This is driving me nuts. I go through my mail in reverse chronological order. This means I look at the newest mails first and then go back from there. So this scenario happens dozens of times a day:

  1. Check out message, decide to mark it as unread to review/act on later
  2. Proceed to next, older, message
  3. When I decide to delete/archive the current message, Mail will highlight the message from 1. and mark it as read (because it is selected)
  4. This forces me to REmark this last message as unread before proceeding

Any ideas on how to solve this?


Press +backspace to delete the message. No other message will be highlighted.

Warning: This deletes the selected message(s) permanently.

  • Option comes in handy so often, and I never think to try it. Thanks! Oct 31 '11 at 2:08

There's a plugin for Apple Mail called TruePreview (freeware, http://christianserving.org/project/truepreview) which let you define when a message should be marked as read.

E.g I have set it to seven seconds so when I go through my messages (I do it the same way as you) they still are marked as unread. I have to stay on a message for seven seconds to be marked as read.

You can configure that behavior on a per account basis.

The plugin for Lion Mail is an alpha relase (please read the release notes)

  • TruePreview does not support Mail 6.5, the latest version, at this moment. Jun 11 '13 at 14:27
  • David, there's a new version published on 17. of June which does support Mail 6.5
    – boretom
    Jun 22 '13 at 7:17

What works for me is to collapse the message preview section of the window, which requires clicking on a message index to open the message in a new window. In SnowLeopard, drag the divider below the message index to the bottom of the window; in Lion, drag the divider on the right side of the message index to the right of the window.

When using Mail like this, it won't mark a message as read until you open the message in a separate window. So, when the selection moves around the message index, it won't automatically preview the message and mark it as read.

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