recent convert from PC to Mac.. still finding it challenging while adjusting as I am now realizing I was quite a "pro" when it came to getting my PC to do whatever it was I wanted it to do.. not so much on my Mac. GRR! Of course I started out with Entourage as my email client-- but when I couldn't get my 900+ contacts to import (GRRR!++) and it kept repeat downloading thousands of emails I kept on the server- along with frequent crashes of the entourage program- I decided to give Apple Mail a try.. so far.. it's OK.. I did change the setting in preferences to make it my default program.. but Iphoto still opens entourage to "share" photos. (which in turn downloads emails I no longer want in Entourage.
Can anyone direct me how to make apple mail my default email in iphoto? (max ox10.5)
Thanks in advance... so tired of growling! (wink!)
Doesn't work with Preview>File>mail image.
Still used Mail, not Entourage
Here's a whole new can of worms - does anyone out there know how to set up Lotus Notes as the default email in iPhoto. It does not appear as an option under iPhoto's preferences - and I have already set it up in the mail.app as the default email - but still no go!
Hi, anybody knows why I'm asked to set up a new mail-account in mac mail, when I already have one and have been using it for months already on this computer. Suddenly I cant get into my Mail, without setting up a new account???
I have Mac 10.4.8 and could not find "Mail.app" anywhere.. Outside of that, your web page gave me more hope of changing default ("mail to:") from Eudora to my mail program with "sbcglobal.net" (whatever they use), than anything else I've been able to find over the last month or so...
I have been able to get this to work properly with everything but Preview. Does anyone know how to get preview to use Entourage as the default mail app?
This do not work and the application mail is in full course
tom on my space i uploaded some pics onto my myspace and just recived a note stating that they would be removed when i was trying to deleate that acct i could not remember my pass wordf to deleate my acct also i deleated my old yahoo so there for i cant acess my my space except throuh my space im and im not 13 years old i am 38 years old changed my age some how dont know how but i cant ghange bavk to real age my birthday is 09-27-70- you can check it out to confirm my real age i cant change it and also will you email me my password so i may fix or your support team can fix it thanks my space support team for all your help as i do not know alot about pc sorry sincerly venys hayes
how do i set up a mail account with microsoft entourage for mac , i have just changed my default email handler from mac mail to enourage
And I thought Mac was going to be easy! I set up Entourage as my email client, now I want to give Mail a live trial, but Entourage won't let me change, just a button that says "Set Entourage to be my Preferred Email Client". Surely there must be a way to escape from Entourage or has Microsoft got me trapped? It seems that one of your correspondents (Linda Crews 26 Feb 2008) seems to have managed it. Any advice on what to punch next?
Garry, the key is that you have to use Apple Mail to change your email preferences even if you're not using Apple Mail. It's pretty lame, actually.
You can also try this little helper app, though I haven't tested it myself:
Thanks so much. I've had a mac for 4+ years and have never figured it out on my own. I just ignored it and would cut and paste the e-mail address. Finally, I was finally fed up and looked up the answer here. Thanks again.
Hey, does somebody have an answer to Ron's question:
"i was wondering how to make my google address my default email .... i continually need to choose an application from my HD but i just want it to go to google mail ... thanks, any help would be appreciated!
cause I have the same problem.
The original post (using Mail.app) does not seem to work with the more recent copies of iPhoto v8.0.4. I solved this issue by going to the iPhoto > Preference menu. When the window opens, go to "General Preference" and select the desired email application. In my case we used Entourage instead of iMail.
I've set thunderbird as my default email program and set apples mail program preferences to use thunderbird as the default program.
But here's the thing. When I open saved emails from my hard drive the Mail program opens them and says it's the default. But thunderbird receives all emails and sends them? eh....
I'm on OSX 10.4.11
Does not work for me in Snow Leopard even after restarting Mail and Preview upon making the change. "Mail Selected PDF" keeps launching Mail instead of my Thunderbird.
I am ready to install XP on my MacBook. There. I said it. :-)
Well, I'm "stuck" on 10.39 - got iBook and can't afford to upgrade right now :-(
Mail:Preferences DOES NOT show "General" only, "ACCOUNTS".
I've always used Mail but suddenly my system is defaulting to Eudora!
That is very clear except that googlemail or gmail doesn't appear as an option when I try to select a different email reader, I presume because it doesn't get loaded as an app but works inside the browser. Any ideas?
