Presently, if I do a search in Apple Mail it searches everything. This is fine most of the time, but sometimes I want to just be able to select a folder and then search only the emails in that folder.

How can I search for emails only within a folder?

2 Answers 2


This is definitely possible, but there's a trick to it:

  • Firstly you need to ensure you have your Favourites Bar visible
  • Secondly you need to have the folder added to the Favourites Bar

See the screenshot below for what I mean by the Favourites Bar:

enter image description here

You can make this bar appear/disappear with the optionshiftcommandH keyboard shortcut.

Now, to add a folder (or smart folder) to the bar, just drag it into the bar. In the screenshot above you'll see I've added the Last Month, This Year and other Smart Folders to my bar.

Now, after entering a search term in your Search field, just select one of the folders in your Favourites Bar and it'll filter the search to those items located within the folder.


From this Apple Discussion:

When you start a search field, the Favorites bar should appear if you don't have it shown always. You can select the mailbox to search from there. If one isn't on the Favorite bar, drag that mailbox to the bar to show it there.

To always show Favorites bar, click View in the menu, then Show Favorites Bar.

You can also select and highlight the mailbox in the sidebar you want to search, then enter criteria in the search field.

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