Get Rid of Inline Attachments in Apple Mail

By default, Apple Mail sends certain e-mail attachments such as images and PDFs inline, or in the body of the message. While this may look visually appealing for some messages with images, it can be frustrating and confusing. I personally don't like Inline attachments, so here are three ways to get rid of them:

Terminal Command

  1. If Mail is open, quit it.
  2. Open the Terminal (Applications → Utilities)
  3. Enter the following command:

    defaults write DisableInlineAttachmentViewing -bool yes

Once you restart any email messages that you send or receive will display attachments as icons, not inline. If you later you decide you want to change your preference back to viewing attachments inline simply repeat the above command but change the "yes" at the end to "false" (without the quotes).


Another option is to use the Secrets Preference Pane. Secrets is one of my favorite utilities as it lets you easily access and customize hidden settings for applications. Once installed, you'll see a list of applications and options. To disable inline attachments in Apple Mail, simply choose Mail from the Application list and scroll down to the option to Show Attachments Inline and uncheck it. You'll need to restart to see the changes.


Attachment Tamer

The above two options are free and either turn inline attachments on or off. Simple enough. But my favorite way to handle attachments is by using Attachment Tamer. This third party add-on gives you additional control over attachments handing including the ability to specify which attachments you want to receive inline, and which you want to receive as icons. You can also set preferences for the size of image attachments you send, where in messages you insert attachments (I always put mine at the end) and the formatting of the attachments. The cost is $14.99 but I don't mind paying for a utility I use every day.