Mac Productivity

How to Schedule Email on Your Mac

Dan Price Updated 07-11-2019

If you want to schedule an email on your Mac, you have a few possible ways to do this. Sadly, however, the functionality is not a native part of the Apple Mail app. That means you need to look at alternative solutions.


You can either use an entirely separate email app, an Apple Mail plugin, or the oft-overlooked Mac app Automator. We’ll show you how to use these methods to schedule an email on macOS.

How to Schedule an Email Using Automator

Automator is an Apple app that comes pre-installed on all Mac computers. It lets you automate a wide range of tasks and actions by creating workflows and scripts.

If you want to explore some of the great ways you can use Automator, check out our list of time-saving Automator workflows 8 Time-Saving Automator Workflows for Your Mac The Automator app on your Mac makes it easy to automate tedious tasks. Here are awesome time-saving workflows you should set up. Read More . Today, however, we’re only interested in how to schedule an email in Apple Mail using the app.

1. Create an Email Workflow

To begin, open the Automator app. You will find it in the Utilities folder, or you can easily bring it up by searching in Spotlight with Cmd + Space.

The app will prompt you to select a type of file for your document. Select Application from the list of options, then hit Choose.


automator choose application

Next, expand the list of options under Library in the left-hand menu and click on Mail. You will see a selection of email-based options appear in the adjacent panel. Locate the New Mail Message option in the list and drag it into the main window.

mac automator mail options

2. Compose Your Email Message

Use the New Mail Message panel to compose the email that you want to automate. As with a regular email, you can add multiple recipients, as well as CC and BCC recipients. If you have multiple email accounts associated with the Mail app, you can also select which account you want to send the message from.


mac new mail message in automator app

3. Create the Email Automation

Once you’re happy with your message, it’s time to set up Automator to send the email at a specific time.

To do so, head back to the list of email actions in the middle panel and find the option titled Send Outgoing Messages. Again, you need to drag and drop it into the main window. Make sure you drop it below the New Mail Message action that you just set up.

automator outgoing message schedule email mac


When you’re ready, go to File > Save. Make sure that you choose Application from the File Format dropdown menu before you hit the Save button.

4. Use Calendar to Set the Time and Date to Send the Email

To schedule the email, you need to head to the Calendar app; you can close Automator now.

Use Calendar to navigate to the date when you want the email to send, then create a new event. In the New Event dialog box, click on Alert to expand the dropdown menu. Select Custom from the list of options.

A new mini window will open. Click on Message to expand the dropdown menu, then choose Open File from the list. In the second dropdown menu (where it says Calendar), click on Other. A Finder window will open. Use it to navigate to and select the Workflow you just created in Automator.


calendar event automate email

To complete the process, click on OK.

5. Leave Your Mac Turned On

You don’t need to do anything else. As long as you set up the calendar entry correctly, you can relax.

There is one condition, however. For the scheduled email to work as expected, you need to ensure that your Mac is turned on and awake at the specified time. If it’s not, your scheduled email will not send.

Other Ways to Schedule an Email on Mac

Sending a scheduled email using Automator is fine for one-off messages. However, if you frequently need to send automatic emails, the process is a bit cumbersome and long-winded. You would be better served using a different approach.

Here are some of the best third-party tools to send an email at a specific time on your Mac.

1. Mailbutler

Mailbutler is one of the best email productivity suites on the market. In additional to Apple Mail, it also works with Gmail and GSuite.

The tool offers message templates, email snooze functionality, reminders, task management, signature templates, email tracking, and a whole lot more. Importantly, Mailbutler also lets you use Apple Mail to schedule an email. The tool is easy to use; it merely adds a Send Later button to Apple Mail’s New Message window.

To unlock the Send Later feature, you need to sign up for the Pro plan. Its pricing is listed in euros at €6.50/month, which is approximately $7.20 at the time of writing.

