How to reset Font & Colors Settings in Apple Mail
A few weeks ago, I changed the default font settings in Apple Mail (Mail > Preferences > Fonts & Colors) to experiment with a different look. After changing the font around a bit, I realized that it’s not possible to restore the default font, San Francisco (referred to as “System Font”). After digging through some configuration files, I found out how to restore the default font without resetting the Mail app in its entirety.
The following steps may require an administrator account. This method has only been tested on macOS Catalina.
- Download Xcode from the Mac App Store (you can delete it after)
- In Finder, in the menu bar, select Go > Go to Folder…
- Type or paste
~/Library/Containers/com.apple.mail/Data/Library/Preferencesthen press Go
- Create a copy of
com.apple.mail.plistand rename it to
com.apple.mail.plist.old(this will serve as a backup)
com.apple.mail.plistto a directory that you have full permissions to such as your Desktop
- Use Command + F to find all instances of the word “font”
- Hover over each row containing “font” and press the minus (-) button to delete it
- If you delete something else by mistake, use Command + Z to undo
- Save the file, then move it back to its original location (if you closed the window, repeat steps 1-3)
All the erased lines should be recreated by macOS with their default values and the “System Font” option should be restored. If something goes wrong, repeat steps 1-3, delete
com.apple.mail.plist, and rename
Feel free to ask questions below.
Edited 5/10/21 to improve clarity.