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Mail to get new features in Mountain Lion

updated 02:05 am EST, Tue February 21, 2012

Selective notifications in, RSS feeds out

Apple will be making a few tweaks to Mail, its default e-mail program, in this summer's Mountain Lion release. One big change will be to allow users to designate important people as "VIPs" and be able to make rules letting Mail notify users only when mail from a VIP arrives. The program will also feature an inline "find," and is removing RSS reading and management from Mail, MacWorld reports.

Users can designate anyone a "VIP" by clicking on a star next to a name in any incoming or outgoing message. Doing so will put a star on any e-mail from that person and puts them in their own sub-menu just below the Inbox (the actual filing location of the e-mail is not affected). Rules can be created with VIP status as a condition, such as to move all VIP mail to another special folder when it has been replied to. If users click on a name in the VIP list it will show all mail sent from or to that person.

Some refinements in the Rules preferences make it possible to only be notified of new mail when it comes from a person on the VIP list, quickly allowing users to be disturbed only when e-mail from a sufficiently important person arrives rather than any sender. This will prove particularly indispensable if the feature migrates over to iOS devices in a future release.

Notifications can be selective in other ways, for example users can make a rule that new mail gets a notification only if the sender is from a specific group or arrives into a specified mailbox. Another possibility is notifications that appear only when mail arrives for one e-mail account but not another.

The new inline find is less of a new feature and more of a refinement: users can currently search for specific words in Mail, but the new version is more Safari-like. The find bar is now seen across the top of an email message when command-f is chosen, and once a word is typed in all instances of the word in that message are shown with the rest of the message dimmed. The traditional Find-and-Replace style now used in Lion is also available through the use of a Replace option checkbox, but now it's no longer a separate window.

Curiously, the ability to do a find for a word with case-sensitivity as an option is missing in the Developer Preview of Mountain Lion, though it may return in the final version. Also missing is the RSS reader and management feature built into Mail in recent versions.

This could be a temporary omission that reflects a rush to get the preview ready, or could be permanent -- as Apple may feel the RSS integration in Mail was under-used. The current Safari also has a built-in RSS reader, but the preview version in Mountain Lion does not, which may again be temporary. In any case, a number of third-party options are available for those who rely heavily on RSS feeds for speeding research or cutting down on clutter. [via MacWorld]

by MacNN Staff



  1. MadGoat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I'd like to see this...

    I'd love to see this applied to phone numbers as well so that when I am asleep in silent mode, only calls from my wife and mother and in-laws could make an audible sound which might be an emergency.

  1. robmorton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Can already be done (not quite as nicely)

    In address book, create a group called VIP. Create a smart group called VIP that is Sender is a member of group "VIP". Any Recipient would work as well. Then in the general preferences, set Dock unread count is from VIP. You can create a rule for that group as well to get more notification.

  1. ebeyer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Nice, but..

    I'd like to see more improvements on the back end. Maybe it's just me but when I read a new message it seems to take forever for that message to be flagged as read. Also, it would be nice if, once I have read a message on my mac if the mail program on my iPhone and iPad would flag that message as read before I open those mail programs, so I don't see a badge indicating I have a new message when, in fact, I already read it.

  1. facebook_Jean-Robert

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Feb 2012



    How about HTML or easy-to-make custom email signature instead of having to invoke a dedicated HTML editor or having to know HTML... Needless to say how cumbersome. Background, images, well let's wait and see?!

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    How about IMAP fixes?

    IMAP subscriptions still don't work properly in mail. How about a fix for those?

  1. jwdsail

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I'd rather see built-in support for GPGMail (encryption and signatures)

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Who cares. I don't use for the main reason that I don't want to feel compelled to upgrade my entire OS just because I need/want a new feature for a PROGRAM!

    Plus, with Apple, you just never know where their whims will take you, so one update and the interface gets changed, they lose features (like RSS reading), or just make changes for the sake of changes.

    And I wouldn't be surprised to see RSS be pulled out of Mail. App development (from everyone, Apple or third-party) always goes through the same cycles. Keep adding new features to make it seem more 'robust' (RSS, Notes, etc). Then start ripping out features to make it more 'streamlined and focused'. Then in another version or two, they'll move Mail and FaceTime all over to iMessage and make one big messaging app. Then someone will come up with the brilliant idea that they need to be split up and 'focused' again.

  1. facebook_Colin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Feb 2012


    So long, RSS?

    I tried it, but my RSS feeds only ended up going from Safari to Google Reader, so I could read them at work.

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