How to get rid of the _You have mail_ Unix message!

How to get rid of the “You have mail” Unix message (2020 Update)

Most Linux and Unix users have issues with unwanted code and ask for assistance on how to remove the “you have mail”unix message on their interface. In the process of using Unix or Linux on the command line, you may have encountered difficulties on how to remove the “You have mail” unix message. It can be met on Linux servers or on local desktop environments, such as Mac OS X. While somewhat alarming and confusing, especially the first time, this is generally a reasonably trivial message and easy to remove. This post will look at what the *nix mail application does, and how you can remove the “new mail” message from OS X.

How to get rid of the "You have mail" Unix message

What is Mail?

Mail is the built-in email client for Unix and Unix-based operating systems, to be used directly from the command line. Its origins dating back as far as 1978, this application was one of the first email clients, distributed as part of the first research version of Unix released. The app allows for checking and sending an email directly from the command line:

echo “How about 1pm?” | mail -s “Let’s get lunch today” Contact@help.com.

The above command will send an email with the content of “How about 1pm?” and a subject of “Let’s get lunch today” to Contact@help.com.
To check for mail, you can enter: mail

If there is new mail, the application will display a list of the emails, their subject, date, and other info, mostly like a proto-email inbox:

What is Mail?If there is no new mail, the command line will read “No mail for [user],” where [user] is the name of your computer system or server.

Why Use Email Client?

Both mail commands are capable of guiding users on how to remove the “you have mail” unix message. Users of Linux and Unix find using this process more straightforward to use when sending emails across other users. From the user’s perspective, reading, shipping, and deleting emails all become more user-friendly. Users who choose to send emails through Mail command gain more functionality when composing to other users. The additional customizations options are numerous; this includes better access to the body of the text in the file, convenience when sending to multiple contacts, faster cc and bcc use, concise “from address” forms, simplicity of file attaching, and better viewing format for users.

The Ease of Using Mail Command for Automated Script

Also, users use the tool for easier email management. As a result, users attach shortcut keys to the program to better navigate through their emails and locate files faster than when using default email software. For instance, the mail command has beneficial qualities when users write automated scripts. Automation scripts have launch points, variables with corresponding binding values, and source codes. From the use of helpful wizard plug-ins, users can operate automated scripts in two ways. Ideally, users will create texts and launch points to develop their automated scripts. Another way is to create a launch point that associates the launch point with an already existing writing.

Examples of Automated Script

For example, a user writes an automated script for weekly backups on an oracle database. Reasonably, it would be time-saving and useful if users immediately knew the status of the weekly backups and whether it has succeeded or failed in storing processed information. In this case, a simple email sent from the automated script at the end of the backup will clearly communicate to other users the status of that transfer file in a helpful way.

Users and Library Scripts

Subsequently, users also develop library scripts. As an alternative to preparing original automated scripts, library scripts are reusable pieces of programming language that automation scripts can use to from code. Furthermore, users might recognize the “.a file” extension after compiling multiple files. As a benefit, this particular extension predefines functions from other applications with different features, lists, user-defined types, and constants. On a side note, users may also recognize libraries related to vendors known as Application Program Interfaces (API).

Linux Versus Unix


Understandably, the two software run similar functions, but others prefer one over the other. Difference wise, Unix writes in “C” programming for  quicker modification, acceptance, and portability. At the same time, Linux software design enables applications and users to access the devices on the computer to serve specific functions. More specifically, Linux OS transmits application instruction to computers processors which send out results back into the form on the application. And since the Linux OS is compatible with other technology, it can be installed on different types of computers, mobile devices, tablets, video game consoles, and more! However, the alternative Unix, also known as a proprietary operating system, works on Command Line Interface (CLI) and Graphic User Interface (GUI) to better assist users at well-know companies, universities, and enterprises.

Advantages of Using Linux OS Over Unix

When determining which program is best for its users, there is a list of factors that are worth evaluating. In brief, Linux OS outcompetes Unix through costs, community involvement, universally acceptance, more graphical user interfaces, fewer viruses, faster threat detection, multiple-platform accessibility, more portable, and offers universal source code. Linux will be the more friendly alternative to discover how to remove the “you have mail” Unix message.

Linux Limitations

Although there are many advantages to Linux, some features within the software are faulty. In this scenario, Linux lacks speech recognition, which means users are under strict typing only guidelines. Also, Audio-Video Interleaved (AVI) and Quicktime movies are not supported under Linux. Furthermore, UTF-8 encoding has been accepted throughout the program without the adaptability to read OpenGL texts. Lastly, the keyboard accelerator map uses a United States layout and have fixed positions of the keys.

Why is Mail Being Sent to the Operating System Email Client?

Not correctly and intentionally setting up mail as your primary email client will result in the “You have mail” message. It is most often an encounter when installing applications or other packages from the command line. Sometimes, software developers release their products with functions to update the system of a completed installation or relevant notes on the version. When there is new mail, this message will appear every time you open a new terminal window or log on into the system, which can get quite annoying.

Avoid Problems with Proper Installation

As mentioned before, not correctly setting up mail causes more issues to rise in the future. In the beginning, users must research, select, and download a Linux distribution. From their selection, additional tips include running a USB drive that contains a preview version of the operating system while installing built-in burning tools directly from the users device. Next, step two directs user’s to prioritize a live boot straight to the USB drive instead of the hard-drive by changing the computer settings. Importantly, users are to adjust boot menu preferences to avoid problematic errors in the future. Step three, users prevent risk by sampling the Linux distribution before installing.

