How to Schedule Sending Emails on Mac with Automator

Sep 29, 2021 - 5 Comments

How to Schedule Sending Emails on Mac with Automator

Do you want to schedule emails to send at a later date from your Mac? This could come in handy if you often use reminders to send emails on time, whether it’s a birthday wish, a holiday greeting, anniversary, an email to a colleague, or whatever else you can imagine. Thanks to Automator on the Mac, you can schedule sending emails from the Mail app.

The stock Mail app that comes out of the box on iPhones, iPads, and Macs is widely preferred by users to keep themselves updated on their emails, whether it’s for work or personal use. Although it’s well integrated into the operating system regardless of what email service provider you use, the app lacks some advanced features like being able to schedule emails. However, with the built-in Automator app on the Mac, you can create custom workflows and quick actions to perform tasks that are otherwise not officially supported on macOS, and in this case we’ll be covering how you can setup email scheduling with the Mac Mail app by using Automator.

How to Schedule Emails from Mac with Automator

Automator can be a little daunting to new users, but if you follow the steps below carefully one by one you should be able to avoid any sort of confusion and get everything set up properly.

  1. Click on the Finder icon located in the Dock and head over to “Applications” from the left pane. Now, launch “Automator”. Alternatively, you can open Automator using Spotlight search by pressing Command + Space bar.

    How to Schedule Sending Emails on Mac with Automator
  2. Once the app launches, it will also open a pop-up window to let you select a document type. Choose “Workflow” to proceed.

    How to Schedule Sending Emails on Mac with Automator
  3. Next, select “Mail” located under Library on the left pane and then click on “New Mail Message” to get started.

    How to Schedule Sending Emails on Mac with Automator
  4. Now, you’ll be prompted to compose the email. Just type in the message you want to schedule and enter the email address you want to send it to.

    How to Schedule Sending Emails on Mac with Automator
  5. Once you’re done, click on “Send Outgoing Messages” from the left pane to add it to the workflow. Make sure it’s located below “New Mail Message” action.

    How to Schedule Sending Emails on Mac with Automator
  6. Now, you’ll need to save the custom workflow by heading over to File -> Save from the menu bar.

    How to Schedule Sending Emails on Mac with Automator
  7. This will open a small pop-up window on your screen. Give a suitable name and make sure your workflow file is stored under “Applications” on your Mac for easy access later on. Click on “Save” and then exit Automator.

    How to Schedule Sending Emails on Mac with Automator
  8. Next, open the native Calendar app on your Mac from the Dock. Head over to the date where you want to schedule the email and double-click on the date to create a New Event. You’ll get a pop-up. Now, click on “Add Alert” option as shown in the screenshot below.

    How to Schedule Sending Emails on Mac with Automator
  9. You’ll get access to more options. Click on “None” next to “alert” to bring up a dropdown menu.

    How to Schedule Sending Emails on Mac with Automator
  10. Next, choose “Custom” which is located at the bottom of the dropdown menu.

    How to Schedule Sending Emails on Mac with Automator
  11. You’ll get another pop-up now. Here, click on “Message with sound” to access yet another dropdown menu.

    How to Schedule Sending Emails on Mac with Automator
  12. Choose “Open file” to use a custom file for that alert. In this case, we’ll be using the workflow file we created in Automator.

    How to Schedule Sending Emails on Mac with Automator
  13. After you select “Open file”, you need to click on the “Calendar” option as shown below to proceed.

    How to Schedule Sending Emails on Mac with Automator
  14. Now, choose “Other” to continue.

    How to Schedule Sending Emails on Mac with Automator
  15. This will allow you to browse for the custom workflow file. Remember, you stored your workflow file in “Applications” earlier. So, head to the directory and click on the “Schedule Email” file to select it.

    How to Schedule Sending Emails on Mac with Automator
  16. Now, click on “OK” in the Calendar app’s pop-up menu and you’re all set.

    How to Schedule Sending Emails on Mac with Automator

There you go. You’ve finally managed to schedule an email on your Mac using Automator. Nice, right?

As you can see, it’s actually not that hard to create a custom email scheduling workflow in Automator. And adding it as a Calendar event is a neat trick too (by the way, you can actually launch apps and open files based on schedules with Calendar app on Mac too, check that out if it interests you). Assuming you followed along, you should get the hang of it and have the process nailed down.

Now that you’re done with the procedure, you need to keep one very important thing in mind. The scheduled email will only be sent if your Mac is turned on and awake at the specified Calendar event time. This is the one downside to this workaround, apart from the potential complexity.

In addition to creating your own workflows, Automator can also be used to create custom Quick Actions on your Mac in a similar way. For example, you could create a Quick Action that instantly resizes an image stored on your Mac with just a couple of clicks. There is so much you can do with the Automator app once you get an idea of how it works.

If this procedure was too complicated for you to consider repeating this on a regular basis, you may want to look at third-party email clients like Spark that are available on the Mac App Store to schedule emails. If you use a Google account, you can easily schedule emails using the Gmail web app too.

The Shortcuts app offers some similar automation functionality too, but to a much more limited extent on Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

Are you planning on using Automator to schedule emails on your Mac? What are your thoughts on this workaround? Have you used the Automator app for anything else before? Do you think Apple should add native support for email scheduling and catch up with the competition? Let us know your valuable opinions and experiences in the comments section down below.

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Posted by: Hamlin Rozario in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks

5 Comments

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  1. Julie Zimmer says:

    these directions, and others with Automator, left me hanging at the last step. When it navigated to Applications folder it was empty. The app folder on my dock is not empty.
    My colleagues on PCs using Microsoft software seem to think this is easy as pie.
    Really, MAC and gmail MAIL – can’t you get this to work for average users?

  2. Richard says:

    OK, but Monterey is about to launch – how do you do this in Shortcuts which replaces Automator? I can’t get it to work!

    • Opinionated Orc says:

      Shortcuts is very limited, it’s no Automator replacement.

      Automator is amazing, really a shame Apple got rid of the guy who built it and EOL’d a power user tool like Automator.

  3. DZ says:

    Scheduling emails should be tied to Birthdays in Calendar, too

  4. Jim Roberts says:

    Should scheduling be a feature of Mail? Hell, yeah! Why it isn’t already is a mystery.

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