Download: Mailbutler Pro (~$7.20/month)

2. MailSuite 2019

MailSuite 2019 is a plugin for the Apple Mail app. It consists of four components:

  • MailTags: To tag your messages by keywords, projects, importance, color, and due dates.
  • Mail Act-On: An email automation tool that includes the email scheduling feature.
  • Mail Perspectives: To customize how you navigate your email messages.
  • SigPro: An email signature creation tool.

Because it’s a plugin, if you use MailSuite 2019, you can schedule emails from directly within the Apple Mail app. The plugin costs $60 for a lifetime license.

Download: MailSuite ($60)

3. Use a Third-Party Email Client

spark mail app mac

Lots of third-party email clients for Mac The 6 Best Email Apps for Mac Here are the best email apps for Mac to help you work through your email inbox more efficiently. Read More have a built-in way to send an email at a specific time. Two of the most notable include Spark and Airmail.

Of the two, Airmail is the more powerful all-round tool. It has iCloud syncing, support for aliases, a selection of themes, and several additional extensions. However, it costs $27, while Spark is free. Both apps have a version for macOS and iOS.

Download: Spark (Free)
Download: Airmail ($26.99)

The Best Ways to Schedule Email on Your Mac

So what is the best way to schedule email on macOS? Much depends on your personal use case.

As mentioned earlier, people who only need to schedule emails occasionally can get by with Automator. If you need to perform the process regularly, a third-party tool or app might be more suitable. You also need to decide whether you want to stick with Apple Mail or if you’re happy to move to a third-party email client.

To take email even further, have a look at ways to make Apple Mail more productive for professionals 4 Mac Mail Productivity Tips All Professionals Must Know If you use the Mac Mail app in a professional environment, check out these tips to work more productivity in Mail every day. Read More .

Related topics: Apple Mail, Desktop Email Client, Email Apps, Email Tips, Productivity Tricks, Task Automation.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Antonio
    December 11, 2019 at 10:15 pm

    There seem to be bad news.

    In Mojave, if you make an app with automator as described above and create an event on Calendar to send the mail, the app won't work.

    The system will stop the app and ask you to give explicit permission to the app to control Mail. You should be in front of the mac in the scheduled time, which destroys the very purpose of scheduling.

    Since a new app is created by automator for every new message you send, the whole process is now useless.

    Unless I am mistaken. In such a case I would greately appreciate any comment.

  2. Tom Bishop
    December 10, 2018 at 2:42 am

    Thanks for writing this article. I know I am commenting 4 years after this was initially written, but this was so helpful. Why are these features not standard in ALL email applications? What a shame that Apple does not build this feature into the Mail GUI and make it easily accessible to everyone. I saw that Outlook for MAC does have this feature but only if you are a Office365 subscriber (what a crock).

    I am glad that Mozilla Thunderbird is at least watching out for the little guy. Thank you Mozilla! ....and thank you Tim Brookes for this post. I hope you revisit this again in the future and give us a 2019 update of what is available. I saw you updated it back in March of 2017, so you are keeping eye on it. Thank you!

  3. Marc
    February 6, 2018 at 1:16 am

    The scheduler for Airmail (at least the desktop version) only supports 'sending later' for Gmail and Exchange accounts.

  4. Johnny Twin
    January 12, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    My eMail provider allows me to do this natively while I'm logged in via a web browser, so if yours allows for that too, no need to fumble around on your local machine :)

  5. Tim Wilton
    October 24, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    Another option is - works with any email application and there is a free option.

  6. Akiva
    August 18, 2017 at 1:49 am

    Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Airmail can only schedule mail to send at a later time if you are using a Gmail or an Echange account, per the link provided above (handy scheduler). At one time I was considering Airmail for this reason ($10 is not bad), but I do not use gmail so gave it up. I cannot find any other advantage of Airmail over Apple mail other than that. Are there any?

  7. Narelle Collas
    July 28, 2017 at 1:20 am

    How do you add attachments to the mail message in automator - I clicked on add attachments to front message but can't do anything with that?

