Mastering Custom Notifications in Mac Mail

Mastering Custom Notifications in Mac Mail

Master the art of customizing notifications in Mac Mail with our comprehensive guide. Learn built-in features, tips & third-party solutions.

Alex Simmons

Alex Simmons | Jan 1, 2024 | 3 mins read

Notifications can be both a blessing and a curse. While they keep you updated, too many can be distracting. Mac Mail allows you to customize your notifications, so you only get alerted for what truly matters.

Why Custom Notifications?

  • Importance Sorting: Prioritize emails from specific senders.
  • Project Management: Get notified only for emails related to ongoing projects.
  • Time Management: Limit notifications to work hours.

Setting Up Basic Notifications

On Mac

  1. Open Mac Mail.
  2. Go to Preferences > Notifications.
  3. Choose the type of notification you prefer.

On iPhone

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Scroll down to Mail.
  3. Tap on Notifications and customize as needed.

Advanced Customization

Using Rules for Notifications

  1. Open Mac Mail.
  2. Go to Preferences > Rules.
  3. Click “Add Rule” and set conditions for custom notifications.

Notification Based on Subject

You can set up rules to get notified for emails with specific subjects, which is particularly useful for project-based communications.

Third-Party Solutions

Growl for Mac

This tool extends the capabilities of native notifications on Mac.


This app pushes your Mac Mail notifications to your iOS or Android device.

Canary Mail

While Mac Mail offers a range of customization options for notifications, third-party solutions can provide even more flexibility. One such option is Canary Mail, which offers advanced features like end-to-end encryption and read receipts, along with customizable notifications. It’s an excellent choice for those who are looking for more than what Mac Mail offers natively.

Tips and Tricks

Mute During Meetings

Use the “Do Not Disturb” feature on your Mac to mute all notifications during important meetings. This can be scheduled in advance or activated manually.

Use Smart Mailboxes

Smart Mailboxes can sort emails based on your rules, making it easier to manage notifications. For example, you can have a Smart Mailbox that only includes emails from your boss or team, and set notifications only for that.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Learn the keyboard shortcuts for enabling/disabling notifications quickly. For instance, you can use “Option+Shift+Command+D” to toggle notifications.

Batch Notifications

Instead of getting notified for every single email, batch them together at specific intervals. This can be done by setting up a rule that triggers notifications only after a certain number of emails have arrived.

Customize Sounds

You can set different notification sounds for different types of emails. This way, you’ll know the importance of an email just by hearing the notification sound.

Use Geofencing

Some third-party apps allow you to set notifications based on your location. For example, you can set it up so that you only receive work email notifications when you’re actually at work.

Schedule Quiet Hours

Designate “quiet hours” during which you won’t receive any notifications. This is particularly useful for ensuring uninterrupted sleep or focused work periods.

Link with Calendar

Some advanced users link their Mac Mail with their Calendar app to set notifications based on their daily schedule. This requires some scripting but can be incredibly powerful.

Test and Tweak

Always test your new notification settings to make sure they’re working as expected. Tweak as necessary, and don’t be afraid to keep refining your system.


Customizing Mac Mail notifications can significantly improve your productivity and peace of mind. From basic settings to third-party apps, you have a range of options to tailor your experience.


  1. Lifewire: How to Group Messages by Thread in Mac Mail
  2. Apple Support: View email conversations in Mail on Mac
  3. ZDNet: How to quickly see what emails are part of a conversation in Apple Mail
  4. Canary Mail Blog: Mastering Conversation View in Mac Mail: A Comprehensive Guide
Alex Simmons
Alex Simmons

I have always been fascinated by the world of SaaS and technology. From a young age, I found myself drawn to the endless possibilities that email technology offers. The ability to connect with people across the globe and streamline communication processes is something that truly excites me. As a passionate individual, I am constantly seeking new ways to leverage SaaS and email technology to enhance productivity and drive innovation.

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