By default, Apple’s Mail app for Macs will show any attachments as an inline preview. This means that a large image will quickly fill up the mail window and make it difficult to navigate. Most other email clients will show attachments as an icon that can then be previewed if double-clicked on, similar to how the receiver will see it. So how do you stop Mac Mail from embedding attachments?
It is possible to get Apple Mail to display attachments as icons, but it has to be done each time. Unless you tweak macOS to do this automatically, that is. In no time at all you can have smartly formatted emails once more.
How to show an attachment as an icon: the ad-hoc method
- Add the attachment to your mail
- Right click on the resulting output
- Select “View as Icon”
How to stop Mac Mail from embedding attachments permanently
Time needed: 2 minutes.
How to view attachments as icons in Apple Mail
- Close the Mail app
Fully close the app, by right-clicking on its Dock icon and selecting Quit.
- Ensure Terminal has disk access
Click on the Apple icon in the top left-hand corner and then select System Settings > Privacy & Security > Full Disk Access. Ensure Terminal is active. If not you can use the + button at the bottom of the window to add it to the list of apps (you’ll find it in Applications > Utilities).
- Open up the Terminal app
Search for Terminal in Spotlight and click on it to start it.
- Type the following command, followed by a press of the Enter key.
defaults write com.apple.mail DisableInlineAttachmentViewing -bool yes
When you restart the Mail app, it should activate the change and the end result will look something like this:
To reverse this, you’d repeat the process above but, this time, type:
defaults write com.apple.mail DisableInlineAttachmentViewing -bool no
Does not work with Ventura
I’m running Ventura myself and it’s working just fine.
Ok so maybe it is because I’m using a beta version : Ventura bêta 13.2 (a) (22D7750270d)
Or does the setting affects only new messages only ?
I’ll keep it active and let you know how it goes. Thank you anyway for the tips, at least it helps other than me 😉
I did this and it seemed to be working but now I have two problems: 1) clients on Windows machines can’t view JPG attachments. 2) I can’t view JPG attachments on my iPhone – I see icons that look like a white page with two blue rectangles with rounded corners but they won’t open. Are you having any trouble at all?