Preview a URL Directly in Mail for Mac OS X

Apr 17, 2012 - 10 Comments

Mail app icon Everyone gets emails filled with links, but what do you do when an incoming message includes a potentially dubious URL that you aren’t quite so sure about? Rather than crossing your fingers and blindly clicking the link to open in the default web browser, try this tip out to get a preview of the URL directly in the Mail app of Mac OS X.

Get a Link Preview in Mail for Mac OS X

  1. Open an email containing a link if you haven’t done so already
  2. Hover over the URL within the mail message until you see the grey box with a triangle in it
  3. Click the little grey box to open the URL in Quick Look

Quick Look a URL from Mail app in OS X

Clicking on that loads the web sites URL in a side window, like this:

Preview Websites in Mail app for OS X

The URL in question will render within a self contained Quick Look frame. This allows you to see and scroll through the website in question without actually loading it into a web browser, making it a perfect solution for quickly sorting through groups of link heavy emails or those special emails from your uncle.

Similar Quick Look features exist elsewhere in native OS X apps, even in the Finder and in Spotlight menu results.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Jens Rügge says:

    does not work with all links !

  2. […] this URL preview feature keeps the website from appearing in any sort of standard web browsing history or caches, and can be […]

  3. JP Detroit says:

    I’ve been reading conflicting answers to this online. Some “experts” are sure there’s no way QuickLook follows the links in an email and is completely safe. Other pages say the opposite and there seems to be no consensus on it. Does anyone have a final definitive answer to whether QuickLook is a safe way to preview potentially dangerous links in emails?

  4. Sam says:

    This feature is also built into the Messages Beta App, for previewing links sent in an iMessage.

  5. me says:

    How to disable this little triangle ?
    The hovering of it seems to me dangerous onto spam email !

  6. adam says:

    Yes, just more quick, but not more secure…

  7. Jake says:

    Note that this will not be in any way more secure than browsing the website in Safari: QuickLook most probably uses the same engine to render the website as Safari does. So don’t do this for potentially dubious URLs, if you are concerned about security. It is quicker, though :)

  8. Paul says:

    Is the quick look feature enough for a website to install malicious software in the background?

  9. James says:

    It’s too bad iOS doesn’t do this, it needs it more than Mac OS X

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