How to DESELECT All Email Messages in the Mac Mail App

How to Deselect All or Multiple Emails in the Mac Mail App
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Don’t you just hate it when you accidentally hit Command-A (-A) and end up selecting all of the email messages in the mailbox or folder you are currently in? Of course, ordinarily you can just hit ‘escape’, or even hit -A again, and it will deselect them all. But for at least some people running Mac OS 11.6 Big Sur (and maybe others), does that work? Nooooo! And with apologies to Steve Martin, excuuuuuuuse us!!! Why the heck not?

To make matters worse, nothing you try works to get everything unselected, or to otherwise deselect all of the messages. Out of frustration (or even desperation) you may have even quit Mail completely, crossing your fingers that when you reopen mail everything will be unselected. But nope; everything is still selected!

And of course, then there’s the hassle of trying to click on one of the selected emails, hoping that will deselect all of the others (because it used to), only to find that you have now opened all 239 of them!

Fear not, because we are going to tell you three different ways out of this mess.

How to Deselect All Emails in the Mac Mail App

Method 1: Hold down the command key (the key) and click on any one of the messages while holding the key down. This will deselect that message (only). Now let go of the command key and click on that same message again. This will select just that message, and deselect all of the other messages.

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Method 2: With all of the messages selected (which is after all your problem or you wouldn’t be here), hit ‘enter’ (the ‘return’ key) and then in the resulting dialogue box click on “Cancel” (be careful to not click on ‘Open’!)

how to deselect all mac mail app

Now point to one message and click on it. Then hit ‘enter’ (the ‘return’ key) again, cancel it again, and when you cancel it this second time all your messages will be deselected. It may take a moment for them to go from being all selected to deselected, depending on how many messages you had selected intially.

Method 3: This one is only for when you don’t have all that many messages selected in the first place. Hold down the key, and click on and deselect one message (the message now goes from blue to white because it’s deselected). Now do the same thing on the next message. And the next. Lather, rinse, repeat.

All of these methods work for us, and so hopefully at least one of them will work for you!

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3 thoughts on “How to DESELECT All Email Messages in the Mac Mail App

  1. Thanks guys,

    This was a good clue for magic keyboard- I use a gaming keyboard (flashing lights – full keys) and there is no command key_ I tried a few things but when I clicked on the little down arrow v in the mail app – it suddenly deselected and the little arrow turned right>
    Sorry, I can’t tip right now_ But this might add a hint for those who prefer other keyboards_

  2. THIS IS AN INTENTIONAL NIGHTMARE TO CONTROL US, TO GET US TO BUY MORE DATA SPACE, TO GET US COMPLETELY RELIANT ON THE CLOUD.
    Computer use used to be pretty straight forward and reliable protocols.
    This is completely fine insane!

    BRING THEM DOWN!!!!!!

  3. Thank you! I thought I had lost all of the”selected” messages. While trying to figure this out, before I came to this web site for input, I accidentally selected “filtered messages” up at the top of the list, by my name and all my messages came back “unselected”. I wouldn’t assume that this works for anyone. I just wanted someone else’s input.

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