Using Gmail as the default mail application in Mac OS X

Filed under: random @ 14:20

A simple two step process (for Firefox users).

  1. Set Firefox to use Gmail as the default application for mailto: links.
  2. Tell Apple’s Mail application to use Firefox as your default mail reader: Open mail. Go to the “Mail” menu and select “Preferences”. Click the “General” icon/tab. Click the dropdown next to “Default email reader” and choose “Select…” from the list. Browse the Applications folder and pick “Firefox”.

Now, Firefox will send mailto: links to Gmail when you click them from within Firefox, and OS X will send mailto: links to Firefox when you click them from outside Firefox. I imagine something similar can be done with other browsers.

The other methods I found online both required an extra application running on your computer, which I didn’t want. Google’s official solution to the problem for Mac and Windows is Google Notifier, which does have some extra features. I also found many references to Gmailto, but it apparently doesn’t exist anymore.


    Steve 01.04.2009 @ 08:31

    Works nicely. Thanks!

    Bob 01.11.2009 @ 19:55

    Step 1 works great, but I can’t accomplish step 2 because I haven’t set up Mail. It pops up a “Welcome to Mail” dialog that expects me to configure Mail to check an email account, and clicking Cancel quits Mail. The Mail->Preferences menu item is grayed out.

      MDA 01.11.2009 @ 22:35

      I think I set up a fake account in Mail so that I could follow step 2 above. Then I deleted the fake Mail account.

      Kinda lame, but it worked.

    Wayne 06.24.2009 @ 18:18

    Worked beautifully thank you.

    David Cherryholmes 08.15.2009 @ 04:47

    After following your instructions, when I click on a mailto link in firefox, it opens up hundreds of empty tabs, locking up the browser. Any idea what I might have done wrong? Using leopard and 3.5.2.

    Johannes 08.16.2009 @ 10:20

    David, in Firefox Preferences, choose Applications. In the Content type column, find mailto. Choose Gmail as the default mailto-application for Firefox. And you are done!

    (As far as I can see, in the latest firefox updates, gmail is now included as a possible default mailto choice. But firefox does not come with gmail set as the default mailto application. To set it, just follow the instruction above.

    It seems that point 1) above:
    -Set Firefox to use Gmail as the default application for mailto: links.
    should be replaced with my instructions here.)

    Setting Firefox as the OSX default for mailto works fine.


    eve 04.09.2010 @ 07:32

    ODD, undesirable result:
    When I click on a mailto, now firefox opens many, many, many “untitled” tabs.
    Any thoughts on what setting I may have setup improperly?

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