Make Gmail Your Default Email Client In Chrome, Safari, and Firefox [OS X Tips]

Make Gmail Your Default Email Client In Chrome, Safari, and Firefox [OS X Tips]

I have quite a few email addresses, and almost all of them are Gmail based. I also use a ton of different devices to check my email, including my iPhone and iPad as well as a Macbook Air and a Mac mini. That’s not even mentioning the iMac I use from time to time at my office job. With all these devices, especially the Macs, it makes sense to me to use Gmail in the web browser, so I don’t have to keep setting up email client after email client, or make sure all my filters or rules are set up the way I want them on each of the Macs I use.

What doesn’t make sense to me is how my Mac opens up Mail app when I click a mail-to link on the web, in Twitter, or on Facebook. I want my Mac to open a web browser with the web version of Gmail in it every time I click one of those types of links. Here’s how to make that happen on the big three web browsers for Mac: Safari, Chrome, and Firefox.

Getting this to happen in Safari is fairly simple. You can install an app like GMail Notifier, or you can use an extension like GMail this. Grab GMail Notifier, download and install it, and you’ll have a nice menubar app to work with as well. Once installed, open your Mail app on your Mac, go to the Mail preferences, and select GMail Notifier as your Default email reader.

If you choose the extension, Gmail This, head to the Safari extensions page on the Apple website and click on the Email category near the bottom. Scroll down a bit to find Gmail This, and click that gray Install Now button to the right. Safari will take care of the rest.

Getting Gmail as your Firefox default is just as easy. Launch Firefox, and open the Preferences from the Firefox menu. Click on the Applications tab, and then find the mailto Content Type in that tab. Change the action there to Use Gmail. Quit and restart Firefox and you should be good to go.

Chrome seems a bit tricker – I was unable to get this to work, so your mileage may vary. Launch a new Chrome window and open up Gmail. Open the Javascript console by typing Command-Option-J on your keyboard, and then paste in the following code:

navigator.registerProtocolHandler("mailto", "https://mail.google.com/mail/?extsrc=mailto&url=%s","Gmail");

In theory, a confirmation message should show up at the top of your Chrome window. Once you accept it, you should be able to click mailto links with no worry. I got an ‘undefined’ message in the console each time I tried this method, so let me know if it works for you.

  • Vikrant Tomar

    Chrome is easiest for this. When you open gmail for the first time in Chrome, it offers you to set it up as default email client. All you need to do is click yes. OR, from the preferences of any desktop mail client on a mac, you can select Chrome to be the default mail handler, and it should open mail links in gmail.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, Creative Screenwriting, Shelf-Awareness, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef, and send him a cookie once in a while; he'll really appreciate it.

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