3 less-known Apple Mail features

Apple made a few small improvements to Mail in OS X Yosemite that users might not know about

Apple, Mail, How To, OS X, Mac, Macintosh

Mail Drop

Remember Mail Drop? Introduced in OS X Yosemite, this feature lets you send larger files (up to 5GB) as downloadable links within Mail messages. You may already be using third-party services including Dropbox or Box to provide links of this kind when sharing large files. MailDrop doesn’t allow you to send folders of files, however;  instead, you need to compress the folder before you send.

To use MailDrop you need an active iCloud account, but needn’t worry about your storage space: Files shared in this way don’t count against your storage limits and  automatically expire in 30 days.

If you want to try MailDrop, first you should check it’s active on your system. Launch Mail>Preferences>Accounts and take a look inside the Advanced panel to see if “Send large attachments with Mail Drop” is enabled.

Now when you wish to send a large attachment with an email message, you just need to drag-and-drop it into the body of the message after compressing the file. (To compress the file in Finder Select item>File>Compress [item].) When you hit “Send” on the email, the file will be uploaded to iCloud and shared with the recipient in the form of a download link.


Better known than Mail Drop, Markup lets you notate images within the Mail app. It works like this: Once you’ve dropped an item into an email message you should click on the item. Keep your cursor above the image and to the top right you’ll see a down-pointing arrow icon. Click this to see two items, “Markup” and “More…” Click the latter to add extensions from other apps (such as Pixelmator) to Mail; click the former to enter the Markup menu.

If you’re familiar with Preview, you’ll recognize the features – you can draw on the image, add comments, text and signatures to the emailed item. This is an especially useful took for collaboration on a Mac and (of course) for digitally signing documents.


I’m indebted to Kelly Gulmont at MacObserver for sharing this tip – using sub-addresses with Mail. To build these, you use the + key. “You can use it to create specialized email addresses without creating a new email account. So if your email address is jimmy at iCloud dot com, you can use jimmy+shopping @ iCloud.com, jimmy+newsletters @ icloud.com, or jimmy+friendrequest @ icloud.com and all of those messages will still get delivered to you,” as she puts it.

This is great, as it means you can trace where your spam comes from – even better,  you can filter incoming messages based on these tips. Used ‘jimmy+friendrequest@icloud.com”? Now you can create a new mailbox to gather all these mails as they come in. This is a great tip to help you filter out all the unwanted spam-associated noise we pick up in our digital lives and you can read about it in much more depth here.


I’m certain almost every Mac user knows how to create signatures in Mail, but in case you don’t, here’s what to do:

Open Mail>Preferences>Signatures.

You can now select an email account and create signatures for use with that account by selecting the + button (or click – to get rid of one). Signatures can consist of text and images, you can used different fonts and sizes and more. In the future, whenever you send a message, you’ll be able to use the Choose Signature option to select an appropriate sign-off.

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