How to Turn off Mail Animations in Mac OS X Lion

How to Turn off Mail Animations in Mac OS X LionI’m probably one of the very few power users who still relies on a desktop email client — that comes with Mac OS X, to be exact.

For years, I’ve been using Mail to connect to my Exchange 2007 account — despite the various problems that always seem to ensue (like the inbox failing to update without a manual rebuild, or having to open the mail activity monitor via Option+Command+0 to kill zombie mail processes).

I keep hoping that Apple will improve the best desktop email experience I can find for Exchange interactivity (and, no, Microsoft is still producing a bucket of fail with its Outlook product for the Mac). I never seem to have any issues with the iOS client — but that stability has yet to translate to the desktop Mail app.

Either way, I am always interested in software revisions that bring with them new features and functionality. When I first opened the Lion mail client, my first instinct was to revert to a “classic” view. Some people like the new interface experience, but I find it a bit too spartan for the desktop.

Then, I tried to find the option that doesn’t exist on the surface: Turn Off Animations in Mail.

There is no direct toggle, no switch to flip, and no checkbox to invert. With every single reply, I found myself growing increasingly annoyed. I’d open up a message, watch it animate to the last position on my desktop, then fire up through the menu bar at the top of the screen when I hit Send. That was cute the first time, but not after my fourth reply.

I crowdsourced the question, since the information had yet to surface on any Mac blog. Then, an hour later, a community member by the name of Adrian emailed me with this Terminal tweak:

defaults write DisableReplyAnimations -bool YES

After pasting that into the command line, hitting Enter, then restarting Mail, the superfluous animations were gone. This has been a sanity saver, and I knew had to be blogged for your future reference.