Add a comment or note to an Apple Mail message in InBox

For years this has been an unsolved topic that defies resolution with complex techniques including screenshots and 3rd party Apps that are no longer supported.

Today I found a simple solution when trying to document an extended warranty from Amazon for what it applies to. Here it is:
• Move it to the Draft folder and Forward.
• Change the “To:” field to anything other than an actual email address. I chose for the above message and put in “Porch Light”
• Send it. It the message will be returned due to improper address
• Move the returned message to the drafts folder and open it

Now you can edit it to your hearts desire, put in notes and comments, etc. and save it in any other mail folder.

Used to very often use the old Eudora ability to change the local text of the title field of a received message to do this. Could mark which emails held the “important” stuff, most significant, or anything thing else you wanted to easily find in a mass of nearly identical emails. No depending on remembering something unique to search on (if search even works), or opening dozens of similarly titled emails to find THAT one. Ah, the good old days.

I, too, used Eudora many years ago and I would make notes in received messages, because I used my email system as my filing system, keeping messages as records. Then I had a problem with Eudora and a lot of my messages got corrupted. Long story short, I stopped using my email system as a file cabinet.

Now, if a message is a record I need to keep I print-to-PDF, make any annotations I need in the PDF, file it into a Finder folder on my Mac. I might keep the email message and might not, but I know I have a safe record on my Mac. If I need to keep more info than I can put into an annotation in the PDF, I create a plain text file and enter whatever info I need then save it in the folder with the email.

Through the years I’ve known many people who used their email system as their filing system. Some of them have had major problems when their email system gets munged somehow, or they run out of server space, or any number of other issues I’ve seen (and tried to help them with). I prefer to use files and the Finder as my filing system. Different strokes for different folks. I like to say that’s why we call it a ‘personal computer’.

One More Thing: Since I use Apple Mail, for those messages I do want to keep within my email system I move them off the email server and into local folders I created under ‘On My Mac’. I definitely don’t trust the email server to act as my filing cabinet.

1 Like

Just make sure you have a good backup strategy for your Mac, or at least for your Mail!

I totally agree and have been doing it for many years using On My Mac. However backing up mail is very challenging due to the way messages are stored in the user library, nested in multiple folders with names that defy user understanding and that the user has no control over. Using Time Machine ™ for mail backup is also very challenging when attempting retrieval in trying to locate the messages you are seeking to retrieve is sometimes a next to fruitless task. Historically you could search for individual message in ™ using the Mail window but no longer. I have yet to find a decent way of backing up mail that does not require a time consuming manual backup of Mail folders or purchasing a 3rd party App due to Apples myopic behavior. Apple has been aware of this issue for years but has done nothing I am aware of to improve it. I have tried using DEVONthink that makes copies of message but it makes many duplicates of the messages and they do not delete when the message is deleted in Mail. This can quickly lead to storing thousands of saved messages in a short period of time.

I simply forward the message to myself and make the comments in the forwarded message.

Thank you for the comment. When thinking about this last night before your message I realized that you do not have to move the message to the draft folder first. Just forward it to the rejection ‘bucket’ from the inbox and move the bounced back result to where you want to store it.