Mac Mail App Tips: Send, Reply, Attachments, Search & More

From using the filter button to uploading and downloading email attachments, this guide covers the basics of how to use the Mail app on your Mac.

Mail is a powerful email application that lets you communicate, share attachments, and keep your messages organized. Our guide walks you through basic operations like how to add an email attachment and delete messages to help manage your email documents within the Mac Mail app.

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How to Send & Reply to Emails in the Mac Mail App

Send an Email in the Mail App

Start with your Mail app open. Once you have your email accounts linked and your signature set up, you’re ready to send emails using the Mail app. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Click the Compose button at the top of the screen.

    Click the compose icon to send a new email
  2. In the From section, you'll see your email address.
  3. If you'd like to switch to a different email address of yours, use the drop-down menu to choose the right one.

    Select which email you want to send from
  4. In the To section, type the name or email address of the recipient. As you start typing, Mail will offer auto-complete options.

    Search for a recipient in the To field
  5. Type the Subject and the Body of your email.
  6. When you’re ready, click on the paper airplane Send icon in the top-left corner to send your message.

    Click the paper airplane Send icon to send your email
  7. Once sent, you can find this message in your Sent folder.

Reply to an Email in the Mail App

  1. Select the message that you’d like to respond to and click on the back arrow to reply or the double back arrow to reply to all.

    Click the reply or reply all arrow
  2. This will open a new window.
  3. Type your response in the body of the email. When you’re done, click the paper airplane Send icon to send the message.

    Click the paper airplane Send icon to send your email
  4. Your sent email will now appear in the Sent folder.

How to Upload & Download Email Attachments on a Mac

Sending and receiving attachments is seamless when you use the Mail app.

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Download Attachments in the Mail App

In a few clicks, you can download, open, and save the attachments you receive:

  1. Open the email with the attachment. When you receive photo attachments, these often appear in the body of the email.

    Photo attachments will appear inline with the body of the email
  2. To download, click on the paper clip Attachment icon. This will open a menu with a download icon that looks like an arrow pointing down.
  3. By clicking on the download icon, you can Save your attachments and choose their Location in your Mac.

    Click the paper clip icon and select a download method

Add Attachments in the Mail App

  1. Click the Compose icon at the top of the screen to start writing a new email, or click on the Reply icon to respond to an existing email.
  2. In the new window, type your message in the body of the email and click on the Attachment icon to attach your file.

    Click the paper clip to add an attachment
  3. Select your attachment and click on Choose File.

    Select a file then click Choose File
  4. The file icon will appear beneath your message.
  5. When you’re ready, click on the Send icon.

    Click the paper airplane Send icon to send your email

How to Search for Emails in the Mail App

The Mail app’s search tool helps you find specific messages or a piece of information in your emails:

  1. Click the Search icon in the top-right corner of your window and type your search. You can enter the name of a person, email address, subject or anything that helps you find the message you’re looking for.

    Click the Search icon
  2. Your search results will show all the emails that include your search.
  3. Once you’ve found the right email, just click the message to open it.

How to Mark All Emails as Read on Mac

It’s hard to keep track of emails when you receive more messages than you can read. Using the Mail filter button, you can easily find all your unread emails:

  1. Click the Filter button at the top of All Inboxes. This will show all of your unread emails.

    CLick the filter icon to filter only unread messages
  2. Select all of your unread emails (many users use the keyboard shortcut cmd + A to select all).
  3. Right-click on one of the selected emails.
  4. Choose Mark as Read from the drop down menu.

    right-click and mark all as read
  5. To remove the filter, just click the icon again to deselect it.

How to Delete an Email in the Mail App

If you like to keep your inbox clean, Mail makes it easy for you to delete unwanted emails:

  1. Select the email you want to delete. To select multiple emails, hold shift and click on each of the emails you wish to delete.

    Select emails to delete
  2. Click the Trash icon at the top to delete. This will move the email to the Trash folder.

    Click the trash can icon
  3. To permanently delete items from the Trash folder, select the emails within the folder and click the Trash icon again.

    Select the items in the Trash that you want to delete permanently, then click the trash can icon again

The Apple Mail app is a handy tool with many useful features. With its everyday functionalities, you can improve the efficiency of your communications and make email more productive for you.

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Author Details

Erin Smith's picture

Author Details

Erin Smith

Erin Smith is a Web Editor for iPhone Life and has been a writer, editor, and researcher for many years. She has a degree in communication with an emphasis on psychology and communication, and has spent many of her professional years as a coach in various business and specialty fields. Erin officially joined the ranks of iPhone and Apple users everywhere around nine years ago, and has since enjoyed the unique and customized feel of Apple technology and its many gadgets. When she’s not working, Erin and her son enjoy outdoor adventures, camping, and spending time with their eclectic collection of pets.