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Outlook as Default Mail App

seb101

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 3, 2014
91
46
Hi,

Has anyone worked out how to make Outlook the default Mail app for 'Mailto' links without also using the OSX 'Mail' app?

I followed a few online tutorials around configuring the setting from inside the Mail account, which involves temporarily creating a 'fake' email account then changing the setting from inside the Mail->Preferences menu - however I cannot get this setting to stick, every time I quit Mail the setting reverts.

Apple Support were less than helpful, in fact they said it is not possible:

James Ok, thank you for the information. As it turns out, Outlook is not able to, by design function as the default mail application. What you are experiencing is normal behavior. However, there may be a workaround available; please give me a moment to consult my resources to find out for you. Is that ok?

James Thank you for your patience. Per my resources I may need to refer you over to Microsoft; prior to doing so, I want to try something: do you have Outlook as an application?
Surely it must be possible to change this in the OS?

THanks!
 

Phil A.

Moderator
Staff member
Apr 2, 2006
5,645
2,639
Shropshire, UK
I think it must be a bug in OSX and / or Outlook - you can set the default email reader to Outlook from within Mail's preferences but it seems to reset itself back to Mail
 
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AlliFlowers

Contributor
Jan 1, 2011
4,527
14,940
L.A. (Lower Alabama)
You can set Outlook as your default email client, but clicking links will open up Mail every time. No way around it. There's another thread around here somewhere on the same subject.
 
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ScoobyMcDoo

macrumors 65816
Nov 26, 2007
1,188
35
Austin, TX
That menu option simply doesn't exist...

I guess you are using Outlook 2016. I did a quick google search and found this article, however it sounds like you claim you tried it and it does not work. Is that correct?

Some interesting behavior I found today.... I fired up my copy of Outlook 2011 and set the option to use it for the preferred mail program, which worked as expected btw. Later while in mac Mail (which I prefer over outlook), I used it's preference panel to change the default email reader back to Mac Mail. When I came back to preferences it was changed back to outlook. In order to set the default email reader back to Mac Mail, I had to fire up Outlook 2011 again and uncheck the option to have outlook as the default email reader.
 
Last edited:
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seb101

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 3, 2014
91
46
Thanks for the suggestions folks. So through a bit more Googling I found that there is indeed a bug with the settings screen in the Mail.app that causes it to forget the default mail setting after you quit. There is a workaround whereby if instead of selecting 'Outlook' from the drop down, you click 'Select...' then browse to the Outlook.app in the Application folder and select it from there - the setting does indeed stick after quitting.

However this still does not address the fact that you have to first configure the Mail app for email before you can even access that Preferences menu - which is a lot of non-value-add work just to set something as a default Mail client.

It does strike me as odd that Microsoft can get slapped with a massive anti-trust suit just for bundling a browser with an OS, a browser which you could immediately replace and change the default browser to your new browser with ease. Yet here we have Apple bundling a mail client, and making it mandatory to setup and use their Mail application to even be able to set another application to be the default mail client.
 
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ScoobyMcDoo

macrumors 65816
Nov 26, 2007
1,188
35
Austin, TX
It does strike me as odd that Microsoft can get slapped with a massive anti-trust suit just for bundling a browser with an OS, a browser which you could immediately replace and change the default browser to your new browser with ease. Yet here we have Apple bundling a mail client, and making it mandatory to setup and use their Mail application to even be able to set another application to be the default mail client.

Yea, I figure as soon as Apple is no longer considered the "cool kids on the block", they will get slapped with an antitrust suite of their own.
 
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BrianBaughn

macrumors 604
Feb 13, 2011
7,275
1,250
Baltimore, Maryland
Has anyone tried changing the setting in both apps at the same time? Seemed to work for me.

I believe the setting is in:

~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.LaunchServices/com.apple.launchservices.secure.plist

Mine starts on line 1681.

Code:
        <dict>
            <key>LSHandlerPreferredVersions</key>
            <dict>
                <key>LSHandlerRoleAll</key>
                <string>-</string>
            </dict>
            <key>LSHandlerRoleAll</key>
            <string>com.apple.mail</string>
            <key>LSHandlerURLScheme</key>
            <string>mailto</string>
        </dict>

For Outlook you'd have "com.microsoft.outlook" instead of "com.apple.mail".
 
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