Using Mail.app in Mac OS X (10.6.3) I'm seeing apparently random sort order when sending a email to a group. Not a major issue but you'd think it be alphabetical?!?

To reproduce:

  1. Compose New Message in Mail.app
  2. Type in a group name from your Address Book
  3. The addresses from that group will populate the To: field in apparently random fashion

FYI- You'd think that choosing Edit Distribution List… in Address Book would let you sort the list...but nope!

Anyone know what/how to set this sort order?


There is a sqlite database in ~/Library/Application Support/Address Book/ called AddressBook-v22.abcddb (the name maybe different on your mac) in there there is a table called ZABCDRECORD. This contains the records, the order that records appear in the database is the order they appear in your group when sending an email, this order is the order they were added to the database.

I don't know of any way to sort it except by deleting and re-adding members, you could probably fiddle with the sqlite database but the odds are something would break.

The order users appear in the to box won't make any difference, hopefully this solved your curiosity.


I don't know the answer to changing the exact order of group recipients but I solved a partial problem. My group had a particularly noxious member whose address always came first when I added the group in the "To:" field. I wanted her on the list, just not at the front. I tried deleting and re-adding her to the group, reversing her first/last names on her contact card, and changing content on her contact card - always quitting Contacts in between changes before testing another email. None of these things worked. What finally seemed to work was a combination. I removed her from my Contacts entirely, removed her from Mail's "Previous Recipients" window, then added her back to my Contacts. Now she shows at the end of my group's addressee list.

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