Turn Off Mail.app’s Automatic Attachment Preview ‘Feature’ [OS X Tips]

I didn’t really want to see what that photo was, anyway.

I didn’t really want to see what that photo was, anyway.

One of the cool things I loved about Apple’s Mail.app was the way it provided a visual preview of the attached files that came in my email. It was nice to be able to see exactly what was sent along with the email.

Some folks, however, might not dig this feature, and might want to turn it off. Maybe it helps them feel better, or they don’t need the visual preview. For whatever reason, if you’re one of those people, here’s how to turn it off.

Launch Terminal, and then type or paste the following command after the prompt:

defaults write com.apple.mail DisableInlineAttachmentViewing -bool yes

Once you do that, quit Mail and relaunch it, or just start it up if it wasn’t running already. Now, when you look at messages with attachments, you’ll just see an icon. Double click on it as per usual to bring it up in the associated application, like Preview or Word.

To change it back to the way it was, simply run the following command:

defaults write com.apple.mail DisableInlineAttachmentViewing -bool no

When you relaunch Mail again, you’ll see attachments with their visual previews again. Sweet, right?

  • Hawk_Ky

    I feel like there should be an easier way to do this. I often have to send pictures to Windows users and the file gets messed up in the process.

  • DavidAlexWillis

    I use this script because unfortunately hitting the space bar will launch a preview of any attachments in a new pane, which is incredibly annoying because the space bar is also a shortcut for scrolling down to the end of the message. So now I have to preview every single image or piece of media manually, but that is still far less annoying than the space bar issue. I have also looked for a better way to do this and was unable to find one.

  • svlo531

    @cultofmac I’m ONE of those people, and it works!! Thanks for sharing the tips!!

  • Pietja

    Well, I’m using this http://lokiware.info/Attachment-Tamer. Works just great!

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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