How to change the default sounds in Apple Mail on Mac OS X . ..

Good ol’ Apple Mail, it’s the defacto standard for most of us on the Mac, iPad, and iPhone. It has great features, including sounds.

Check for mail, and you get a sort of “ding” sound to indicate if you have new mail, or a “dink” sort of sound if you have no new mail (well, I don’t have any good words to describe the sounds LOL).. and when you send mail, you get a “Swoosh!” sort of jet airplane flyby sound in full stereo..

But what if you don’t want to use those sounds anymore? Well, you can go into preferences and pick one of the default Mac OS X sounds for the new mail notification (for when you have new messages) but not the others.

Today I wanted to change the “Mail Sent” AIFF sound to something else. A free WAV file like a cartoon whistle would work nicely.

Time to do some digging then. Let me preface this with the usual disclaimer that any mods to your system is at your own risk so if you break something, you are on your own and get to keep both pieces.

Step-by-step guide where these files are..

1.) For GUI people, go to the Applications. Find the Mail app. Command line folks, you probably don’t need to read much more of this 😉

2.) Right click (or control-click if you don’t have a two-button mouse handy), and then select “Show Contents”

3.) You are now presented with the standard app folders MacOS, Resources, etc..

4.) Inside the Resources folder you will find some AIFF files. These are the various sounds that Mail uses, if not painfully obviously named, here they are as follows:

Mail Fetch Error.aiff (sounds kind of like a fart or someone blowing their nose)

Mail Sent.aiff (swooshy jet sound when mail is completed sending)

New Mail.aiff (sound to indicate that you have new mail either after manually or automatically checking for mail)

No Mail.aiff (sound to indicate that there was no new mail retrieved from the recent check for mail)

5.) To replace any of these sounds, simply replace the existing AIFF with another AIFF sound, giving it the same exact name. I renamed the original file and kept it in there just in case I wanted to change the sounds back at a later time.

As to why Apple doesn’t let you configure each of these on your own, I don’t know, but at least this is easy enough (and fun!) to change. On that note, I don’t recommend hacking your Mac friend’s Mail sounds with random odd sounds 😉 but I can just imagine someone doing that, back in the day we used to set our mail received sound to a soundbyte (e.g., something used as ringtones.. peanut butter jelly time, big pimpin, that batman song from ytmnd, etc..)

I didn’t see any tutorials on this anywhere online so thought I may as well write this up myself 🙂


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