Fix missing ‘New Message’ sound in Mail after upgrading to OS X 10.10.3

MailIconYosemiteXWhen you receive messages in Mail, you have the option of sounding an audio alert so you know new messages have arrived. However, after upgrading to OS X 10.10.3, you might find yourself in a situation where despite Mail otherwise operating normally, the alert sound you choose will not play, or may not play at all times. While not a problem that will affect the use of your Mac, it does put you at a slight inconvenience if you have grown accustomed to this sound for checking your mail.

If this is happening to you, then check whether or not you have Do Not Disturb enabled in Yosemite’s Notification Center. The issue here might very well be that even though Mail’s alert sound is not a windowed notice, per se, it is tied to notification center and will only sound if Mail sends a notice through notification center.

You can enable Do Not Disturb in several ways, and even set up a schedule that will effectively disable notification center altogether; however, it seems that if you do, then you will also affect the audio alerts of some programs that use it. To quickly test whether or not this is the case for your system, use one of the following methods to toggle Do Not Disturb:

  1. Hold the Option key and click the Notification Center menu.
  2. Open Notification Center, scroll up, and then use the toggle button to enable it.

With either of these done, ensure your system’s audio volume is not muted, and then either wait for a new Mail message, or send yourself a test message, and see whether or not the alert sound plays.

Beyond adjusting Notification Center’s behavior, try toggling the various sound settings in the General section of Mail’s General preferences, which will force the program to re-write its preferences and possibly get Mail’s audio alerts going again.

Custom sound rule in OS X Mail

Create a new rule like this, that lists your accounts and will run if “any” of the conditions are met, and then performs the action of playing the desired sound.

Finally, if you cannot seem to overcome this issue, you can bypass Mail’s use of Notification Center for alerts by creating a rule that will sound an alert whenever a new message arrives. To do this, create a new rule that will run if “any” conditions are true, and then add a list of your accounts as the list of conditions for the rule. Then set the action to “Play Sound” and choose your desired sound.

Thanks to MacIssues reader Chris for writing in about this fix!

17 thoughts on “Fix missing ‘New Message’ sound in Mail after upgrading to OS X 10.10.3

  1. 8-bit

    Disabling Do Not Disturb will also restore the send mail “swooosh” and the get mail (no new mail) sound as well.

  2. Meta Neuschuler

    I’ve noticed that since upgrading, I’ll get the notification in the upper right corner, but no sound until some time later. I’ve tried your fixes, hoping that’ll make things right again. {:)

  3. forkboy1965

    I have not yet upgraded to Yosemite and here we are in 10.10.3 and this issue, new wi-fi issues, etc. Maybe Apple needs to spend some time and money on OS X instead of iPhones and watches.

  4. darrenoia

    I wonder if this is related to an older Mail issue where a lot of people found that the “Send” sound wouldn’t work. I can’t remember the fix, but it’s plaguing me again now too.

  5. Marc

    This fixed the problem I was having. Thanks very much for the information. It’s an obvious solution in retrospect because I use an external monitor with my MacBook Pro at my desk. Normally you don’t want notifications and alerts popping up during a presentation. I just didn’t think about the notification center until I read your post.

  6. Japonica

    I have been to hell and back trying to solve this issue so was happy to read of this work-around. The new rule works, but the sound is not heard for 77 seconds after the email arrives in my inbox.

  7. Japonica

    Update to my last post: The sound actually only occurs when I SEND a message, not receive one. I hear it in addition to the “whoosh” send. So the problem has still not been fixed!

    1. thepalm52

      Same here. I here the sound and then the whoosh. Irritating. Been working on this for an hour or so using every possible configuration and gotten no where. Should call this release of OS El Crapitan.

  8. Nora

    Like Japonica, adding a rule causes an additional sound to play whenever I send a message. There is still no new message notification sound.

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