Can’t Scroll a Message in Mail? Here’s One Reason Why

Originally published at: Can’t Scroll a Message in Mail? Here’s One Reason Why - TidBITS

A report from a reader of the Dutch translation of TidBITS led us to discover both a message viewing bug in Mail and a problem with how we were building those translated issues. Read on to learn what not to do in email and how to work around Mail’s bug.

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Interesting. I had this problem with my daily e-mail from The Economist. It went away after I upgraded from Catalina to Big Sur although I cannot prove that the upgrade made the difference. This may be the only benefit I derived from the move to Big Sur!

Same here, with the Toronto Globe & Mail daily news summaries – usually.

I’m on Catalina. Maybe it’s time for Big Sur.

Gentlepeople: I believe that you are looking at the trees instead of the forest. I have been experiencing this page freeze intermittently on websites ever since Big Sur 11.1 was release a few months ago.

This is totally unrelated to any mailing lists or single emails.

Part of the time, I will also get a Safari message to the effect that the page is using lots of memory and leaving the page would improve performance. This is ridiculous as Safari usually is the only running application at the time in 24 GB RAM. Closing the offending page and then returning to it via clicking on its URL solves the problem 100% of the time so far.

I want to know what expletive decided that HTML in email was a good idea in the first place!

See also the recent discussion on tracker pixels and providing more control on which external images get displayed in a message.

Me, I’d be happy with going back to text emails.


My problem with the Economist as well on Catalina
One solution seems to be to scroll up a little then ou can scroll down as long as you don’t stop for too long. You can stop for a bit. Otherwise you have to repeat

Am I correct that unchecking “Load remote content in messages” (In Preferences… > Viewing) prevents the tracking ability? (It makes many commercial emails that I might otherwise read almost meaningless, but I don’t think I’m missing much.)

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Yes, but that’s an “all or nothing” situation. Either you load NO external images or you load ALL external images. I think the need here is for more control, maybe “click to load this image.”

That being said, I personally despise HTML formatting, let alone JavaScript, in email, and would strongly support going back to straight text, or a much simpler mark-up (like “Markdown”, something that is limited to just typographic styles.)

I believe that clicking in the space reserved for an unloaded image will load that image. If I’m correct, then that level of control is provided. Of course, I don’t get to know if I really want to see that image until it’s too late to back out.

Agreed, but it seems we are in the minority. I believe that most senders of obnoxious email with HTML formatting or JavaScript would rather lose my business than lose the perceived benefit of using HTML formatting or JavaScript. (A message from an acquaintance who included HTML formatting doesn’t rise to the level of obnoxious, although it is still unfortunate.)

In Mac Mail, if you have the “load remote content” setting off, there is a control at the top of a mail message with remote content that allows content for that message, so you can load content if you trust the sender.

Also, hat tip to John Gruber for this one, there is a free mail plugin that blocks tracking pixels.

I have it installed and it seems to be working well.

I am experiencing this with newsletters from the Economist. It was so annoying that I actually changed email client. Now trying out the MailTrackerBlocker plugin.

A post was split to a new topic: Issues with copying and pasting images

Something that’s ambiguous in the article, but true in my experience is that when you say “can’t scroll” you mean “can’t scroll using the scroll wheel on the mouse.” This means that your ability to scroll will be dependent on the location of your mouse pointer, so a simpler workaround when this happens is to either use the scrollbars manually (like a caveman) or hover your mouse over the scroll bars to use them.

In this case, I don’t know exactly what J.C. was experiencing in terms of how he was attempting to scroll. Given how long he was having the problem, I suspect he would have tried the scroll bars.

I have been having exactly the same issue, in Mail on Catalina, using the touchpad. Doing an upscroll gesture unlocks the scrolling down.

It is not an iframe in the message however. My affected messages are from They are sent by mailchip, and have massively nested tables for formatting.

Seems like a bug.