How Mac Mail chooses which account you mail from and how to change it

Top tips for Apple Mac Mail - how to choose which email account messages are sent from. How Mail decides which From address to use

When you have several email accounts set up in the Mail app on the Apple Mac, there are several shortcuts for choosing which account email is sent from. Do you know them all?

Click the Compose New Message button in Mac Mail and a new messages is created. It is mostly blank, but the From address is automatically filled in. The question is, how to Mail know which email account you want to send the email from?

One account will be selected for you, but why that one? Is it random? Is it the last one you used? Is it the default account? The answer is quite straightforward and it is quite clever when you know how it chooses the account to use.

Mail preferences

Go to the Mail menu and select Preferences. Select the Composing tab. About half way down is Send new messages from: By default, this is set to Automatically select the best account.

How does it do this? What rules or logic is it using?

Apple Mac Mail preferences showing the Composing tab

Select an account

If you want to override this automatic setting, click it and a list of all your email accounts is displayed. You can choose any one of these and new messages will always be from that account.

Select the default email account to send emails from in Mac Mail preferences

Let’s leave it set to Automatically select the best account. Close Preferences.

Read your email

Here is Mail and as you can see, there are four email accounts set up. The are listed under Inbox. Select an email account to read the emails, then click the Compose New Message button (second icon in the toolbar).

Select an email account in Mac Mail to view new messages

The From address

The From address is from the email account you were last reading. Close the window, select a new email account under Inbox, then click Compose again. The From is from the account you just selected.

If you want to preselect the From address, all you need to do is to select the email account in the sidebar. It is really that simple - the message is from the last account you read.

Compose a new message in Apple Mac Mail app

Select the From account

It may be that you read one account and clicked Compose when you really want to send the message from some other account. It can easily be changed. Just click the account in the From box and select a different email account. All of them are listed.

Select the From account using Mail on the Apple Mac

Reply to emails

We now know what happens when we click the Compose button. What if we click the Reply button when reading an email?

This is a little more complicated. The From address is not taken from the email account as it is with Compose. It is taken from the To.

Remember when Apple’s Internet service used to be called MobileMe? I had an @me.com email address. The Apple rebranded it as icloud and gave me a new address @icloud.com. So I have two email addresses, both of which work and emails end up in the same inbox.

If I reply to an email sent to @me.com then the From address is @me.com, but if I reply to a message sent to @icloud.com then the From address is @icloud.com.

Whichever address an is sent To, becomes the From when you reply.

 

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