Can I do a search in Apple Mail that does an "or" on supplied criteria?

For example, someone has two email addresses. I want to search for all emails from that person, so I'd like to say "one email address or the other" in my search query.

2 Answers 2


You can use Boolean operators:

Use Boolean searches:

Use Boolean operators such as AND, OR, and NOT. For example, to search for messages that contain “yosemite” and “yellowstone” but not “teton,” type “yosemite AND yellowstone NOT teton” or “yosemite AND yellowstone -teton.” You must type Boolean operators in uppercase.

Souce: http://support.apple.com/kb/PH14902

  • That page doesn't talk about operator precedence - I gather it's NOT done first, AND next and OR last? Do you know if parentheses work?
    – drevicko
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 11:38

If it's a one-time thing using the Boolean operators in the search bar as mentioned above will probably be the best/easiest way...

However, Rules and/or Smart Mailboxes will do the same thing (and a whole lot more), but would probably only be worth the time for things you search for somewhat often.

Click here for a pretty good article on Rules, Smart Mailboxes, and VIPs

  • 2
    Note that boolean operators don't work in the rules for Smart Mailboxes (even if you "Save" a search query with boolean operators as a Smart Mailbox, the resulting mailbox shows no messages). The lack of booleans and the global "All"/"Any" option makes Smart Mailboxes all but useless for anything except the simplest tasks.
    – Perry
    Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 16:54
  • One way to fake boolean (A "OR" B ) "AND" (C "OR" D) is to create a Smart Mailbox for "any" of A, B and a Smart Mailbox of "any" of C, D, and then create a third Smart Mailbox that does an "all" of the first two Smart Mailboxes. Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 2:46

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