How to Delete the Mail App on a Mac

If you don’t use Mail for macOS, it makes perfect sense to remove the app from your Mac. Unfortunately, that’s not easy, convenient, or practical.

Let’s see what it takes to remove the Mail app on a Mac and discuss whether you should continue or just disable and hide the app.

Can you remove the Mail app on your Mac?

The Mail app is a built-in Apple app that macOS protects with SIP (or Security Integrity Protection). SIP is a feature that prevents a user from modifying system-related data content, which means you can’t remove Mail as a common app on Mac.

You have the option to disable SIP and remove the mail app after that. However, it’s a complicated process and you can’t reinstall the program afterwards without factory resetting your macOS installation.

Several mail-related preferences, like setting a default email client, are also tied to the Mail app, making things even more complicated.

A much better way (and the approach we recommend) is to disable and hide the Mail app. It only uses a negligible amount of storage (around 50MB), so it’s not like the app alone will affect how much space you have.

Whether you want to remove the Mail app from your Mac or just disable and hide it, this tutorial will walk you through both methods in detail.

How to disable and hide the Mail app on a Mac

If you want to disable and hide Mail on a Mac, you should prevent your email account (or accounts) from syncing with the app and remove it from the Dock and Launchpad. If you have a third-party email app for macOS installed, you can also set your email preferences to set it as the default.

Start by unlinking your online accounts from Mail. To do that:

  1. Open the apple menu and select System settings.
  2. Click on Internet accounts in the sidebar.
  3. Select the email account that syncs with Mail.
  4. Turn off the switch next to Mail.
Unlink an email account from Mail for Mac.

You can repeat the above for other email accounts that sync with Apple’s Mail app.

Hide the Mail app from the Mac Dock

Next, hide the Mail app from the Mac Dock; only Control-click the Mail app in the Dock and select Options > Remove from Dock. If Mail appears automatically when you start your Mac, also turn off Mail Open at login option.

Removing the Mail app from the Mac Dock.

Also, you may prefer to hide mail in the Launchpad. A quick way to do this is to drag and drop the Mail icon on the Applications folder in Finder.

Change the default email client on Mac

If there is an alternative email client on your Mac, you may end up setting it as the default. The easiest way to make the change is through the Settings panel of the Mail app.

  1. Open the Mail app and select Mail > settings in the menu bar.
  2. under default General tab, open the dropdown menu next to Default email reader.
  3. Select the client application you want to set as default, for example, Microsoft Outlook.
Changing the default email client on a Mac..

The new email client should appear automatically when you select an email address or open the macOS Share menu.

How to Permanently Delete the Mail App on Your Mac

We understand that not everyone wants to hide or disable the Mail app. For permanent removal, you must disable Security Integrity Protection via macOS Recovery, use Terminal to remove the Mail app, and manually delete any leftover Mail-related files and folders via Finder.

Enter macOS recovery and disable SIP

macOS Recovery is a special user environment that allows you to manage advanced features of macOS. It offers a terminal console that you can use to disable SIP. To get to it:

  1. Start your Mac in macOS Recovery. If you’re using an Intel Mac, just press and hold Command + R. at computer startup. If you are using an Apple Silicon Mac, perform a cold boot while holding down the Can key and select Options > Continue on the Startup Options screen.
  2. Enter your Mac administrator password if prompted.
  3. Select utilities > Terminal from the menu bar.
  4. Type the following command and press Return: csrutil disable
  5. Exit the Terminal window.
  6. Restart your Mac normally: Click the Apple logo and choose Restart.
Disable SIP on a Mac.

Uninstall Mac Mail App

With SIP out of the way, it’s time to remove the Mail app from your Mac. You should start Terminal again, but in normal desktop mode.

  1. Open Launch pad and select Other > Terminal.
  2. Copy and paste the following command: sudo rm -rf /Applications/Mail.app
  3. Press Return.
  4. Type your Mac administrator password.
  5. Press Return again.
Uninstall the Mail app on a Mac.

Check the Applications folder on your Mac; the Mail app should no longer be present.

Remove leftover files and folders from the Mail app

If you want to remove leftover mail-related files and folders from your Mac, you need to manually delete them via Finder. Any locally stored email will be lost forever. If there are no copies on an Internet server, it is better to move the leftovers to an external storage device.

To do that, Control-click on the Discoverer icon in the Dock and click To go > go to folder from the menu bar. Then, visit the following directories:

  • ~/Library/Containers
  • ~/Library/Mail
  • ~/Library/Preferences
  • ~/Library/Application Scripts
Removal of leftover items related to Mail for Mac.

Use the search bar in the upper right corner of the Finder window to search com.apple.mail inside each directory and drag the files or folders that include the name to the Trash. You have 30 days to restore the files if you want them back.

Re-enable SIP on Mac

Security Integrity Protection is essential to the security and stability of macOS and works as a deterrent against malware. After you remove the Mail app from your Mac, you need to re-enable SIP.

To do this, visit macOS Recovery again, open Terminal, and run the following command:

csrutil enable

Hide or remove the Mail app on your Mac

You have little to gain from uninstalling Mail on a Mac, so it’s much more convenient to disable and hide the app.

However, if you finally removed the app but need it again, there is a way to restore the operating system without losing your data.

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