In Mail.app I have several mail addresses and incoming mail to some addresses is already being forwarded to my primary mail address. I don't want to have an inbox for these secondary emails (I've got them on my primary anyway) but I want to be able to send from those addresses. I've tried adding my secondary account as usual, and then disabling it. But then I can't see that address' SMTP server to send from when sending. If I enable it, I can see it, but its mailbox automatically comes back. How can I have no mailbox for a mail account, but still be able to select its SMTP server to send mail from that address?

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    I handle this by creating a dummy POP3 account with an incoming server of It will complain during account setup that it can't connect to the host, but if you click "Next" a second time, it will let you through. You can then set up the SMTP servers that you desire, as well as the From: address. Although this still leaves you with a mailbox for the account in the sidebar, at least there's nothing in it and you're not downloading your mail twice. I recognize that this doesn't completely solve the issue of not wanting a mailbox at all, but perhaps it gets you part of what you need. Jan 27 '15 at 11:47

In short, you can't accomplish what you're trying to do. In order to send/reply from a given address, you have to have that account set up and active in Mail.

Without the account being active, the address you wish to use is not available. And setting up an SMTP server entry for the other account(s) will not bypass the primary issue since you would only be using any alternate SMTP server as a relay for the account you're using to send the email - it will not rewrite the sending account address. For example, I have email forwarded from a generic "info@" account to a personal account on the same domain, but I can't reply with or send from the "info@" account address since I don't have that account set up in Mail.

  • In your case you probably can by defining an alias for the "info@" address in the account settings within Mail. This only works within the same domain/mail server though (and only if the SMTP server doesn't too thoroughly verify the sender information) so it will not solve the problem the OP has.
    – nohillside
    Jan 26 '15 at 18:05
  • @patrix The latter part of your comment is the sticking point - most MTAs have locked down on being relays for non-domain accounts and even get pesky for domain accounts by reading the mail headers. Aliasing could work, given that the MTA supports them.
    – douggro
    Jan 26 '15 at 18:20
  • Okay, sad to see. I don't know why Mail.app is so low-quality, especially compared to other default OS X apps. Jan 26 '15 at 22:05
  • @CanPoyrazoğlu It has nothing to do with the Mail.app - it's a limitation of the email system as a whole, which is based on an origin-user/destination-user parameter. The origin-user is determined at the MUA - in this case the Mail.app, but it could be Thunderbird or any other MUA - not the server (MTA) the mail is routed through. You can't write a mail as John and send it through Frank's MTA account and get it to originate from Frank - the system just doesn't work that way, and for good reason.
    – douggro
    Jan 27 '15 at 6:42
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    @CanPoyrazoğlu I use Mail.app for the eight accounts I monitor now. I used Thunderbird on my Mac to deal with my work accounts when I needed to do that because I didn't like mingling my personal and work accounts in Mail. I still use Thunderbird on Ubuntu to do the grunt work with my Gmail and home server accounts for the same reason.
    – douggro
    Jan 27 '15 at 19:45

As mentioned by @douggro this isn't really doable. But as a workaround, you can setup a dummy POP3 account that will never receive any mail and then uncheck "Include when automatically checking for new messages".

So the question becomes, how to get a dummy POP3 account. At first I tried a Gmail account with POP3 enabled. But OS X tries to be smart and does a bunch of things with Gmail accounts that cause it to present a login webpage all the time.

However, I found this awesome service called MailTrap.io which gives you one free "testing" inbox.

  • So go to https://mailtrap.io/ and click signup in the top right.
  • You can use your Google Account or Github Account to signup quickly.
  • Then you will be taken to a testing inbox where you will see a POP3 username and password.
  • Enter all those credentials into Mail.app (be sure to check "Allow insecure authentication") and, importantly, for the outgoing mail server, use your custom SMTP (I like Mailgun and Mandrill for my custom domain).

All this is free. You should see an empty mailbox in Mail but just ignore that and send and receive mail as normal.

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