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setup webmail macIt’s pretty much the worst thing that can happen to a human being. You innocently click a link only to find Mac Mail opening and asking you to set up your default email account. Such is the occasional, profound misery of the Mac user who prefers a web client to Cupertino’s default email software. I may be exaggerating the extent of the problem, but it’s still pretty freaking annoying.

A “mailto” link looks like any other link, but instead of opening a website it opens your default email client and creates a new outgoing email. This can be convenient at times, but for those of of us who prefer web-based email tools like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail or any webmail platform it can be extremely annoying. Default email software asks to be configured every time such a link is clicked, wasting valuable seconds of time that could be spent avoiding work.

Webmailer is a simple addition to the Mac OS X settings panel that allows you to set any webmail service to act as your default system-wide email client. It can even be used to stop these links from working altogether, if that’s what you want.

We’ve shown you how to set Gmail as your default email in your browser 4 Ways To Set Gmail As Your Default Email In Your Browser 4 Ways To Set Gmail As Your Default Email In Your Browser As users are slowly migrating data to The Cloud, having a webmail account has become a given, with Google Mail being the top choice. Unimpressed by these developments, Windows continues to link email hyperlinks (a.k.a.... Read More , and how to make Gmail your default email client on Windows Make Gmail your Default Desktop Email Client (Windows) Make Gmail your Default Desktop Email Client (Windows) Read More . Webmailer works for more email services than just Gmail, applies system-wide on your Mac and is easy to set up. Stop the madness now. Install Webmailer and banish from ever showing up again.

Using Webmailer

First things first, you’re going to want to install Webmailer. Head to the Webmailer website and download the program. Installation is easy. Just double-click “Webmailer.prefPan“, and enter your password if necessary. Once you’ve done so, you’ll find Webmailer on your Mac’s preferences panel, highlighted below:

setup webmail mac


Click this button and you’ll be presented with the Webmailer options. If you use a fairly common webmail client, such as Gmail or Hotmail, all you need to do is set Webmailer as your default email program and click your preferred client in the list.

set up webmail mac mail

You might need to slightly edit the entry, particularly if your preferred client uses the word “SITE” in the screenshot above.

Do you want to use a different browser for email than your default browser? That’s weird, but perfectly possible. Set this in the default settings:

set up webmail mac mail

Can’t find your preferred webmail client in the settings? You can write your own, if your skills are sufficient, or you can find a list of other email clients on the Webmailer website:

setup webmail mac

Check out the list here. It includes Squirrel Mail and several email services I’ve never heard of, so it probably includes yours.


Webmailer won’t solve all of life’s problems, but if you’re a Mac user who loves a particular webmail client – and sees no reason to set up Mac Mail – it could solve one. That’s all you can reasonably ask from software built for a particular purpose.

Do you know of any other software for the job? Please share it in the comments below, along with any other misery-inducing annoyances your computer causes. I look forward to the conversation.

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  1. redone
    October 21, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Webmailer is a great thing - been using it for years and it saved A LOT of frustration. Unfortunately, the developer got a job with apple and has stopped working on this great program - still works with Lion but I discovered today it does not work with Mountain Lion. I hope someone will take over and provide a fix or another program to take it's place. But it seems that for the moment the frustration is back.

    • Justin Pot
      October 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      That's unfortunate – just upgraded yesterday myself. Hopefully it's updated someday.

    • redone
      October 22, 2012 at 11:22 pm

      Seems I was wrong. Don't know why - but it's working again. It's not like I only tried it once or in one context but it started working for me again today and I am not going to worry about how or why. It's a great little program - a must have!

  2. Gretchen Schneider
    June 20, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Justin, You look like I can trust you and the date of your suggestion on Webmailer is recent. My problem with Yahoo is that it isn't easy to bring in email to my central mail, unless -- of course -- I purchase some $$$ program addition from Yahoo. Will this Webmailer application force email to my central site from Yahoo? If so, sounds like my solution. Would like a reply -- Yes, No.

    • Justin Pot
      June 20, 2012 at 8:56 pm

      I'm not entirely sure what you're asking. If you want your Yahoo Mail to open when you click a "mailto" link, then this will work. If not, then no, because this program is only for opening "mailto" links.

      • Gretchen Schneider
        June 20, 2012 at 8:59 pm

        Well, I think the problem for me is that I don't know what "a mail too address" is exactly. Can you explain this to me?

        My problem in Outlook is when I create my various email addresses from various email providers. I cannot create an account in Outlook for Yahoo that downloads.

  3. hfsindi
    June 15, 2012 at 2:44 am

    Why whenever I read similar articlesI get the feeling that everyone loves Mac Mail but none can have it to perform 100% as they want.

    • Justin Pot
      June 15, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      I don't really love Mac Mail, but I understand what you're saying.