When I'm reviewing mail, I like to have my most recent on top, and I work backwards in time (i.e., down the list).

But when I delete an item, rather than going to the next lower item in the list (like Outlook does), it goes to the closest item that's newer. Because it's based on always going to the closest item that's newer, I can't even get the desired behavior in going from new to old by reversing my sort order.

Am I missing a preference somewhere, or do I really have to either hit the down arrow after each delete, or work from oldest to newest if I want to save those precious keystrokes?

  • It's only one keystroke.. What you could do is use the down arrow to read through all of your mail, and then use COMMAND+Click to select all of the items to delete, and then COMMAND+Delete to delete them.. Commented Jul 25, 2011 at 14:16

1 Answer 1


This behavior can be changed via a hidden preference. Open up the Terminal app and type this:

defaults write com.apple.mail IgnoreSortOrderWhenSelectingAfterDelete 1

Then, restart Mail.app.

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