Learn the basics and go under the hood with Mail in Lion!

Take Control of
Apple Mail in Lion

Joe Kissell

Master Apple Mail in Lion! Along with the basics of sending and receiving email, you’ll find help with special topics like attachment handling, searching, rules and smart mailboxes, integration with Gmail and iCloud, reading RSS feeds, digital signatures and encryption, notes, backups, and much more.

This product has been discontinued.

Are you using Apple Mail in Lion effectively? In this book, email expert Joe Kissell provides the comprehensive guidance you need. Perhaps you want to fully understand the basics of receiving, composing, and sending email. Or maybe you want to master many advanced options—including account setup, employing multiple accounts, formatting, rules, smart mailboxes, and iCloud or Gmail integration. Either way, you’ll find helpful advice and detailed steps, based on extensive real-world experience. You’ll also find tips on various third-party add-ons that make Mail smarter and more enjoyable to use.

This book will teach you to:

Comprehend account options: Understand the difference between POP and IMAP, plus learn about special aspects of iCloud, Exchange, and Gmail accounts. Discover how to integrate all these types of accounts, and more, into your overall Mail setup, as well as learn how you can manage Gmail’s labels in an IMAP environment.

Read: Learn efficient ways to quickly open, read, process, and file your messages. See how best to use Lion’s three-pane view (or turn it off if you prefer), and how to follow email threads and conversations. You’ll also get tips for handling incoming attachments, flagging messages, avoiding spam, and using Mail’s built-in RSS feed reader.

Write and send: Read about different methods for quickly addressing your email, how to take control of the From, To, Cc, and Bcc lines, and how to create multiple signatures. Find out how to address a single message to a group of recipients, and how to decide whether you should use digital signatures or encryption, plus what to do when you want to send a digitally signed or encrypted message. And, get advice about formatting an email message—and why you might not want to, plus learn how to include URLs, add attachments, and include quoted text from other messages.

Find your stuff: Keep Mail organized with advice on how to arrange Mail’s sidebar, Favorites bar, and your various mailboxes so you can easily locate messages using a variety of techniques—including search tokens and Boolean expressions. Joe covers simple features, such as making a new mailbox and rearranging your mailboxes, as well as advanced techniques, such as creating rules and smart mailboxes.

Use Notes: Mail has a Notes feature for leaving yourself reminders. Learn the strengths and limitations of Notes, and make it work for you.

Unravel Mail mysteries: Understand the sometimes-present Outbox, sort out the Dock unread count, learn why smart addresses can be stupid, avoid unsafe addresses, manage the Previous Recipients list, wrangle attachments, and determine why certain mailboxes appear in particular categories on Mail’s sidebar.

Avoid and fix problems: Get advice on how to back up your email, and find out how to restore it from a backup. Also read the dozen pages of hard-won troubleshooting advice with tips on managing a misbehaving mailbox, fixing sending problems and delays, resolving connection errors, and more.

Joe Kissell

About Joe Kissell

Take Control publisher Joe Kissell has written more than 60 books about technology, including many popular Take Control books. He formerly wrote for publications such as Macworld, Wirecutter, and TidBITS. He lives in Saskatoon with his wife, his two children, and his cat.

What’s New in This Edition and in Apple Mail 5

In this edition, I cover the numerous new features found in the Lion version of Mail (Mail 5.x). You can see a list of those features a few pages ahead, in Learn What’s New in Lion Mail. In addition to those Lion-specific features, I added quite a bit of new material that the previous edition, Take Control of Apple Mail in Snow Leopard, doesn’t have, including:

  • iCloud: In addition to adding information about using iCloud throughout the book, I’ve deleted all references to MobileMe, scheduled for discontinuation on June 30, 2012.
  • Mail, Contacts & Calendars: This new preference pane provides a system-wide place for configuring accounts, including those for email. See the sidebar Mail, Contacts & Calendars Preference Pane.
  • Gmail: I’ve significantly updated and improved the instructions for working with Gmail accounts. See Use IMAP with Gmail.
  • Keyboard shortcuts: I clarified the instructions for assigning keyboard shortcuts to commands on the Move To and Copy To submenus. See File and Organize Messages.
  • Message links: A new sidebar tells you why and how to Link to a Specific Mail Message.
  • Spam: I expanded the discussion of how to Stop Spam to include, among other things, information on server-side filtering.
  • From address: The topic Choose an Account or Address to Send From now provides more information on determining which address your messages will be sent from.
  • Priority: I briefly cover how to Set Message Priority for outgoing mail.
  • Quoting: I offer a more finessed discussion of quoting in replies in the sidebar Quote Effectively.
  • Special mailboxes: The discussion of Special Mailboxes now talks about unified mailboxes as well as how to find “phantom” mailboxes.
  • Searching: Besides talking about searching for messages, I briefly discuss how to Search within the Current Message.
  • Backups: A new option you might consider is using a cloud-based email backup service. See Do a Cloud-to-Cloud Backup.
  • Mountain Lion: Previews of upcoming Mail features that Apple has announced for OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion are presented in notes like this:

Coming in Mountain Lion: Mail in OS X 10.8 will feature unicorns and rainbows.

Learn What’s New in Lion Mail

The version of Mail included with Lion (5.x) looks similar to the version that shipped with Snow Leopard, but it includes many changes. Among them are these:

  • Support for additional account types: Mail could already connect to Gmail accounts via POP or IMAP, but now it recognizes Gmail accounts automatically, allowing you to set them up for IMAP access with fewer steps than before. Mail in Lion also supports Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 accounts. And email accounts can now be set up not only within Mail but also in the Mail, Contacts, & Calendars pane of System Preferences. See Set Up Your Accounts, and especially notice the sidebar Mail, Contacts & Calendars Preference Pane
  • New layout: By default, Mail now uses a new three-column layout that looks similar to Mail on an iPad. You can revert to the old layout if the new one doesn’t strike your fancy. See The Viewer Window.
  • Favorites bar: The new Favorites bar gives you quick access to frequently used mailboxes and notes, each of which has its own keyboard shortcut. Once again, see The Viewer Window.
  • Format bar: When composing rich text (HTML) messages, you can now display an extra toolbar that gives you faster access to common formatting controls. See Tips for Rich Text Messages.
  • Conversations: Although Mail previously included an Organize By Thread option to group messages from the same conversation together, in Lion this capability is greatly refined and enhanced. See Follow Conversations.
  • More message flags: Instead of a mere binary switch (flagged or unflagged), you can now mark messages with any of seven different colored flags, which you can both rename to suit your needs and use in searches and smart mailboxes. See Work with Message Flags.
  • An Archive command: If you want a simple way to get messages out of your Inbox without deleting them or having to choose a specific destination, the new Archive command may be what you’re looking for. See File and Organize Messages.
  • Better searching: The Lion version of Mail adds search tokens, Boolean searches, and other new tools for finding messages. See Find Your Messages.
  • No more to do items: Yes, a feature also disappeared—to do items are no longer part of Mail in Lion.

Do you have any ebooks about older versions of Apple Mail?

Yes, we've been doing this for a while now. You can choose from Take Control of Email with Apple Mail (covers Mail in 10.3 Panther), Take Control of Apple Mail in Tiger, Take Control of Apple Mail in Leopard, and Take Control of Apple Mail in Snow Leopard.

  • Read Me First
  • Introduction
  • Quick Start to Controlling Apple Mail
  • Learn What’s New in Lion Mail
  • Learn about Email Protocols
  • Set Up Your Accounts
  • Read Incoming Messages
  • Read RSS Feeds
  • Address Addressing
  • Compose and Send Messages
  • Sign and Encrypt Messages
  • Manage Your Mailboxes
  • Keep Track of Notes
  • Find Your Messages
  • Automate Mail with Rules
  • Fix Mail Problems
  • Back Up and Restore Your Email
  • About This Book
  • February 26, 2012 -- Although we do not plan to update this ebook again for Lion, we did create a new edition for 10.8 Mountain Lion—<a href=mountain-lion-apple-mail>Take Control of Apple Mail in Mountain Lion</a>. And, there's now also an ebook for Mail in 10.9 Mavericks and iOS 7, <a href=apple-mail>Take Control of Apple Mail</a>. This paragraph might not get updated again, but it seems possible that there will be more editions of this title in the future.

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