Mac OS X Mail: How to Delete Multiple Messages Without Viewing Them First

This document explains how to delete multiple messages at once without reading them first (a spam prevention technique).
This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.
Note: This document discusses Mail, an application included with Mac OS X. The same concepts apply to other email applications you may use, though the steps may differ.

First, be sure you can identify the preview pane. This is the lower pane in the Mail window, in which the selected email message may be viewed without opening it in its own window. The preview pane is on by default, but you may turn it off.

Figure 1 The preview pane

The size of the preview pane is adjusted by dragging the separator up or down. The preview pane is turned on or off by double-clicking the separator.

Figure 2 The separator

To delete multiple messages without reading them, follow these steps:
    1. If the preview pane is on, double-click the separator to turn it off.
    2. Select the messages you want to delete. Use Shift-click to select multiple contiguous messages, or Command-click to select multiple interspersed messages.
    3. Click the Delete button, or press the Delete key.

For information on how this relates to unsolicited commercial email ("spam") and how it is a spam prevention technique, see technical documents:

107400: "Mac OS X Mail: How to Enable or Disable HTML Rendering"
107401: "Mac OS X Mail: How HTML Email Messages Relate to Unsolicited Commercial Email"
Last Modified: Feb 17, 2012

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