GLG, you might be on an earlier version of Mail? Try checking out your System Preferences -- I don't have a 10.3.9 system to poke around.
Rod, you're right, Web-based email systems like Gmail don't show up as options. Depending on your Web browser, though, you might be able to go into the browser preferences and set it anyway. Pretty sure that Google Chrome can work with Gmail as the default email app, for example.
Thank you for this great info ...have now changed email account to Entourage as you described.
One more thing ..when an email is moved out of Entourage (say to desktop) when next opening it, it defaults to Mail.app ....help! Where do I go from here to get MS 10.6.2 to accept Entourage as default. Any ideas?? would be most grateful for any assistance with this.
I purchased a MacBook Pro with Snow Lepard 10.3 I believe it is, on it. My Default for E-Mail is Safari 4.03 I believe.My E-Mail server is Bellsouth.net and set at that. Next to acct. typy it has Bellsouth.net POP Every time I try to attach a Picture it won't send it. Say's I'm not online with the mail stamp and the Eagle Flying on it. I don't know what to set my Outgoing Mail Server at??? I have been setting it at (SMPT) but every time I go to send mail it says I'm (offline). I know I'm ONLINE, because I am sending this E-Mail to you from this same computer using Safari instead of my Mail Server. I also checked a box that say's, use this server only. Then tried it, without the check. Still NO Luck. Any suggestions to this problem please???
Mathew, sounds like you have your system configured properly, but don't have the right email settings for the mail program. Check the Bell South help page and I bet you'll find specific details on how to configure your email properly. Good luck!
Thanks for this post. However, I have entourage as my default program, but when I choose to email photos through iPhoto, it launches Mail. Is there a way to change this?
Marie, I believe that the iWorks apps are essentially hardwired to launch Apple Mail rather than respect the systemwide Mail app setting...
I'm using my mac mail as my business e-mail and for the last 4 days I can't receive any e-mails from any yahoo accounts, and if I try to send an E-mail to an Yahoo account it will come back a few days later as undelivered... What is wrong!!! I'm running an internet based business and need to know that I am receiving all e-mails and that the e-mails that I sent out get to the person.
anyone able to answer how to get 'Preview' to use Entourage as the Mail client? I've run out of ideas for workarounds! This has been asked here once but no answer yet...
There is workaround for emailing an image from Preview using Entourage that I just found.
Just drag the icon for the pdf (or image) and drop in on the Entourage Icon on your dock or in an open email you are editing. The icon I am talking about is in the title bar, next to the name of the file. It is a bit tricky to grab the icon without moving the window, but it is possible. I found this idea on the apple discussing boards, so credit is due there. But it did take me a while to figure out what icon they were talking about.
Hello, I have a questions which i HOPE someone can help me with.
I have a PC at the office running Outlook using a POP email acct. I also have it accepting an AOL email.
I have both these email accts set up on my MACbook Pro and my Iphone. The AOL email, I can read and delete from one computer and it will affect the computer at my office. The problem is I can do the Same to the POP email acct. How can I get by this?
So what I would like to be able to do is delete an email that comes in to my POP email on my Apple and have it automatically make the change on my PC at work.
Hope your not confused! Thanks for listening!
I want to set up my email to go through my personal business account (not typical hotmail, gmail, yahoo etc). Suggestions on how I do this? I see and understand the Mail-Preferences- but don't know where to go from there!!!
ANY HELP IS APPRECIATED!
Can you help me with this problem:
I am using Entourage (2008 ver. 12.2.6) on Mac OS X (10.6.4).
Wants to set Entourage as my default mail program for all situations of mailing...
Need to send PDF-file from Preview (default pdf-viewer).
In Preview menu: File > Mail Selected PDF Document > Mail opens and NOT Entourage.
In Mail preferences I have chosen Default email reader: Entourage (thanks to your instructions :-)
Thanks in advance...
Someone in here asked how to make Firefox/Gmail the default program. Open mail, go to the preferences as described in Dave's post, then manually navigate to Firefox in the Applications folder. It will then automatically open Gmail, or at least it works for me.
I have been trying to do Print -> PDF -> Mail PDF and wanted my other email app to handle the new email message, but have found nothing that works to do this. I finally gave up, but I thought I'd post the details of the failure to warn others off trying what I did.