Afterward, continue to step four and five, which are to install Linux, adjust options, languages, layouts, keyboard, and timezone and register login information. Finally, the remaining steps request that users set up and boot partitioning for dual booting purposes. If everything is in order, then users can run a hardware check and run Linux. Due to the user’s proactive approach, Linux becomes better equipped to run problem-free without unnecessary issues.

How to Add the Nix Package Manager in Linux

How to Add the Nix Package Manager in Linux

To begin, users must remove previous models of *nix before updating their model. All within this sequence, Linux users must develop users and groups that the Nix daemon uses. The daemon process will better address users on how to remove the “you have mail” unix message. Secondly, users download Nix files from the daemon. The user must provide the next step; this consists of configuring the shell to import distinct Nix profile files. Once the steps are completed, users should then start Nix daemon to begin removing unwanted codes, data, and irritating features from command.

What are the Processes for Linux?

Before continuing, Linux has three processes when running programs. In comparison, interactive, batch, and daemon processes perform similar functions but in different ways.

The Daemon Process

A “daemon” runs background processes like a computer program without user direction. As shown in the section “How to Add the Nix Package Manager in Linux,” a daemon installs, configures, or uninstalls products and packages.

The Batch Process

Continuing on, batch processes consist of running a series of programs without manually switching to different configurations. Similar to the daemon process, all selected data and commands translate to scripts or command-line parameters and therefore run to completion without human interaction. 

The Interactive Process

Moving on, interactive processes are also sessions. Rather than running automatically, interactive sessions prompt the user instead. In fact, users  will input data and commands manually while a single software operates the computer. Therefore, computer interactions continue from human workloads.

How *nix Will Help Linux Users

In most cases, relying on multiple software may enhance user’s functionality. Thankfully for *nix, which refers to Unix-like, the program behaves like Unix software but reacts well with Linux. Additionally, the term “nix” also means to destroy or kill. This equates to users being able to remove the “you have mail” Unix message of their email clients. Practically speaking, Linux users want to apply a function to remove stubborn codes in programs, rather than conforming to the Single Unix Specification. Due to the nix capability to run builds, updated models may misconfigure any script with a single stroke of the keyboard.

Removing With Extensions

Extensions offer users an improved quick solution to solving major and minor problems. For instance, users limit the spam and junk mail that collects in their inbox with extensions like “MAIL CHECK” In detail,  “Mail-check” outputs messages initially ran when activating the terminal. In reality, most users will create custom builds to develop untampered inbox’s and running better security extensions.

How to List Environmental Variables in Linux

Linux and Unix systems name certain values in applications. Based on values, users determine how the system behaves. For example, the environmental variable stores information on a text editor or browser. In this case, the environmental variable on the command line indicates  that there is active mail, however users can address how to remove the “you have mail” unix message or alters its name value.

Variable have the following format:


KEY=”Some other value”


Noticeably, variables follow strict criteria to work. Variables are case-sensitive and have uppercase names. Also, multiple variables require an assignment separated by colons (:). And, there are not spaces near or around the equal signs (=).

By distinction, value variables separate into two classifications. The two main categories are environmental variables and shell variables. Firstly, environmental variables are system-code available. This refers to their ability to work directly from shells and sub shells. Meanwhile, shell variables are variables that apply only to ongoing shell processes. For reference, “zsh” and “bash” each own their own collective set of internal shells. In Lunix, avaliable commands are “env,” “printenv,” “set,” “unset,” and “export.” However, most commonly used environmental variables include “user,” “mail,” “term,” “lang,” “path,”” lognam,” “path,” “shell,” “editor,” and “home.”


Remove the “You have mail” Message Process

To remove the “You have mail” message, open the Finder application, then select “Go to Folder…” from the “Go” dropdown menu (Shift + Command + G). From there, type in var/mail/[user], where [user] is the username of your system (in my case, air):

Remove the "You have mail" Message Process

(Note: The Finder says “The folder can’t be found” if  there is no new mail,)

Hit “Go,” and the Finder application should display a mail file in the mail directory, with your username as the filename.

Finder application should display a mail file in the mail directory

"You have mail" unix message display

Delete this file, empty your trash and open a new terminal window. You should have learned how to remove the “You have mail” unix message display. You can also verify this by entering mail, and it should display “No mail for [user].”As an alternative to the method above, you can also remove the mail file from the command line.
Navigate to your home directory (from any directory you’re in):

$ cd
Go back 2 directories to the root directory:
cd ../..
Go to the mail directory:
cd var/mail/

If you type “ls,” it should list the same mail file we removed from the Finder. To remove it, type rm [filename]. Make sure you are removing the right file, as there is no way to retrieve it from the Trash bin via this method.


In conclusion, Linux and Unix developers will improve their programming capabilities with the guidance of this article, “how to remove the “you have mail” unix message, combined with the applications of *nix. Regularly, programmers wish to remove embedded code on default pages, posts, and programs. However in this case,  the *nix application is a perfect setup for guiding developers and programmers through the process of removing the “you got mail” unix message. Subsequently, other plugins mentioned within this article that are compatible with the *nix program can guide users to customize other features or annoyances that are occurring on their mail clients. Furthermore, this feature opens up user work space to support better navigation through emails and offers more time with clients, rather than time fidgeting with a “you have mail” icon.

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One Comment

  • John December 8, 2019 at 12:46 am

    I’m curious about the last part, below:

    $ cd
    $ cd ../..
    $ cd var/mail/

    Why not just
    $ cd /var/mail