How to set an email account as the default account in Apple OSX Mail

Apple Mail Icon

If you operate multiple email accounts from your Apple “Mail” software, you might want to switch which account is used as the “default” account to perform certain actions, like sending a new email.

The instructions below will help you to set a different email account as the default on your Mac.

Before we start: G Suite – get the App!

Before you get into this, if you are a Silicon Dales customer on G Suite, or you buy your G Suite direct (there’s no difference, except we manage the account for your company – the processes are the same!), then you should get the Gmail app for your iPad, iPhone or other Apple device, and access your mail through there. It just works 😉

Alter default account in Mac OS X Mail

To change the default email account in Mac OS X Mail:

  1. Go to menu Mail > Preferences
  2. Click on “Composing”
  3. Select the account you would like as default under “Send new messages from:” (or Send new mail from:) – this is under “Addressing:”)
  4. Close the preferences window.

Alter default account in Mac OS X Mail 1

The below instructions will help you change your default mail account in Mac OS X Mail 1.x:

  1. Go to menu Mail > Preferences
  2. Click onto the Accounts tab
  3. Click on the account you’d like to make the default, hold down the button, and drag it to the top of the accounts list.
  4. Release the mouse button.
  5. Close the preferences window.

Worked? Didn’t Work? Leave a comment

If the above didn’t work – or you have a different issue – leave a (public) comment below.

11 thoughts on “How to set an email account as the default account in Apple OSX Mail

  1. I have an exchange account I’d like to be default. It doesn’t appear in: Send new messages from:

  2. Sadly this doesn’t shift preferred account to the top of list!!

    That means manual selection of reply address on every email i receive!
    Default composing email can be selected and works ok

    please fix!

    1. That is a bug within the software itself. For these (type of) features, I’d recommend using another mail client entirely. For example, using Google Apps, or Gmail, you can download the Gmail app and use this to send / receive email – this issue is not present using the app, and it works really well for email on all Apple / iOS devices I’ve tested.

      1. Ditto and yes. Indeed.

  3. If it’s a bug within the software (which it seems to be on my mac book pro (mac mail – even version 9.2 !), then fix it !

    1. Try updating OSX to the latest version, but note, I’m not responsible for the Mac, nor its mail software


  4. I worked it out… Go to Preferences in Mail, select Composing tab and select the account you want as default in the Send new message from: section.

  5. Just got a brand new MacBook Pro. None of the above work – further frustration being that the account I want to set as default isn’t even listed. How can that be? I’m receiving and sending emails from the account. Thanks!

  6. None of the above worked for me. If I Go to menu Mail > Preferences, Click onto the Accounts tab,
    click on the account to make the default, hold down the button, and try to drag it to the top of the accounts list-
    the account name does not drag.

    This is on a MacBook Air running OS X 10.12.6 and Mail Version 10.3 (3273).

  7. Actually, Apple has moved this feature to Preferences > Composing > Addressing (see third option in this list) named “Send new messages from “. The default setting is automatic, meaning, it will automatically select the correct server based on the your current active account. You can also lock it to always send from a specific account. This is the traditional setting everyone is used to and hence the confusion.

  8. if your mailbox on google then you can attach your photo.

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