Deleting mail - after deletion cursor advances to next newer item

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by dr-jerry, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. dr-jerry, Jan 13, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012

    dr-jerry macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2009

    Question below is copied from the apple discussion forum and I found it while I was googling with exact the question. I couldnt have formulated better so I decided just to copy it. Hope somebody here has an answer.

    When reading through mail messages in Apple Mail, my preference is to start at the most recent and work through to the oldest. The mail is arranged on the screen from newest to oldest. As I read messages, some are kept and some deleted. As I delete a message, I would expect that the cursor would advance to the next older item in the list (i.e. working down the list when the mail is arranged in reverse chronological order). Instead, it moves back up to the next newer item in the list that I have already read. Is there a way to change this behavior?

    All of you coming here after a google search, bwthor found a solution which is way below, so for convenience I'll copy it here:
    open up a terminal (either type in "terminal" in spotlight search (the magnify glass in top right corner) or in the Finder (New Folder Window) Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal) and enter:
    defaults write IgnoreSortOrderWhenSelectingAfterDelete 1
    I can confirm it works on Snow Leopard, Mail 4.5.
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    You can either reverse the order of the list or just ignore it. You can't change the cursor's highlight behavior itself.
  3. Benito macrumors 6502a


    Jan 5, 2010
    Toronto, Canada
    I find that this is the opposite of how I'd like Mail to behave as well when I read and delete my emails. It is taking me a bit of time to get used to.
  4. pasipple macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2009
  5. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Alternatively you can use the "down" arrow and delete all the messages you don't want when you're finished.
  6. Doc69 macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2005
    I can't believe this is the default behavior of Apple Mail. It's very annoying. I've been on Macs for 7 years now and I love them. However, until recently, because of work-related issues, I kept doing my emails in Outlook. Now that I finally have made the switch, I am very disappointed.

    When you delete an email, the email program should jump to the next message DOWN in the list regardless of the order the list is sorted in. I don't know anyone who doesn't work their email from the top down. The behavior to jump to the next newer message regardless of how the list is sorted just doesn't make any sense.

    Has it always been like this? I'm curious if anyone like this behavior? I certainly don't know anyone who does. Is there a way around it?
  7. pgaiduk macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2010
    This annoys the heck out of me also. It would seem trivial to include this as a preference choice. I wish I could find a command line I could change from "next" to "previous" or from "1" to "0" or something.
    Apple Tech Support actually suggested I use Thunderbird if it bothers me that much. I must say I am moving in that direction but am unclear of the functionality or integration I would be losing. It may well be that it doesn't matter to me.
    Using Outlook at work and having to switch modes when I use Mail is almost a deal breaker!
    Apple, Please Listen!!!
    What's the big deal?
  8. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    I'm sure they're getting out the violins in Cupertino for you.

    You realize that by saying what "should" happen you're expressing an opinion, right?

    It's always been like that, I don't mind it, and there's no way around it.

    Couldn't have said it better myself, actually. What is the big deal? If you don't like it you can either adapt or use a different program. It's not costing you anything other than your time.
  9. Doc69 macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2005
    All other mail programs I have used, including web based, jumps to the next message down in the list. That includes MS Outlook, MS Outlook Express, Hotmail, Yahoo mail, Spamarrest. In Gmail, if you click the right arrow for next message, it also displays an older message.

    Everyone I know prefer to sort their email so that the newest messages are found at the top. And the natural expectation of most people is for the cursor to move down in a list. You work from the top down, not from the bottom up.

    All I'm saying is that I'm surprised that Mail handles emails in this way. Especially since Apple usually makes things more logical and easier to use than MS. In the last few years I have turned 11 people onto buying a Macs. When I recently asked them about this behavior, everyone said it was annoying.

    A simple setting in the prefs is all I ask. You really shouldn't have to use a workaround in your email program. I spend a lot of time there. And because of the tight integration with MobileMe, the iPhone and the coming iPad, I'm not interested in switching email application.

    My guess to why Mail works in this way, is that since it has always worked like this, most Mac developers are used to it, and blind to it's inefficiency. If you ask a person with no prior experience of a computer, I'm pretty sure they would expect the cursor to move down. Just like we read from the top down.
  10. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    That's great. Mail doesn't. If you want this behavior, use one of the Mail clients you listed above.

