I'm curious if there is a way to filter my search in Mail.app to show only read or unread messages. An obvious workaround is to sort the results by read/unread but that means I need to click again to re-sort when I'm done searching and is generally a pain. Mail.app does support searching of some metadata (seems similar to Spotlight search?) such as from:, kind:, has:attachment. I just can't seem to find one for read/unread.

  • Why are your examples straight from the Google mail help? – Daniel Beck Sep 22 '10 at 6:07

Not sure if this (google search) works for you, but I'll just quote calbrecht anyway:

File > New > Saved Search

Title your search "Unread Mail"

Create the following conditions (located just below the orange search bar): 1. Match if all criteria are met 2. Status | is | Unread 3. Folder | Is Not | Deleted Items (On My Computer)


Go to the "Mail Views" Section on the left nav column at the bottom. Right click on "Unread Mail" > Add to Favorites Bar.

Now it is easily accessible from the grey favorites bar.


Spotlight builds up the list of keywords from the file schema.strings located


Mail.app calls the read/unread column "Message Status" (although it's not shown in View->Columns, only in View->Sort By). It shows unread status but also other things, such as if the message is a Note/Todo.

I've had a look through the schema file for anything related to message status/read/unread and nothing turns up, so I have a feeling that it's not supported out of the box. However third party software can supply it's own schema.strings file (eg Adium does this), so it's possible that one could edit the file, or supply a new one containing the appropriate keyword mapping to add this feature, though I'm not sure how.

So the short answer is unfortunately no - at least as of Snow Leopard.

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