  8. Danny
    December 8, 2016 at 5:02 am

    Please edit this article to say that you must create a "On My Mac" calendar. This option will be hidden if you don't already have a local calendar! To do this (with Yosemite) you must disable all current online calendars in the account preferences. Now, when you select File->New Calendars-> "On My Mac" will appear. This took about 2 hrs to figure out...

  9. ah
    April 3, 2016 at 6:58 am

    too bad Send Later is now ridiculously expensive I had it when it was just a simple app and now bundled with Mail Butler for personal use it's way out of price range

    • Tim Brookes
      April 4, 2016 at 2:04 am

      Wow that sucks, I didn't realise it had been swallowed up. You might have joy using one of the other solutions (scheduling mail with Calendar) which won't cost you, or you could go all-out and pay a once-off fee for a client like AirMail which already supports the feature.

      After having a look it seems like MailButler is free for light users, but you only get "30 actions" per month on this model. Their definition of an action is basically using any of the included features, so you might get on ok if you don't need to make heavy use of the feature?

      The monthly charge for the service sucks though. I could understand a one-off payment, but €8 per month (or slightly "cheaper" at $70ish per year) seems ridiculous. Maybe Apple will introduce the feature with OS X 10.12, they've put a lot of work into Mail in recent updates!

  10. Ian
    March 31, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    If the computer is off at that time, but is turned on later, will the email send as soon as the computer is turned on? Also is there a good free animator app for android phones? That would solve the problem of my laptop being off at the time I want the email to send.

  11. ele
    March 11, 2016 at 10:26 am

    Hi, but if i want to schedule the answer of an email?

  12. Hemant kumar arya
    February 11, 2016 at 4:18 am

    Awesome post, Now we can schedule mail in Gmail by juat downloading a extension named as boomerang in you chrome or firefox. Thats all you can schedule email free of cost. Thank you :-)

  13. TT
    January 10, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    For those of you who are having the problem of the alert disappearing - the problem is that your calendar is connected to icloud. You need to create a calendar on your mac, this will make the 'open file' alert work. Here is a text that helped me solve it:

    "OK guys- here's the problem. If you have iCloud Calendar turned on it means you want whatever file to open when you trigger it with an alert to happen on all your iCloud devices. It can't do that, so it won't (can't) hold the alert. You have to go to System Preferences>iCloud and uncheck Calendars. Then create a local calendar and try your alert again."


    "I was too hasty in my previous reply- let me clarify.

    You can still leave "Calendars" checked in iCloud System Preferences- in fact if you share a calendar with any other device this needs to be checked. But if you want to use alerts to trigger opening a file or application (like an Automator app) on your laptop it has to be on a non-iCloud calendar. You have to create a local calendar "On My Mac" called "My scripted events," or something like that.

    For example, I want to set a date and time to open an Automator app I created called "Launch Slideshow." If I try to add an alert to open that file on an iCloud calendar, iCloud wants to open the file "Launch Slideshow" on my phone, my iPad, and everything that accesses that calendar in the cloud. This is impossible, even if I in fact have the file "Launch Slideshow" on the other devices because the path name is ultimately different. So calendar can''t hold the alert. Scripted events in Calendar have to be on a non-cloud calendar.

    Clear as mud?"

    • Steven
      April 5, 2018 at 11:52 pm

      Thank you!! I was getting so frustrated with he disappearing alert...

  14. idim
    December 6, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    When i hit apply the alert, the alert details disappear!! Hundred times the same result!!

  15. Anonymous
    September 19, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    I created an Automator application to send attachments automatically.

    The workflow is as follows: Get Specified Finder Items, New Mail Message, Add Attachments to Front Message, Send Outgoing Messages.

    I then created an Event in Calendar that launched the above application. Everything worked fine, except that the message was not sent. It automatically created the message, sending to the correct email address on the correct date, but the message did not automatically go out.

    Am I missing a command in the workflow?


