Change General preferences in Mail on Mac
Use General preferences in Mail to change options for checking for new messages, downloading attachments, searching, and more.
To change these preferences in the Mail app on your Mac, choose Mail > Preferences, then click General.
Default email reader
The email app to use for your email. Mail is set by default.
Check for new messages
When Mail gets new messages from the mail server. By default, the option is set to Automatically (Mail varies how often it gets messages based on whether your Mac is plugged into an electrical outlet).
If you change the option to Manually, click the Get Mail button in the Mail toolbar to check for messages. (Whenever you click an IMAP or Exchange mailbox in the Mail sidebar, it syncs with the server, and shows new messages.)
New messages sound
The sound to play when you receive messages. To sample a sound, click the pop-up menu, then choose a sound.
You can also choose to play sounds for other events in Mail.
Dock unread count
The mailboxes to include in the count of unread messages (the red circle, called a badge, that’s shown on the Mail icon in the Dock).
The count appears only if “Badge app icon” is selected for Mail in Notifications preferences. To open Notifications preferences, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Notifications.
New message notifications
Display notifications when a message arrives in the selected mailbox.
To be displayed, the alert style must be set to Banners or Alerts for Mail in Notifications preferences. To open Notifications preferences, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Notifications.
The folder where attachments you save are stored.
Remove unedited downloads
When to delete attachments temporarily saved in the Mail Downloads folder (in the Library folder of your home folder). By default, an attachment that you haven’t edited or saved is deleted when you delete the message that contains it.
Archive or delete muted messages
Move the messages in muted conversations to an archive or trash mailbox, depending on which mailboxes are available for the email account to which the message was sent.
If you don’t select this option, the messages in muted conversations remain in your Inbox.
Add invitations to Calendar automatically
Automatically add invitations you receive in messages to the Calendar app.
Automatically try sending later if outgoing server is unavailable
When the SMTP server is unavailable, Mail stores your messages in the Outbox and tries sending them again later.
To have Mail show other servers that are available to send messages, deselect the checkbox.
Prefer opening messages in split view when in full screen
When Mail is full screen, open messages side-by-side with the message list. (If you’re working with Mail and another app in Split View, messages open by sliding up from the bottom of the screen.)
To always have messages slide up from the bottom of the screen, deselect the checkbox.
When searching all mailboxes, include results from
Include messages from the Trash or Junk mailboxes, or encrypted messages, in search results.
If you were using Mail plug-ins when you upgraded to macOS Catalina, click Manage Plug-ins to enable them again.