Here’s how to uninstall the Mail app on your Mac
There are many email clients available for the Mac, and if you use a third-party app such as Outlook, Spark, or Edison, you may have decided you don’t need Apple’s Mail app. So how do you uninstall it from your Mac?
The good news is that it is not troublesome to delete the Mail app. The bad news is that it comes pre-installed when you buy a Mac or upgrade the OS. Thus, it’s protected by the system. That means you can’t remove it as you would a regular third-party app, but you’ll have to go through a few extra steps. Let me show you how to do that in this article.
Why uninstall the Mail app on your Mac?
Most people want to disable the Mail app or remove it because of the storage space it takes up. If you’ve used the Storage tab in About this Mac (Apple menu > About this Mac > Storage) to manage storage, you may have noticed Mail taking up several gigabytes of precious SSD storage.
Downloaded attachments probably occupy a big chunk of that space. So if you get rid of those attachments, you may find that you don’t have to uninstall Mail after all. Don’t worry about deleting attachments you later need: they remain on the server, and you can re-download them at any time.
While you can delete attachments manually, it’s a complex process. The most effortless way is to use a specialist tool, such as CleanMyMac X.
CleanMyMac X has a module that scans your Mac and identifies mail attachments in the Mail and other email clients on your computer. Delete all the attachments with one click: PDFs, images, documents, and things like company logos embedded in signatures, etc. Download it for free here.
How to uninstall the Mail app on your Mac: disable SIP
As we said in the introduction, Mail is protected. The part of macOS that provides that protection is called System Integrity Protection (SIP). To uninstall Mail, we first need to disable SIP temporarily. And to do that, we need to restart in Recovery mode.
How to restart an Intel Mac in Recovery mode:
- Shut down your Mac.
- Press the power button and hold Command-R.
- Wait for the Apple logo to appear and release Command-R.
- You should eventually see the macOS Utilities window.
How to restart an Apple ‘M1’ Mac in Recovery mode
- Shut down your Mac.
- Press and hold the power button (Touch ID).
- Keep holding the power button until you see the startup options.
- Click Options, then click Continue.
- Enter your admin password, then click Continue.
Once your Mac has started up in Recovery mode, now we can disable SIP on Mac:
- Select Utilities and open Terminal.
- Type the following command:
- Press Return.
- Reboot Mac.
If you have an M1 Mac, here’s how to disable SIP:
- Go to Utilities > Terminal.
- Type in the following command:
- Type Y and press Return to confirm. Then enter your admin password.
- Close Terminal and restart Mac.
SIP is now disabled, and you can go ahead and uninstall Mail. To do that, we need to use Terminal again:
- Go to Applications > Utilities and launch Terminal.
sudo rm -rf Mail.app/(this command will delete the Mail app).
- Press Enter.
- Type in your password.
The Mail app has now been removed from your Mac. There is one more step, however. We need to re-enable SIP. To do that, do the following:
- Boot your Mac or M1 Mac in Recovery Mode.
- Choose Terminal from the Utilities menu.
- Type: csrutil enable
- Press Return.
- Reboot your Mac.
How to keep Mail but save storage space
If you want to free up storage on your Mac but don’t want to delete Mail, you can do a few other things besides using CleanMyMac X to delete attachments.
1. Change junk and delete message settings.
You can specify if and when Mail gets rid of messages you delete in the app or label them as junk in Preferences. If you set it to remove these messages quickly, say within a week, that should free up space.
Go to Mail > Preferences > Accounts and click on an account. Choose Mailbox Behaviors. Click on the menu beneath ‘Erase junk messages:’ and choose an option. Do the same with the menu beneath ‘Erase deleted messages.’
2. Prevent Mail from downloading attachments
By default, Mail downloads attachments when it retrieves a message from the server. These attachments are stored on your Mac. However, you can tell Mail to leave the attachment on the server, and you can then choose when to download it.
In Mail Preferences > Accounts, choose Account Information. Set ‘Download attachments’ to None.
3. Disable the Mail app
If you use another email client and never want to use Mail, removing accounts will stop it from retrieving messages from the server.
Click on the Apple menu and choose System Preferences, then Internet accounts. Locate the accounts you currently use in Mail, select them one at a time, and uncheck 'Mail.'
How to reinstall the Mail app
Once you’ve deleted the Mail app, there’s no easy way to reinstall it. You would have to restart your Mac in Recovery mode (Hold Command-R when you start up your Mac). You would then have to choose the option to reinstall macOS. You should back up your Mac before doing this, as it will wipe all your data.
How to reset the Mail app
If Mail is causing problems, there is one thing you can try instead of deleting it – reset it using CleanMyMac X.
- Launch CleanMyMac X
- Click the CleanMyMac X menu and choose Preferences.
- Select the Ignore List tab > Uninstaller. Uncheck the box ‘Ignore system applications.’
- Select the Uninstaller module in CleanMyMac X.
- Locate Mail in the list of apps, right-click on Mail and choose ‘Select “Mail” for Reset.’
Mail will now be reset and restored to its original state.
Mail is protected by SIP because it's a core app in macOS. You can delete it by temporarily disabling SIP and using Terminal to remove Mail. To do that, follow the instructions above. However, if your reason for deleting Mail is to free up the space, there are several other, much less drastic options.