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How to change the default email client in Tiger

August 17, 2005 by
QuickTip: Mac OS X Default Email Client

As if switching email clients wasn't enough of a PITA, trying to tell *Tiger* that you've changed it can be truly maddening. Until you solve this little riddle, you'll enjoy seeing Apple Mail launch each and every time you click on an email link in a web browser, Word document, in an email in your *new* client, and so on. Arg!

In the pre-Tiger world, it didn't take an ACN to get this done; Apple lovingly placed a Preferences Pane (or Control Panel) in the System Preferences to reset that kind of thing. In Tiger, they took it away. Thankfully, Dave Taylor came to my rescue and was able to find the frustratingly buried answer in... (wait for it)... the preferences of Apple Mail itself. Unbelievable.

Here's how you do it.

Step 1: Grit your teeth, narrow your eyes, and launch Apple Mail.

Step 2: Choose Mail > Preferences. NOTE: If you weren't using Mail to begin with, you will be forced to step through some of the setup process, though you don't have to finish it. Just keep going until the Preferences option in the Mail menu isn't grayed out. You may have to set up a fake account. Growl outloud if it helps.

Step 3: From the Default Email Reader pop-up menu, choose another application if it's listed; or, click Select and navigate to the email client of your choice in the resulting dialog box.

Step 4: Close up the preferences and quit Mail. Hopefully you won't ever have to see it again :)

Dave, I can't thank you enough for solving this mystery for me! And to folks who are reading this tutorial, give Dave's web site a visit. There you'll find a plethora of useful questions he's answered. And if you have a question of your own, just hit the big red ASK DAVE button. What an incredible resource!