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Chapter 15. Mail > General


In this preference pane, tell other applications to use Mail for email links and when to check for new messages.

To open Preferences and get the General pane

  • From the Mail menu, choose “Preferences…,” then click General.

    Default Email Reader: Choose “Mail” in this menu so when you go to a web page or a PDF and click an email link, it will open a pre-addressed email compose window for you.

    Check for new mail: Set how often you want to check for new mail. This only works if Mail is open (if the triangle is under its icon in the Dock). If you don't have a full-time, always-on connection to the Internet (such as DSL or cable modem), you'll probably want to select “Manually” from this pop-up menu to avoid having your modem dialing and trying to connect when you least expect it.

    New mail sound: Choose various sounds (or “None”) to alert you when new mail appears in your Inbox. If you create various rules that filter your mail, you can have different sounds for each of the rules so you know exactly when junk mail has been deleted, a letter from your lover has arrived, or mail for your family has gone into the Family mailbox; see pages 453455.

    Add invitations to iCal: When a Mac user sends you an iCal invitation via email, this option tells Mail to automatically send it over to your iCal. You'll see the invitation in the Notifications pane and an event will be automatically created. You can respond to the person either through Mail or through iCal. The other option in this menu is “Never.”

    Downloads folder: When an email message to you includes an attachment and you open that attachment to view it, Mail temporarily stores the attachment in this “Mail Downloads” folder (it's in your user Library folder). If you do not manually save an attachment, then the attachment is deleted when you delete the email message it came in.

    Remove unedited downloads: Read about the “Downloads folder,” directly above. This option tells Mail when to delete those temporarily stored attachments. The default is to delete them “After Message is Deleted,” but you can choose “When Mail Quits” or “Never.” This does not affect any attachments you have saved into folders of your choice.

    Play sounds for other mail actions: Plays the sound of an airplane taking off when mail has been sent, and plays other tiny sounds when it checked for mail and there wasn't any, or when there was a problem fetching mail.

    Index decrypted messages for searching: If you know what encryption is and you're using it, this will add encrypted messages to Mail's database of files it has indexed for searching.

    Synchronize with other computers using .Mac: If you like to synchronize your files between Macs, as explained in detail in Chapter 11, check either or both of these boxes.



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