How to Turn off Mail Animations in Mac OS X Lion

How to Turn off Mail Animations in Mac OS X LionI’m probably one of the very few power users who still relies on a desktop email client — Mail.app that comes with Mac OS X, to be exact.

For years, I’ve been using Mail to connect to my Exchange 2007 account — despite the various problems that always seem to ensue (like the inbox failing to update without a manual rebuild, or having to open the mail activity monitor via Option+Command+0 to kill zombie mail processes).

I keep hoping that Apple will improve the best desktop email experience I can find for Exchange interactivity (and, no, Microsoft is still producing a bucket of fail with its Outlook product for the Mac). I never seem to have any issues with the iOS client — but that stability has yet to translate to the desktop Mail app.

Either way, I am always interested in software revisions that bring with them new features and functionality. When I first opened the Lion mail client, my first instinct was to revert to a “classic” view. Some people like the new interface experience, but I find it a bit too spartan for the desktop.

Then, I tried to find the option that doesn’t exist on the surface: Turn Off Animations in Mail.

There is no direct toggle, no switch to flip, and no checkbox to invert. With every single reply, I found myself growing increasingly annoyed. I’d open up a message, watch it animate to the last position on my desktop, then fire up through the menu bar at the top of the screen when I hit Send. That was cute the first time, but not after my fourth reply.

I crowdsourced the question, since the information had yet to surface on any Mac blog. Then, an hour later, a community member by the name of Adrian emailed me with this Terminal tweak:

defaults write com.apple.Mail DisableReplyAnimations -bool YES

After pasting that into the command line, hitting Enter, then restarting Mail, the superfluous animations were gone. This has been a sanity saver, and I knew had to be blogged for your future reference.

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Chris has consistently expressed his convictions and visions outright, supplying practical information to targeted audiences: media agencies, business owners, technology consumers, software and hardware professionals, et al. He remains a passionate personality in the tech community-at-large. He's a geek.

  • Hal Gottfried

    I gave this to you on Twitter too about 10 minutes after you asked. Damn it, I thought I had it first.

  • Hal Gottfried

    I gave this to you on Twitter too about 10 minutes after you asked. Damn it, I thought I had it first.

  • http://twitter.com/jobb3 MortenJakobsen Jobbe

    Thanks! – Made my day!

    (e)JAKOBSENS

  • http://twitter.com/jobb3 MortenJakobsen Jobbe

    Thanks! – Made my day!
    (e)JAKOBSENS #EAv

  • http://twitter.com/jobb3 MortenJakobsen Jobbe

    Thanks! – Made my day!

    (e)JAKOBSENS

  • http://twitter.com/jobb3 MortenJakobsen Jobbe

    Thanks! – Made my day!
    (e)JAKOBSENS #EAv

  • http://www.facebook.com/inverseflux Brian Hartshorne

    If you fullscreen mail, the message still does the overlay and flies up and off the screen even after running this… sadface. No Lion, I want sadface to be once word please.

    Edit: Ah, don’t fullscreen and it DOES work as it did before.

    Any way to get all pertinent info onto 1 line instead of 3 lines? Seems ridiculous that they broke it up like that.

    • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

      It seems you’re correct. Full-screen Mail adheres to the way the iPad works. I’m guessing there’s an additional switch to toggle for this mode. Maybe I’m the only Mac user on the planet who doesn’t really use full screen mode even when its advantageous?

      • Anonymous

        Or maybe it would annoy you that when you put Mail into full screen mode, it won’t allow you to do anything on your other 30″ monitor!

  • http://www.facebook.com/inverseflux Brian Hartshorne

    If you fullscreen mail, the message still does the overlay and flies up and off the screen even after running this… sadface. No Lion, I want sadface to be once word please.

    Edit: Ah, don’t fullscreen and it DOES work as it did before.

    Any way to get all pertinent info onto 1 line instead of 3 lines? Seems ridiculous that they broke it up like that.

    • http://chris.pirillo.com/ Chris Pirillo

      It seems you’re correct. Full-screen Mail adheres to the way the iPad works. I’m guessing there’s an additional switch to toggle for this mode. Maybe I’m the only Mac user on the planet who doesn’t really use full screen mode even when its advantageous?

      • Anonymous

        Or maybe it would annoy you that when you put Mail into full screen mode, it won’t allow you to do anything on your other 30″ monitor!

  • http://www.facebook.com/joeferrante Joe Ferrante

    defaults write com.apple.Mail DisableSendAnimations -bool YES

  • http://www.facebook.com/joeferrante Joe Ferrante

    defaults write com.apple.Mail DisableSendAnimations -bool YES

  • D Lowrey

    I’ve got an even better idea…quit using tax dollars being given away as corporate welfare and/or being given tax breaks. There is no reason to give any business any taxes or incentives. If this would have happened in the past and doing this now/in the future…many of these local governments wouldn’t be throwing their futures away for businesses who are getting a free ride. When everyone pays their share…everyone benefits. When the businesses use individuals to pay their share…everyone loses.