What Are Smart Mailboxes?

Most of us struggle with using our email inbox efficiently.


For instance: When you want to find an important email from a particular person, how do you go about it? What if you want to see all the emails from that person, and save that collection for reference later? And wouldn’t it be amazing if your computer could sort these for you when needed, but still keep them routed into your inbox, so they would not be easily missed?


You can do all of this through the use of Smart Mailboxes.


Using smart mailboxes to sort my email “VIPs” into individual folders is a core strategy we use to achieve email efficiency. It effectively turns my email into not only my main hub for electronic mail, but also an automated filing cabinet where we can see all emails from a person, company, or topic in an instant, without endless searching. It’s truly a “set it and forget it” organization option.


(Note: In Gmail, you can achieve the same effect through the use of Labels, and in Outlook, through “Favorites Folders.” In this blog post, we will only be talking about Apple Mail for use on a Mac.)

To make a Smart Mailbox, simply follow the steps below using Apple Mail:

  1. Select an email that represents one you’d like to appear in your smart mailbox by clicking on it once.
  2. Click on the menu item, Mailbox > New Smart Mailbox.
  3. Enter a name for the Smart Mailbox (such as the name of the person or topic it represents).
  4. Change the search criteria to match what you are looking for. (“From” is a good one to start with.)

– If you need to add criteria, click the button with (+).

– IMPORTANT: Be sure to choose “any” or “all” from the drop-down menu above.


Once you’ve created the Smart Mailbox, feel free to drag it into the order on the list you’d like. And there you have it! A constantly updated mailbox (a saved search, really) that also doesn’t move the emails out of your main inbox.


Isn’t simple automation wonderful?



P.S. If you’d like to watch a short video teaching you how to do this, watch How do I create a smart mailbox? (Apple Mail) on our Youtube channel.