    Then sort your mail by date received and use the arrows? Not sure what the problem is here.

    "More logical" and "easier" are subjective terms. Like I said, I don't find it annoying.

    It might be nice, but it just isn't there.

    See above re: sorting by date.

    Attached Files:

  11. Doc69 macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2005
    I don't want to beat this topic to death, but the problem is that when you sort your mail by date received like you suggested, which is exactly the way I and my friends sort our mail, when you work your way down in the list, and delete an email, the cursor jumps back up to the previous email you just read, not down to the next unread. This is the crux of the whole problem I have with mail.

    Also, because of the tight Apple Mail integration with MobileMe, I can not justify switching email client.

    Speaking as a shareholder, because Apple is constantly taking market share from Windows PCs, I think it is in their best interest to make the transition for those switchers as smooth as possible. This issue is something all switchers I have talked to find annoying. It's up there with the fact that you can't resize a window from any side or corner.

    Thanks for listening to my rant! :)
  12. mrkgoo macrumors 65816

    Aug 18, 2005
    To be honest, I'd probably find it annoying if it were done the way you guys want.

    See, I order my email according to the newest at top as well.... however, I read the emails from the oldest unread and go up.

    I think this makes more sense - to read the emails as they arrived. And in this way, the cursor moves up, exactly as you intend. I find this more natural.

    So what you are all saying is the way it 'should' be is simply a preference according to how you read your email, and not an objective "this is more intuitive or the way it should be' thing.
  13. bugblaterbeast macrumors newbie

    Aug 13, 2010
    New York

    Good usability is not subjective, at it's simplest it involves requiring the user to make as few decisions and take as few actions as possible whilst performing a task in order to increase efficiency.

    Some people have lots of mail in their inbox and therefore would probably choose to have the messages sorted from newest to oldest and some people (like me) have very few emails in their inbox and therefore it is more efficient for me to see my messages from oldest to newest.

    ****So what we learn from this is that there should be a simple preference that allows a user to set the default sort order of their messages. ****

    The next obvious conclusion is that (whatever sort order you choose) hitting delete should move you in a logical progression according to the order you chose (either to the next newest or the next oldest message). For example if you choose to view from oldest to newest when you hit delete the next message you see should be newer than the one you just processed not older.

    Now, because the only messages you can be "guaranteed" of seeing without taking any action (due to screen real estate variations) are the ones at the top. In other words when you open Mail there may well be messages hidden below the fold/screen/window/dialogue boundary. These potentially hidden messages should be the ones you wish to process last not first.

    So now what do we know? Ok so if you accept that top down processing is more efficient it also means that the first message you select to process will be preceded by messages above it that you have already scanned and made a conscious decision NOT to process yet.

    So when you delete the message you are currently processing you will want the next message displayed to be one that you have not already read/processed. You do NOT want it to be the preceding email you have already skipped.

    Once you accept these realities it means:

    1. Your sort order must always display from the top down.
    2. The most efficient method of processing is from the top down.
    3. Each time you delete one message the message below it should be displayed

    Of course if you wanted to, every time you open your mail, you can scroll to the last message and process going up. Or you could click to deliberately reverse the sort order you had set by default. However these actions would be highly irrational becuase you would be circumventing the default sort order that you had specifically chosen, and therefore deliberately made your job harder.

    IMHO many suggestions that that an application has usability issues should be welcomed as some new data that could improve the product. Especially if the suggestions mean that an app can be (VERY) simply tailored to however you want to work rather than being forced into one way or another.

    Is this a huge deal? No...but I think based upon the above it is hard to argue that the Mail App's usability could not be why not at least look into it with an open mind and a view to making an already good app even better. of course my thinking may have flaws in it which a healthy discussion will expose. Our aim should be to always keep the goal of improving product, not defending status quo or just complaining about it.

    I think the problem here is that a good case for potentially improving Mails usability has not been made in a way that can be logically analyzed. I hope my effort above will provide some foundation for a rational open discussion on the matter.

    The really irrational thing here is that this took me a lot of time, I will probably never remember to come back again and Mac product managers are probably never going to read it :)...but who knows maybe it will do some good. I hope so.

