Hands-on with Mail 9 in El Capitan

“Mail is one of those apps most of us take for granted. It’s one of the first apps we configure when setting up a Mac,” Peter Cohen writes for Macworld. “In El Capitan, that foundational app experience is the same—what’s more, Apple has introduced big improvements to Mail 9 that make it easier to work on and do more with your messages.”

“Much more robust full-screen support and swipe gestures are two of Mail 9’s most noticeable visual changes,” Cohen writes. “That’s not all: Improved data detectors make it easier to add events to your calendar and contacts to your contact database. There are other under the hood improvements to make it easier to find what you need and act on it.”

“Mail 9 exemplifies a design philosophy often reiterated in Apple’s products: A conscious effort on Apple’s part to get the interface out of your way,” Cohen writes. “With improved data detectors, more effortless full-screen support, improved IMAP performance and the addition of iOS-like gestures, Apple’s making it that much easier for you to do things with email, instead of just reading it.”

Read more, and see the screenshots, in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Anything that makes dealing with email easier and more efficient, we all for!


  1. “Mail 9 exemplifies a design philosophy often reiterated in Apple’s products: A conscious effort on Apple’s part to get the interface out of your way,” Cohen writes.

    Ummm, BS. That hasn’t been true for quite some time.

    1. For folks who use Mail’s “classic layout” (messages shown in simple list format with columns for From, Subject, Date…), there is good news. That annoyance where the selected message does not stay visible on the list when resorting with a different column… It appears to be finally fixed. 🙂

      Also, Mail (in classic layout) works great using the new Split Screen feature. Put Mail’s window on left side of screen, with a narrow window that takes up about 1/3 of screen. Put a Safari window on right side using rest of screen. Links in messages appear to the right, in Safari.

  2. They should change the OSX mail icon to be a white envelope in a circle, so that it matches the iOS version and creates a psychological association in people’s minds between the Mail app on their iPhone that they actually use, and the Mail app on the Mac that they never even clicked on, because don’t really know what it’s for. People might actually click on the icon if it looks something like the Mail app they’re familiar with on their phones. Right now the stupid postage-stamp-with-an-eagle-on-it is just ugly and stupid. An envelope is the universal symbol for an email app that everybody recognizes. Why Apple is sticking with its stupid eagle postage stamp from 2001 for its desktop mail app is beyond comprehension.

  3. Cohen’s article is the typical “the next version is the greatest thing since sliced bread” crap that precedes the release of Apple’s next upgrade. And we know how that works: Check out the dysfunctional iWork suite, the arse-backwards, ugly semi-functional Photos, and the absurd abomination iTunes. More importantly, Cohen’s article fails to address what was once one of Mail’s best features: The “customs actions” function for screening and getting rid of unwanted junk e-mails. Since the release of Yosemite, the “customs actions” function no longer works. Big surprise, right? With the release of nearly every new release of OS X under Tim Cook, features that “just worked” now “just don’t work.” I guess Apple is falling victim to an old adage: “One can do a few things well, or one can do a lot of things fair to midland.” When you have too many pokers in the fire, the expected outcomes are predictable.

    1. fair to middling
      Mediocre, pretty good, so-so. This phrase, often a reply to an inquiry about one’s health, business, or the like, is redundant, since fair and middling both mean “moderately good.”

      1. Fair to middling means “slightly above average”: Not “moderately good.” This term is more than apt to describe the dumbing down and Microsoft-izing of one simple, easy to use, “just works” programs.

  4. “Mail 9 exemplifies a design philosophy often reiterated in Apple’s products: A conscious effort on Apple’s part to get the interface out of your way…”

    What a load of crap! Apple’s idea of getting the interface “out of your way” is to remove easy access to more and more information—e.g. the size of the attachment in a message you just sent. Apple’s approach to clean, uncluttered interface design is neglecting the most important rule of all: Form must follow function—not interfere with function.

  5. It will be complete when you can forward to a group and it omits the original sender that’s in the list! You got a joke list too? And don’t ask about IOS, despite two major complaints to Apple as an Apple developer are they ever going to do anything about sending something to groups? The handling of groups on IOS looks that even MS could have done better and how do you send something from a group on IOS? I’ve tried pointing my iPhone at Mecca and sending incantations to Mystic Meg (broadband connection required) but so far nothing yet…

  6. I’m looking forward to seeing how Mail works in 10.11. Yosemite broke Mail for me (a simple .Mac -> .me -> .icloud progression) and now I’ve been living with two main problems: virtually no junk mail filtering (stuff winds up in the Junk Mail folder but on a random basis, with less than 1% actually being marked as junk) and Mails showing up with the wrong sender but only if hosted by WordPress.

    I subscribe to 6 different newsletters hosted by WordPress and they come over marked as MacDailyNews or Gotta Be Mobile (strangely Gotta Be Mobile is neither a site I’m subscribed to nor even visit). Apple has yet to do anything about this.

    Nine months with no junk mail filtering is wearing on my nerves.

    1. With others, I have had serious trouble with Mail (10.10.4) and have had to stop using it. I switched to an external drive with an older system where it still works. Can’t try the new beta because Scrivener isn’t updated for it and is one of several critical apps. But I really want to get the new Mail…

  7. The biggest problem I had with Mavericks was Mail, and installing Yosemite really helped in that respect. It’s really bizarre how different the experiences are with these features and different people; one will have no problems while the other suffers in misery.

  8. I still use Snow Leopard primarily because Mail works as expected there. Once Lion – El Capitan took over Mail has been erratic and has less functions. Progress? I don’t need full screen or gestures, I need my mail to show up, filter, and send when I ask it to. I like bouncing spam also. I use 10.11 on my MBA but find all sorts of mail on my 10.6.8 iMac that never appeared on the laptop. Huh?

    1. I never had any bad or long term problems with any of the cats and while Mavericks started getting ugly, it had great memory management and was relatively non-buggy. Yosemite, OTOH, is ugly as sin, Memory management sucks (Finder with no windows open. Mail with one message showing, Safari with 4 tabs and Notes open and I have less than 700 MB free on a 16 GB laptop), and no junk mail filtering. I won’t even get into the problems with the new version of iTunes.

      Someone at Apple hasn’t just dropped the ball, they don’t even know where the ball is.

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