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How to Manually Check for New eMail in Mail for Mac with a Keyboard Shortcut

Mail app icon

The Mail app for Mac will automatically check email accounts for new mail, and with a little customization you can even adjust how often it refreshes and checks for new emails as well. 

Those settings work fine for many users, but another option is to manually refresh and force a check for new email by pressing a keyboard shortcut. This causes the Mail app in Mac OS X (or macOS) to contact the email servers and retrieve any new mail instantly. 


The keystroke to refresh email on the Mac Mail app is really simple, it’s Command + Shift + N

As long as you’re in the Mail app inbox view, hitting Command + Shift + N will refresh email accounts and attempt to get all new emails that may be waiting on the mail servers.

Keystroke to Get All New Email in Mail for Mac with: Command + Shift + N

Check new email on Mac

Note that the Shift key is particularly necessary, if you just hit Command + N you’ll create a new email message in Mail app rather than check for new Mail. Use the complete key combo to get the desired effect.

Force Check All New Mail on Mac from Mailbox Menu

If you prefer to use menu items instead, there is also a force-check new mail option within the menu bar options of Mail for Mac OS:

  1. Open the Mail app if you haven’t done so already and go to the Mailbox primary screen
  2. Pull down the “Mailbox” menu and choose “Get All New Mail” 
Get all new email on Mac Mail

This instantly checks all email accounts for new mail as well, as it is tied to the keystroke function we outlined a moment ago.

Use whatever method you prefer, they’re the same, and work regardless of how many email accounts you have setup within the Mail app for Mac. Whether it’s a single email account or ten, the “Get All New Mail” option will check every one of them for new messages.

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