  14. debusoh macrumors newbie

    Apr 23, 2010
    This is still driving me crazy. I want to use apples mail client because it does many things well, but this is definitely not one of them.

    People have been unhappy with this for years. I don't know why Apple doesn't give people an option to change this behavior. It's not like it would take a ton of work...
  15. ToddJ macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2008
    i am having this same problem. What is interesting though is that when going through some emails on the 'on my mac' option it does it the tradional (aka normal way)....
  16. claytonh macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2011
    Efficient people who use a lot of email will *triage* their inbox - not browse - so they start at the most recent first, and work down through emails which are more and more likely to have been looked at. It is simply better design to reverse it - period.

    However, what is most annoying is the fact that this cannot be configured at all - I cannot understand any poster here who tries to say something like 'just get used to it' or 'it's always been like that'. Oh please! One good reason why.

    2 cents
  17. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Fixed that for you. I've never had a problem with advancing a message up or down on deleting a message, regardless of client. I guess I just prefer to spend my time worrying about things I can control or on things that actually matter.

    Welcome to Apple's world. If you are concerned about control, I suggest Ubuntu.
  18. simon909 macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2011
    Delete key in mac mail - cursor moves the wrong way

    It's definitely counter intuitive for a press of the delete key to cause the cursor to move upwards to the more recent mail (when mail in reverse date order). I say this because it is logical if you are clearing through your emails to run backwards into the older ones rather than ignore these and move forwards to newer messages.

    I dealt with this by manually moving the cursor downwards after Mac Mail moved it up. But the problem for me was that the automatic movement to the next most recent email immediately switched off its unread flag - when I didn't want to read this message. I would then have to fiddle around re-marking it as unread - very annoying.

    What I've done to partially get around this problem is switch off the message preview pane at the bottom (by clicking on the pane border and shrinking the pane size down to nothing the bottom of the mail window). It means I lose the message preview (which is less that ideal) - but now at least I don't end up with Mail switching more recent messages to "read" before I've read them.
  19. bwthor macrumors member

    Mar 9, 2011

    This was driving me crazy, accidentally deleting emails and such.
    Just did this on Mail 4.5 on Snow Leopard.

    Found this on another forum...
    Mail has a hidden preference to turn this off.

    open terminal and type:
    defaults write IgnoreSortOrderWhenSelectingAfterDelete 1

    Mail should now work like the rest of the world expects!
  20. dougw1025 macrumors newbie


    Dec 21, 2011
    Thank you so much. I have been looking for this solution since I got my first Mac.:)
  21. stevecook3dw macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2011
    Apple Mac Mail reading moves up after deleting

    Posting this just confirm that the fix posted above DID WORK to highlight or focus on the next item below or down in the email list.

    open terminal and type:
    defaults write IgnoreSortOrderWhenSelectingAfterDelete 1

    Macbook Air
    Mac OSx 10.7.2 Lion

    Thanks bwthor.

    a switcher.
  22. mom8xs macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2012
    Mail Sort Order

    Please help, I have just spent an hour on the phone trying to fix my problem of the order of my mail after deleting a message, to no avail. I then found this forum and your fix :
    defaults write IgnoreSortOrderWhenSelectingAfterDelete 1
    I have 10.5.8 leopard and put this fix into my terminal. This did not change the problem. Any thoughts? Was I supposed to put this entire line in starting with the word defaults to the number 1?
    Thanks for any help
  23. bobkingjen macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2012

    That worked. THANK YOU!!!:)

    and for those who do not know how to open the terminal, here you go. ( I had to find THAT in another thread):

  24. shenlung macrumors newbie

    Mar 27, 2012
    Mail flow - fixed

    Thanks All, I have been searching for months to fix this issue - and normally just get lectured by the Apple Lemmings - the option, defaults write IgnoreSortOrderWhenSelectingAfterDelete 1 worked like a dream.

    No reason that things like this shouldn't be configured for everyone's preference.

    Thanks Apple for putting it in there as an option
    Thanks contributors for the discussion and solution.
  25. LaWally macrumors 6502a

    Feb 24, 2012
    Open a terminal window, key in the entire fix starting with the word defaults and ending with the number 1, then press return. Close your terminal window.

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