In Mac OS X Mail, you can set up filters, of course, and smart folders to spot messages from key senders fast, or engage an email triage service. You can also mark those people as VIPs, however, and have OS X Mail do the rest.
Emails from very important senders will be broken out — altogether as well as by sender — in a special smart folder, you can get desktop notifications, and you can set up your own rules for dealing with VIPs' messages, of course.
VIPs synchronize automatically across OS X Mail installations and with iOS Mail.
Make A Sender a VIP in Mac OS X Mail
To hand a sender the very important person (VIP) badge in Mac OS X Mail (and have all messages by the same sender marked with a star in message lists and appearing under the special VIPs folder):
- Open a message from the person or other sender you want to designate as VIP.
- Click the star in front of the sender's name and email address.
- If you cannot see the star, move the mouse cursor over the sender's name or email address.
Note that the star, when active, appears as an outline for read messages; for and in unread emails, the star is filled blue.
If the sender's email address is in your Mac OS X Address Book, VIP status will apply to alternative email addresses listed for the contact. You can also add additional addresses manually for people not in Contacts.
You can restrict OS X Mail desktop notifications to messages from VIPs, for example.
Remove VIP Status from a Sender
To remove the star and VIP status from a contact in Mac OS X Mail:
- Open a message from the sender you want to strip of VIP status.
- You can easily find the sender and mail from them by expanding the VIPs folder in OS X Mail and opening the sender's sub-folder.
- Click the star next to the sender's name or email address in the message's header area.
- If all messages by the VIP sender have been deleted (or as an alternative to the above):
- Expand the VIPs folder in OS X Mail. (Click the triangle in front of VIPs in the folder list to toggle the list of all VIP senders' individual folders.)
- Click on the folder for the sender from whom you want to remove VIP status with the right mouse button (or click while holding down the Ctrl key).
- Select Remove from VIPs from the menu that comes up.
(Updated August 2012)