First I followed the suggestion of setting the preference in Mail's preference pane, but that didn't work, as others trying to do this have found.
Next, I installed and used Rubicode to try setting the preferences more granularly, but no matter what I tried, even changing every single reference to Mail to my other email app, iOS opened Mail to send the message.
Finally, stupidly, I tried what somebody else suggested above, and deleted the Mail app altogether. I don't know if it was because I did this after setting things using Rubicode, but for me, this caused a major hailstorm. When I tried to print to mail a PDF, I got an error saying the action "New Mail Message" had encountered an error and I should examine the preferences and try again. Much googling terms later I had failed to find any way to resolve that error - I couldn't figure out how to edit the action's preferences - and I decided to give up. To restore Mail, I used Pacifist and my install disks to install Mail only, then downloaded the Mac OSX Update Combo 10.6.5 to update to the latest version.
In short, do not delete Mail, and frankly I wouldn't recommend using Rubicode either unless you REALLY REALLY know what you are doing. I consider myself a power user and I'm a programmer (though not of Objective C or Applescript) and I don't have enough REALLYs. Don't do it.
Or if you do, and you succeed, will you post here how you did it?
Thank you djt for the info on grabbing icon on dropping on entourage. It really seems to be the only way around the MAIL default preference in Preview. You are the only person on this post that provided a workable solution. Hats off to you!
Thanks Dave! That worked perfectly!
Hi, once more: how do I send pdfs from preview with another program than mail (thunderbird in my case)? The drag and drop technique mentioned above does not work on my mac. I also set the preferences in mail.
Great article! This was driving me crazzzzy
thanks for this - so helpful!!!
Does anyone know if it is possibly to make FirstClass email your primary email program on the Mail app.?
Alejandro, if Apple Mail doesn't see FirstClass as a choice for your default email program, then I suspect the answer is "no", but I'd email the program developer and see if they have any good ideas. That's Open Text Corporation and their site is at http://www.firstclass.com/
How do I get Preview in OSX to mail a PDF or Image in Outlook for Mac instead of Mail which it apparently is defaulting to?
I use GMail on all Macs and just learned of new application created by Google to resolve this Mail issue. Go to Google support and download Google Notifier. This provides the option of GMail as default email instead of Mail (which in my opinion is one of the most unreliable email programs ever created).
I'm re-posting something that DJT posted a year ago, because it worked!!
There is workaround for emailing an image from Preview using Entourage that I just found.
Just drag the icon for the pdf (or image) and drop in on the Entourage Icon on your dock or in an open email you are editing. The icon I am talking about is in the title bar, next to the name of the file. It is a bit tricky to grab the icon without moving the window, but it is possible.
I can see how to change my default email program for most instances (like Firefox) but how do I change the default in Finder? When you right click on a file, the last choice in the dialogue list is "New email with attachment". I want to have this option select Thunderbird but it chooses Mail (which is used by my wife while I use TB). Finder Preferences doesn't have any selections. Any ideas?
this does not set up a default mail program. This still uses the mac mail program on the computer. You log on and hit your email server and download email to the mack in the apple email program.
This DOES NOT make outlook 2011 the default email application.
Here's a workaround for the Mail PDF bug, found on an Apple forum:
Press the PDF button in the Print... dialog, click Edit Menu, and then the "+" sign to add another item. Navigate to Applications -> Entourage (or Outlook, or your other mail program) and choose it. From then on, you can select Entourage from the PDF button, and the PDF will be attached to a new message.
Thank you very much for taking the time. I appreciate the assistance.
THANK YOU!!! When I installed Chrome, it changed my default email reader to Chrome and I HATED it!
I now have it back the way it belongs!
This was so easy!!! Just did Thunderbird. Great
I use Mail as my default email app, however when I look in Preferences | General there are like 200 apps listed (courtesy of Parallels, which I use about once every three months, if that), and most annoyingly the top one is "Internet Explorer.app (Windows XP)" No matter how many times I change the default app to Mail, next time I open the Preferences, the choice is back to the dreaded IE ... It doesn't actually affect Mail - when I click on mailto: link it is Mail that pops up, but it is annoying nonetheless to have these mess in options... How can I edit out most of these apps listed as possible default options there? Only really need Mail and Thunderbird remaining?
I do have a lot to say, and questions of my own for that matter, but first I'd like to say thank you, Dave, for all your helpful information by
buying you a cup of coffee!||
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