Apple Mail Tips

Vlad Soare

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 23, 2019
134
56
Bucharest, Romania
Hello,

I've been a long time GMail user. I've got so deeply used to its concepts and user interface, that I never felt any need to change. I'm using Mailplane on my Mac and the native GMail app on my phone.

But now I'd like to start using my iCloud e-mail account, which means having to use Apple Mail as a client.

I know that some of GMail's features are not available in Apple Mail. I'm fine with that, as long as I can find a suitable alternative. And that's where I need your help. I need a few tips and tricks from more seasoned users of Apple Mail.

One feature of GMail that I really love is its labeling system. I love how I can attach one or more labels to a conversation, either manually or automatically. The labels are akin to the albums in Photos - there's only one copy of the photo stored in the computer, but that copy can be referenced in several albums.
How can I get as close as possible to this functionality?

At first glance, smart mailboxes seem to work more or less the same. However:
- I cannot move a message manually to a smart mailbox. In GMail I can define rules for applying a certain label, but I can also apply that label manually to a message that happens not to conform to those rules. This doesn't seem possible with smart mailboxes.
- Smart mailboxes do not sync with iCloud, which means I cannot see them on my phone.

Another idea would be to create standard mailboxes, and to define rules for having the messages moved into them automatically. This would also allow me to move a conversation manually if needed.
However, a message can only be in one mailbox. Moving it into a custom mailbox will remove it from the inbox, or from whatever mailbox it happened to be in. And I can't put it in two custom mailboxes at the same time (like I can attach two labels to a single GMail conversation). If I wanted to see a conversation in two mailboxes, I'd have to copy it, which means two separate copies of that conversation would have to be stored independently on one another. Not very efficient.

Let me explain what I'm actually after. Let's say I want all conversations related to photography grouped together, so that I can easily find them when I need to. I want this grouping to happen automatically when possible (say, when a message comes from a predefined list of senders, or when its title contains certain words), or manually. Then I want all conversations related to on-line purchases grouped together.
But if I purchase something related to photography, then I want that conversation to appear in both groups.
How can I achieve this?

In case this cannot be achieved with Apple Mail, then I do not rule out the possibility to change my way of working in such a way that I don't need this feature anymore. Maybe there are features of Apple Mail that make it unnecessary to group the conversations like this? How do you deal with it? Any tips and tricks would be highly appreciated.

Thank you.
 

BrianBaughn

macrumors 603
Feb 13, 2011
6,364
938
Baltimore, Maryland
I'll be the one who asks, "Why?" You listed a lot of Gmail features that you like but you didn't list anything that iCloud offers to justify your wish to change.
 

Stephen.R

macrumors 65816
Nov 2, 2018
1,483
1,046
Thailand
So, smart mailboxes can help a lot, and you may be able to get the rest of the way by (ab)using the flag system. However you can still only apply one flag type (they default to colours but you can rename them) to a given message.

https://support.apple.com/en-au/guide/mail/flag-emails-mlhlp1052/mac has instructions about renaming the flags.

What you really want is probably mail keywords (which is a part of the IMAP standard, but Mail.app doesn't support). I believe thunderbird supports keywords (not sure about smart mailboxes/similar based on those keywords but I'd assume so) and it should work with iCloud email if you create an app-specific password for it: https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/141822/how-can-i-configure-icloud-mail-in-mozilla-thunderbird#141827
 

Vlad Soare

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 23, 2019
134
56
Bucharest, Romania
Thank you. I'll look into the flag system.

I'll be the one who asks, "Why?" You listed a lot of Gmail features that you like but you didn't list anything that iCloud offers to justify your wish to change.
I'd like to start using my iCloud e-mail account in parallel to the GMail one. I figured that since I have it anyway, and it's free, I might as well put it to use. :)
Also, I'd like a better integration with the rest of macOS/iOS - e.g. searching e-mails with the Spotlight, asking Siri to read my e-mails aloud while driving, that sort of thing.
Besides, come to think of it, there aren't actually too many GMail features that I need. Apart from the labels I don't think there's anything in particular that I'd really be missing. :)