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?