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Unset high priority flags for emails in Mail.app Apps
Many mail clients have the option of marking an outgoing message 'high priority' or 'urgent.' In Mail.app, such messages show up in the Inbox with two exclamation marks (!!) in the flags column. If you want to sort messages by the flags column, so that messages you flag yourself are at the top, all high priority messages you have ever received will also be at the top of the inbox.

Mail.app currently has no way of removing this flag from emails you have received (as noted in this Apple discussions thread.). The following shell script allows you to unset the priority status of all the emails you have ever received, so that no emails in your inbox have '!!' next to them any more:
sqlite3 ~/Library/Mail/'Envelope Index' 'update messages set flags = flags | 196608 where flags & 196608 != 196608;'
You can save this as an AppleScript by opening AppleScript Editor and entering the following:
do shell script "sqlite3 ~/Library/Mail/'Envelope Index' 'update messages set flags = flags | 196608 where flags & 196608 != 196608;'"
Save this and run it whenever you get High Priority emails (check out FastScripts to make this easy) to make them normal priority again, so that you can flag what you think is important instead of the sender.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. This has been an annoyance about Mail so it's nice to have a way to fix it.]
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Unset high priority flags for emails in Mail.app | 9 comments | Create New Account
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Unset high priority flags for emails in Mail.app
Authored by: ipox on Feb 02, '11 08:23:21AM

Why don't you just create a smart mailbox and set it to look for flagged messages?

Contains <messages> that match <all> of the following conditions:

Message is Flagged
Message is not in Mailbox [Starred]
Message is not in Mailbox [All Mail]

(Starred and All Mail are Gmail IMAP folders that cause flagged messages to show up in triplicate if you only search for flags.)



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Unset high priority flags for emails in Mail.app
Authored by: Mac Berry on Feb 02, '11 12:49:26PM

How would that differentiate between messages flagged because they've been sent as high priority and those you've flagged yourself, which is what the hint is about?



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Unset high priority flags for emails in Mail.app
Authored by: Sesquipedalian on Feb 02, '11 04:21:45PM

It just does. Try it and see.



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Unset high priority flags for emails in Mail.app
Authored by: Mac Berry on Feb 03, '11 04:39:34AM

Wow, so it does! Brilliant. That's actually easier than the original hint, not that there's anything wrong with that either.



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Unset high priority flags for emails in Mail.app
Authored by: Sesquipedalian on Feb 02, '11 04:26:53PM

It's not explicit stated in the hint, but I had to restart Mail to see the changes reflected in Mail's interface.



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Unset high priority flags for emails in Mail.app
Authored by: BMarsh on Feb 02, '11 04:37:12PM

Just tested Flagged messages vs High Priority Messages, they are different filter criteria for Smart MailBoxes

so my smart mailbox for Flagged Messages, does not show High Priority Messages

and I was able to make a second Smart Mailbox to just show High Priority Messages (which same as the inbox shows the number of unread messages within it)



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Unset high priority flags for emails in Mail.app
Authored by: giulio on Feb 02, '11 09:09:44PM

This method is kinda brutish. I find that only a few senders abuse the priority setting. The real way to fix this is to use Content Filtering on your mail server. You can target the individual offending senders.

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Unset high priority flags for emails in Mail.app
Authored by: asmeurer on Feb 08, '11 08:28:34PM

The priority flag is completely useless. Not only does it rely on good faith, but it is completely backwards. I am not, in general, the one to decide how important my email is to someone else.

I like much better gmail's important email solution, where it uses a content filter that works in principle similar to the spam filter to sort out potentially important emails. If you use gmail, I would recommend checking it out. And it's pretty easy to integrate it with Mail however you like, since gmail just creates an IMAP folder called "Important" that contains all unread important emails.



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Unset high priority flags for emails in Mail.app
Authored by: bspline2k on Jun 02, '12 02:27:27AM
This hint still works in Lion, but the appropriate Envelope Index file has moved to ~/Library/Mail/V2/MailData.

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