In OS X when Calendar.app is closed I get notifications about events; how can I have this work in Mail.app? While Mail is closed I want to get new email notifications.

2 Answers 2


You cannot.

You need the Mail app running. Unlike Calendar events, checking for emails is not something that can run locally. A client application needs to connect with your mail server and retrieve your e-mails.

Sure there could be some background processes that does that without the need of the Mail app, but it would not make much sense; in the end you would still have a process doing the checking.

Something that may make the Mail app less intrusive to you desktops' organization etc is having it been launched automatically and hidden at startup.

  • 2
    This is a useful answer in that it tells how things actually work in OS X, but I'm not seeing much logic to the claims that it ought to work that way. The UI need not be available for the mail to be fetched. Think of Messages —it's the same in principle. There's no reason (that you've given or that is self-evident) why Apple couldn't or shouldn't have built it to work when Mail.app is closed, it's just the case that for whatever reason they didn't build it that way.
    – iconoclast
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 16:36
  • The UI need not be available for the mail to be fetched sure, but by having an app "closed" we mean "not running", i.e. quit. I guess Messages app is something that has a more "real time" notion, that's why it doesn't require the app running. Sure, I gave no actual reason with 100% certainty because I am not Apple and it wasn't me who made that choice :)
    – LyK
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 23:19
  • Messages and many other apps simply have a lightweight background app that handles fetching data and displaying notifications, and then a larger visible app that the user can interact with. This actually makes a lot of sense in many cases and I'm not sure why they wouldn't do this with mail.
    – iconoclast
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 23:44
  • Probably nobody can answer that with certainty... Imo, messages and calendar events are more important than emails and you probably never want to shut them down completely.
    – LyK
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 2:18
  • 1
    I would suggest closing the UI (hit the 'x' window button) and keep it running
    – LyK
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 14:56

System preferences>Users>Login Items> + > Mail >Check off the hidden button.

  • 2
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    Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 14:37

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