How do I search Apple Mail (10.11) for a message containing text and from certain people or other criteria.

If I enter a search term I can see messages as search results, but I can't see any other way to add additional criteria, like "from contains", "date after", "has attachment", etc. I can start typing an email address or name in the search box and get the "From" criteria, but it's limited, I can't do this after I enter a search term, nor can I select other criteria like from "contains" certain text.

This functionality is all available in Smart Mailbox but it seems stupid to create a Smart Mailbox for single search. Thunderbird is much better at this.

  • Welcome to Ask Different. Which OS? 10.11 or 10.10? Other? Please update your question.
    – bjbk
    Oct 30, 2015 at 0:13

2 Answers 2


One can continue to type search terms into the search field.

For example, I want to find any email from yesterday that has an attachment.

One can refine the found set by continuing to type in the search field. Not the greatest, and takes a bit of experimenting but better than making a whole Smart Folder just for the odd query.

For example: Messages from Ken White that have attachments.

  • Type "Ken White" and select "From: Ken White" in the dropdown.
  • Now, type "attachment" and select "Message has attachments" from the dropdown.

Refine Mail Search

From here you can continue to narrow the search. I will take some experimentation, but you should be able to find what you need without creating a smart folder.

Search Mail

  • Hi, I don't see how I can do this. If I start entering a contact's name I can see them under "People" and choose that as From, but then what do I type to get attachment:Any?
    – Dave
    Nov 2, 2015 at 23:21
  • It is not the greatest search. I'll update my answer with better details.
    – bjbk
    Nov 2, 2015 at 23:38

You can use the Find function in Finder. Go to the File > Find menu or use the shortcut Cmd+F; then, you will face a blank window where, in additions to use keywords for the search, you can add parameters as "Creation Date", "File Content", "Name of the Attachment", "Type of the Attachment" and many more, in order to filter the final result.

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