Sometimes I accidentally move messages to the trash in Mail.app when I hit backspace. I tried to find what the 'Backspace' shortcut stands for, but I could not find it in the Mail.app menu. The only thing I could find was Command-Backspace:

Mail.app 'Edit' menu

I understand I can change shortcuts through System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Keyboard shortcuts, but since I can't find what Backspace does, I cannot disable it.

My questions are:

  • How can I disable moving e-mails to trash with only 'Backspace'?
  • What does 'Backspace' do in Mail.app?
  • Why does this not show up in the menubar?

I'm using Mail.app 5.3 on OS X 10.7.5 on a MacbookPro8,1.

  • 2
    There is a great plug-in for Mail.app that turns the delete behavior to Archive. akgungor.com/2013/11/11/…
    – user65848
    Dec 27, 2013 at 21:42

1 Answer 1


Actions performed by keys like delete (⌫; backspace on Windows) or return don't often have menu bar items. One reason might be that they are just so common and would clutter up the menu bar. The keys also have different functions in different contexts. If a menu item was assigned to delete, it would normally have precedence over the function delete has in text views.

You could use KeyRemap4MacBook to disable delete in Mail, but it would also disable it in text views.

  • That makes sense, thanks. Unfortunately not the answer I was hoping for though :p
    – Tim
    Dec 24, 2012 at 8:54

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