  16. Anonymous
    September 13, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    I'd like to point out a couple of tweaks, in the use of Automator to schedule emails, that may make it a little easier and more predictable to set up and test:

    1) If, in testing this method, you set up a Calendar event to run an Automator application, you may find that it does not work, at first. This may be due to the fact that the event is still open in Calendar and may not have been saved. When you create Calendar event, the program doesn't necessarily save the new event until you move to another event or another day. You can ensure that your activating event is recorded by clicking 'Apply' or by clicking on another day or event, so that the newly-created event is actually added to the Calendar data file.

    2) Since you've created a new application, the File Quarantine alert may be activated the first time you try to execute the new application you've created. If you're not there to approve it, the app may not execute. You can prevent this problem by inserting your own email address and some dummy-text in the message, when you create the Automator application, and then executing the application manually, so as to invoke and approve the File Quarantine alert before you actually employ it.

    • Trish
      November 28, 2015 at 1:40 am

      I've clicked 'Apply' but the Alert details immediately disappear. What am I doing wrong?

    • Ross Heitkamp
      March 24, 2016 at 5:51 pm

      I am still having trouble with #2 - the file quarantine. I tried setting it up with my own email address and see that the second time this is scheduled, I don't get the warning. BUT, when I save the automator again for any reason, File Quarantine appears to reset and want to confirm execution again. So there appears to be no way to change the addressee without ending up blocked by File Quarantine. I'd have to send them one message just to get past quarantine. Apple has become quite an obstacle with its nanny software.

      • Ross Heitkamp
        March 24, 2016 at 7:00 pm

        I figured out a workaround to the File Quarantine obstacle with changing the addressee. If you send the message to an addressbook group, then you can test and approve the execution of the script while having your own email in the group, then change the group recipient to your intended one before your scheduled sending time.

  17. Nicko
    May 18, 2015 at 3:43 am

    Calendar doesn't seem to play nice for me when adding in a custom multi-day-per-week repeat with the open file procedure when scheduling.

  18. Doni1985
    May 1, 2015 at 11:02 am

    THANK YOU so much! Terrific - I love Automator <3

  19. Tim Brookes
    April 27, 2015 at 12:34 am

    Yes that's true, though once you've opened the application once and given it permission to run you shouldn't have that problem again.

  20. Wayne Smith
    April 23, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Good article and very well detailed. One problem I'm having is the "Your opening the application "x" for the first time..." warning. This means that, if I'm not at my computer to click "open", when the iCal event opens the email will not send.

  21. Wayne Smith
    April 23, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Good article and very detailed. One problem I'm running into is the "Your opening the application "x" for the first time" warning. This means, if I'm not at my computer when the iCal event takes place, the email will not send until I tell OS X to open the application.

  22. Kaloyan
    April 6, 2015 at 8:46 am

    Great article.

    Do you have any recommendations for an OS X app that schedules incoming emails? Instead of receiving each email as it comes, I'd like to get emails at specific time slots.

    • Tim Brookes
      April 14, 2015 at 12:53 am

      Hi Kaloyan,

      This functionality already exists in the default Mac email client. In order to receive email periodically, launch Mail on your Mac, click Mail at the top of the screen, then click Preferences. Under the General tab change the Check for new messages field to an interval that suits you.

      You can't designate specific times, but if you want email every hour or every half-hour (or a custom period, say 90 minutes) then this allows you to do that.

      Hopefully this helps you out,

  23. Kyle
    March 19, 2015 at 12:36 am

    I am having trouble saving the event. It sets it up but when I leave the event window it deletes the open file reminder. Anyone have a idea as to why?


    • Trish
      November 28, 2015 at 1:38 am

      I'm the same. Did you get an answer to this?

    • Jane
      December 17, 2016 at 5:08 am

      I found it saved to my original calendar although I had disable them all. Just need to change the "colour" of the calendar to the iMac one then the event will appear.

  24. inge
    February 22, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    what if I want all my emails to go into an outbox, before actually sending them, like in windows live mail.. and then when I`ve reread them and I want to send them I want a send/receive option (like windows) so that all emails in my outbox get sent at once