Mail 5.0 under Mac OS X Lion
|Stable release||7.0 (October 22, 2013[±])|
|Operating system||OS X|
Mail app in iOS 7, showing unified email folders
Mail (also known as Mail.app or Apple Mail) is an email program included with Apple Inc.'s OS X operating system. Originally developed by NeXT as NeXTMail, a part of their NeXTSTEP operating system, it was adapted to become OS X's Mail application following Apple's acquisition of NeXT. The current version of Mail utilizes the SMTP, POP3, and IMAP protocols, and supports Yahoo! Mail, AOL Mail, Gmail, iCloud (formerly MobileMe) and Exchange. iOS features a mobile version of Apple Mail with added ActiveSync support, though it is still missing the functionality of attaching files to reply emails. Mail has often been praised for its combination of simplicity and extensive functionality.
Mail first shipped as NeXTMail, the email application for the NeXTSTEP operating system. NeXTMail was innovative for its time, supporting rich text formatting with images and voice messaging. It also supported MIME emails, along with plain text to allow for backwards compatibility. The default message found in the inbox when the user first opened NeXTMail included a voice recording of Steve Jobs.
When Apple began to adapt NeXTSTEP to become Mac OS X, both the operating system and the application went through various stages as it was developed. In a beta version (codenamed "Rhapsody") and various other early pre-releases of Mac OS X, Mail was known as MailViewer. However, with the third developer release of Mac OS X, the application had returned to being known simply as Mail.
Included in all versions of Mac OS X up to and including Mac OS X v10.3, Mail was integrated with other Apple applications such as Address Book, iChat, and iCal. Some of its features that remain in the most recent version of Mail include rules for mailboxes, junk mail filtering and multiple account management.
Included with Mac OS X v10.4 "Tiger" on April 29, 2005, updates to Version 2 included a proprietary single-message-per-file format (with the filename extension .emlx) in order to permit indexing by Spotlight.
Some of the new features in Version 2 also included:
- "Smart mailboxes" that used Spotlight technology to sort mail into folders.
- The ability to flag messages with a low, normal or high priority and to use these priorities in mailbox rules and smart mailboxes.
- Tools for resizing photos before they are sent to avoid oversized email attachments.
- The ability to view emailed pictures as a full-screen slideshow.
- Parental controls to specify who is allowed to send email to children.
- HTML message composition.
The new version also changed the UI for the buttons in the toolbar. Whereas previous buttons had free-standing defined shapes, the new buttons featured shapes within a lozenge-shaped capsule. According to many users, and even Apple's own human interface guidelines at the time, this was worse for usability. An open-source third-party application that reverted the icons to their former shapes was available. Nevertheless, Apple updated their guidelines to include capsule-shaped buttons, and the new UI persisted.
Introduced with Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard (2007), Version 3 included personalized stationery, handled in standard HTML format. In addition, Mail 3 offered Notes and To-dos (which can be synced with iCal) as well as a built-in RSS reader. Mail 3 also introduced IMAP IDLE support for account inboxes.
Introduced with Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard (2008), this new version of Mail gained Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 support. The iCal and Address Book applications bundled with OS X 10.6 also support Microsoft Exchange Server.
Introduced with Mac OS X v10.7 Lion (2010), Mail 5 features a redesigned iPad-like user interface with full-screen capabilities, an updated message search interface, support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 and Yahoo! Mail (via IMAP). Also added was the capability to group messages by subject in a similar fashion to Mail on iOS 4. The bounce function, where unwanted emails can be bounced back to the sender, was dropped in this version, as was support for Exchange push email.
Introduced with OS X v10.8 Mountain Lion (2012), Mail 6 introduced VIP tagging, Safari-style inline find for words within an email message, the ability to sync with iCloud and new sharing features. Notes, previously added as a feature in Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard's Mail 3.0., is split off into a stand-alone application in this version.
Mail 7, introduced with OS X v10.9 Mavericks, throws out the capability of displaying the plain-text version of MIME multipart/alternative messages, and the option of doing so by default. Users are stuck viewing the HTML or rich-text version of multipart/alternative messages.
Plain text format when message is sent
Mail has a unique feature in which messages are automatically sent in plain text format unless action is taken to format the email with rich text editing options. This aspect of Mail can be misleading, as the default font for new messages is not what will show up on the recipient's side unless the email is manually RTF-formatted.
Problems with IMAP accounts when upgrading from Apple Mail 4
Many users upgrading from previous versions of Apple Mail reported problems with the latest IMAP client implementation under certain circumstances. The problem seems to occur when the authentication in Mail's preferences is set to PASSWORD and the server is signalizing that it supports SASL PLAIN.
- "iOS 7.0.6". Apple. 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2014-02-21.
- "Apple security updates". Apple Inc. 2013-06-19. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
- What I think happened to Mail - A theory about what happened to Mail’s toolbar.
- Ars Technica reviews Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger
- Apple Human Interface Guidelines: Designing Toolbar Icons
- Apple - Mac OS X Leopard - Features - Mail
- Apple - Mac OS X Snow Leopard - Features - Mail
- Apple - Mac OS X Snow Leopard - Exchange support out of the Box
- Apple - Mac OS X Lion
- Apple Support Communities - Can not receive email, password not accepted by server