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Feeling the (Mail) squeeze in Mojave

My new iMac runs Mojave; my old iMac never moved off High Sierra, which I felt was a fine version of macOS. Now that I have no choice but to use Mojave full time (I have it on my laptop for work purposes), I'm finding some annoying changes. Amongst those annoyances, this one is—by far—the most annoying…

That's a set of messages in Mail, as viewed in Classic View mode (using San Francisco Display at 15pt on both Macs).

Somewhere in Apple, someone thought it'd be a great idea to reduce the line spacing in Mail—only when using Classic View, which is my forever-preferred view. Maybe they're doing this to force us to upgrade to the modern view?

Whatever the reason for the change, it's created an absolutely horrid user experience. As you can see in the above image, nine lines now fit in the space that used to display roughly seven. And this is a small sample size—with a big Mail window on a 27" screen, the message list window is incredibly crowded and hard to read—much like this paragraph.

Please, someone, tell me there's a hidden pref for line spacing in Mojave's Mail Classic View? If not, well, come on, Apple, give me back my whitespace!

Update: The compacted line height bothered me so much that I tested every font in my collection tonight, trying to find one with better vertical spacing. Thankfully, vertical spacing does vary by font, though most of mine were way too tight. But in the end, I found one that works for me: Sukhumvit Set Medium at at 15pt size. Here's the screenshot from above, but with Sukhumvit added in:

This font is bundled with macOS, to the best of my knowledge—it's an iOS font, and I imagine macOS includes it (along with other iOS fonts) so that Marzipan apps will work as expected. But who knows—maybe it's installed with Xcode. Whatever the reason, this font is a near-perfect replacement for San Francisco. It's not quite as crisp and clean, but the line spacing is much more to my liking. (It's actually a smidge more than I had in High Sierra, but not so tall as to look weird.)

9 thoughts on “Feeling the (Mail) squeeze in Mojave”

  1. Wow! Thank you Rob. I haven't migrated any of my main machines to Mojave yet, but I'll remember this for when I do.

  2. AHA! I found it. I started through my fonts and first found Alps but then I found it!!! >>>>>>>>> ARIAL UNICODE MS (size 13 or 14). I wish it were a touch less black, but it's really very good.

  3. Thanks for this Rob, I was in exactly the same camp - moving to Mojave from High Sierra, using Classic View in Mail. The line spacing is painful. Sukhumvit does the job, but why was is broken it in the first place?

  4. I can find Sukhumvit Set Medium at 14 point, but not 15 point. It’s simply not an option. Any suggestions? 2014 MacBook Pro, with 27 inch thunderbolt monitor.

    1. Jimmy:

      You can type in the font size box, so just type "15" there, and you're set.


        1. You can't click in this box in Mail in Mojave?

          That's ... odd, as that's the standard font panel, used across most apps.

          I don't know what to offer at this point; that box should be clickable.


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