Many people have not considered extending Apple Mail. This page gives a brief overview of Apple Mail Plugins.
What Are Apple Mail Plugins…?
Mail Plugins are a useful way to extend Apple’s Mail Application on OS X. While the Mail Application has lots of useful features, sometime you want more. Apple Mail Plugins either add features or extend existing ones. These little software packages extend the application in ways Apple Engineers have not thought of.
These allow the user to customise Mail so that it becomes even easier and more efficient to use.
Please note, Mail Plugins are not supported by Apple. It is not clear whether Apple is happy with people running Mail Plugins, but they have not (to our knowledge) tried to stop them.
How do Mail Plugins Work…?
When a certain setting is changed Mac Mail will load Mail Plugins in the folder ~/Library/Mail/Bundles. Each Mail Plugin simply (!) loads itself into memory and then sets up a series of changes to the original application code. These changes allow the customizations that the user sees and enjoys.
The Mail application code is private to Apple, so this runs on un-documented code. To write Mail Plugins is actually quite hard since these undocumented frameworks tend to change quite rapidly.
Can Mail Plugins damage my Mac…?
No, third-party Mail Plugins can not damage your Mac. At most a badly written Mail Plugin may cause Mail to crash unexpectedly, If this happens simply remove the Plugin that is causing problems.
- Tikouka Apple Mail Plugins and Tools – a fairly comprehensive list of Apple Mail Plugins.
- About Tech Plug-Ins and Add-Ons for Mac OS X Mail – reviews and news of Mail Plugins
- OS X: Third-party plugins for Mail may no longer work after updating OS X – Apple Troubleshooting Page for Mail Plugins.
- Mail Plugin Development – if you want to try developing Mail Plugins.