I find Mail app (in Leopard Snow) very limited for my needs. I need something like Thunderbird but before switching I just like to know what's is new in Mail app in Lion compared to Mail app in Leopard Snow. Is it really any better?

  • Actually, this is not a real question as it does not aim to a specific answer, but to a collection of answers. Nevertheless I'm also interested, I'd recommend making this community wiki.
    – bot47
    Mar 7, 2012 at 7:42
  • What are the things in Thunderbird you need?
    – mmmmmm
    Mar 7, 2012 at 13:51
  • This is a bit off-topic as it relates to my experience with Mail.app in Mountain Lion. At least in the current version OS X 10.8.2, Mail.app has some rather annoying bugs if you use it with an Exchange mail server. 1: Sometimes Mail thinks a message has "no content". If you restart the app, then the content is displayed. Difficult to reproduce, seems to happen randomly. 2: Sometimes the message stays "unread" even after you have read it. You have to mark it "read" manually. Again, this happens randomly. And, sometimes if you mark a message "read", it stays "unread". You have been warned :-) Le Feb 21, 2013 at 10:28

2 Answers 2


The Apple Web site on Mail in Lion summarizes the most important new features. If it's "really any better" or not, depends entirely on your personal taste: I do like Mail.app's new list view where the list appears as a side bar, with chunks of message text in addition to the subject/sender information. You can further unclutter the interface by hiding the Mailboxes tree when you don't need it.

The search feature has also got better: things that used to require "Smart Mailboxes" (multi-condition filters) you can now do with a quick search in the search bar. Apple also seems to have stolen some good ideas from Google Mail – like Thread view, which is activated in Mail for Lion by default, and groups together messages that belong to the same thread. A thread shows up only once in the message list, showing the number of messages. It's very convenient to move/delete a whole thread in this way. Also a neat feature copied from Google: the quoted text of original emails in replies is hidden by default, but you can unfold it by clicking "show more" (with a nice visual effect of unfolding paper).

However, if you love Thunderbird's special features, Mail.app is probably not for you. It's missing the Thunderbird's superb Tabs feature, i.e. you can only view one email folder / search result at a time (this might actually bring me to consider switching to Thunderbird again).

Personally, I like Mail.app because it's much better integrated with the other OS X apps I use, such as Address Book, iCal and iChat. Example: I get an email from a colleague, and if she's currently online in GoogleTalk/Jabber or Bonjour (local network chat), a green dot appears next to her name directly in Mail. Can't have that with Thunderbird... Other example: dates, times, addresses and phone numbers are recognized automatically in email text and can be added in one click as iCal event or to complete an Address Book entry. Also, I'm not sure whether Thunderbird's email database is indexed and searchable with Spotlight. Wouldn't want to miss this feature: searching for an email by subject or even message text without opening Mail in the first place.

  • thanks, I'm also using Mail because of its integration and simplicity. But I need to many of the features that Thunderbird has. I hope that Mountain Lion improves it.
    – chefnelone
    Mar 7, 2012 at 10:58

It now has a setting to configure which headers to display. The only step towards professionalism in Lion: enter image description here

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