Show unread e-mail counts in your Mac menu bar


UnreademailSince today we’ll see if Apple really is launching a netbook (odds are pretty much against, regardless of what I might think), I thought it might be timely to address one issue I had using OS X on a smaller screened device. When I installed it on my MSI Wind, I set the Dock to auto-hide in order to gain more usable workspace from the 1024×600 display. However, I lost a very important item when I did that: my unread e-mail count.

Yes, I use Growl and sure I could simply mouse down to wake up the Dock, but I found another solution and it’s free. Mail Unread Menu is a 2.2MB plug-in for OS X 10.4 or better and I’m liking it so much that I’m using it on my MacBook Pro. It’s pretty simple in that it just shows the unread count of e-mail in my Mac menu bar, but aren’t the best solutions typically the simplest? You can customize which Mailboxes it monitors and the look of the unobtrusive icon as well. If you want a quick glance at the subject lines of unread messages, you can do that as well. All in all, a nice way to take advantage of screen real estate, plus I get the rare opportunity to show that I’m all caught up on my e-mail. See that zero in the screen shot above?

MoreemailUpdate: That was quick. No sooner did I hit publish when e-mail arrived. Hey at least you get to see the icon when there’s mail waiting.



if you use gmail as your main provider, i recommend mailplane which has a similar menubar item

i know about imap, but mailplane is great for integrating drag and drop, gmail’s UI and without the slowness i experienced with apple mail IMAP

Chris Bulow

Ah, apologies, I read the article as you not hiding the Dock on the MacBook Pro, so wasn’t sure why you needed this app on there… :)

Kevin C. Tofel

Correct Chris. That’s what I was referring to when I said I could mouse down to the Dock. However, when auto-hiding the Dock you can’t see the unread count on the Mail icon without taking some action. That’s where this solution comes in handy. Especially on that 10-inch display I was using on my netbook, where screen space is limited.

Chris Bulow

On the MacBook Pro, the Preferences/General/Unread option gives you this anyway as a total overliad on the Mail icon in the Dock.

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