I have an apple machine running Yosemite. I use Apple Mail. I recently received a message from a colleague. When I try to open this message, Mail crashes.

In fact Mail crashes even if I scroll through the message without actually opening it.

  • Mail crashes upon scrolling on this message because the viewer is automatically "opening" it. With some other tools (like Outlook) this function of "automatically viewing a message" is a dangerous one: it is used directly to fire any piece of crapware.
    – dan
    Feb 12, 2015 at 10:14
  • As suggested by @Didac, just open this message with Thunderbird and look at it as raw text to check if there isn't any HTML trap inside. In fact this message might not be coming from your colleague but from a crapware using his E-mail address.
    – dan
    Feb 12, 2015 at 10:19

5 Answers 5


Try this, it helped to me, but mail didn't crashed when I was only scrolling through.

Mail unexpectedly quits when viewing certain messages

Learn how to troubleshoot if Mail unexpectedly quits when viewing a certain message or messages.

This can happen if the mail message is malformed or damaged in some way. In certain situations, Mail may unexpectedly quit when attempting to display the message.

If you select such a message, Mail may quit each time you open the application.

Use the steps below to open Mail without rendering any messages that are currently selected:

  1. Open Mail and immediately hold the Shift key until Mail completely launches. This will cause Mail to launch without any Mail message or mailbox selected.
    Follow the steps below to delete the problematic message:

  2. Carefully drag the Message Viewer window pane until only the list of messages appears (or, double-click the pane). This will prevent any Mail message's content from being shown unless you double-click the message.

  3. Click the problematic Mail message one time, then delete it (press the Delete key on your keyboard, or choose Message > Move to > Trash).
  • 1
    Posting links only isn't really very helpful. Links disappear over time, so at least some précis of what the link says would be more useful to future readers.
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 23, 2014 at 15:39
  • Thank you @Tetsujin. Without your edit I would have asked to delete such a tiny "Try this!".
    – dan
    Feb 12, 2015 at 10:09

I had the same problem a couple of times. I fixed it by using Thunderbird. Thunderbird didn't have the problems to display the last incoming email, so I could read it, delete it, and then open Mail again. Honestly, it makes me wonder if I should come back to Mail at all.

  • Simple and efficient receipe to also analyse and forward to Apple any problematic E-mail :).
    – dan
    Feb 12, 2015 at 10:04

I was able to option click the message, this selects it without opening it, then you can just delete it from the option-click-menu that will appear. Worked like a charm after trying 10 different hacks that didn't work (including the one above).


Go to Preferences-> Viewing then select Use Classic Layout. It was far easier to hide the viewing panel in this layout. Then I was simply able to delete the message as it didn't display when selected.

  • Yep, this was the first thing I thought of too... but only because I've only ever used classic layout, can't stand the default view :)
    – calum_b
    Aug 14, 2015 at 10:32

Had the same problem: one random email would freeze and crash Apple mail even if I scrolled over it without opening it. What finally worked was this: highlight a different message. Then hold down "Control" and click on the bad email — this allows you to "box in" the selected email without actually selecting it. You can then click delete and the email will be deleted without trouble. (Empty Trash right away to make sure the bad message is gone.)

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