Biff in Dock on Mac OS X (show new mails in icon)



18 years ago
10 years ago


(Reporter:, Assigned: peterv)


Mac OS X

Firefox Tracking Flags

(Not tracked)


(Whiteboard: Thunderbird.3)


(2 attachments, 2 obsolete attachments)



18 years ago
Mac OS X's has a nice little feature that changes the application's
icon in the Dock when you have new mail (a little red circle with the number of
new messages shows up in the upper right corner of the icon).

I don't know how this is done, but it would be a nice touch for Mozilla to do
the same kind of thing.

Comment 1

18 years ago
Assignee: asa → pinkerton
Component: Browser-General → XP Apps: GUI Features
QA Contact: doronr → jrgm
uh, i'm not a mail guy.
Assignee: pinkerton → ducarroz

Comment 3

18 years ago
Marking NEW.
Ever confirmed: true
Summary: Biff in Dock on Mac OS X → [RFE] Biff in Dock on Mac OS X

Comment 5

18 years ago
Hope this helps slightly.

This is for Cocoa; I'm not sure if this is applicable to Carbon too. An article
at Stepwise has some good info on Docklings that we might be able to use too.

Can we come up with a more descriptive summary for this bug? Perhaps something
along the lines of, "Dock icon image should change to display unread messages
when mail received" or something?

- Adam

Comment 6

18 years ago
Please note that the colon (:) has to be part of the link. Bugzilla isn't doing

- Adam


17 years ago
Blocks: 102998
I have some code that allow me to draw an image on the top of the dock icon,
however, I have trouble to draw text (number of new message). For some reason, I
cannot change the font face or font size!

Comment 8

17 years ago
When I filed this request, what I had in mind was that the icon be updated with
an image that indicated whether you have new mail (such as an envelope icon that
appears on top of the icon). I don't think it's necessary to tell the user the
number of new messages.
To biff a user is to tell them that they have new mail.  Xbiff does this with a
2-state icon of a mailbox, one with the flag down, one with the flag up.

I use and the number is usually too much information.  For one, it
tends to oscillate as filters are applied.  I suppose that's just poor
implementation though.  The only time I use the number is when I send to a
mailing list and there is then exactly 1 unread message - that's the one I sent.
In every other case I just need to know that mail has arrived.

The bigger issue for doing a number on Mozilla's icon, say 12, is "12 whats?"
Mozilla is a multi-purpose app. A 12 on is clearly 12 new Mails.  A 12
on Mozilla could, in theory, mean 12 downloads in progress, 12 unsaved composer
windows, or something else.

James's envelope icon is a good one, though I suppose someone might have theme
issues with that.


17 years ago
Target Milestone: --- → mozilla1.0


17 years ago
Keywords: nsbeta1

Comment 10

17 years ago
Bugs targeted at mozilla1.0 without the mozilla1.0 keyword moved to mozilla1.0.1 
(you can query for this string to delete spam or retrieve the list of bugs I've 
Target Milestone: mozilla1.0 → mozilla1.0.1


17 years ago
Keywords: nsbeta1 → nsbeta1-
Target Milestone: mozilla1.0.1 → mozilla1.2

Comment 11

17 years ago
Since Mozilla is more than just a mail app, there are probably other things we can indicate via 
the dock icon.

Comment 12

17 years ago
Omniweb displays a green "lightning arrow" when a bookmark has been updated. (A
number superimposed on top of the arrow indicates multiple updates.)

Comment 13

17 years ago
How about a number on top of an envelope to indicate the number of mail
messages?  (Granted, I'd be happy with new mail notification of any kind, but
the number would be a nice addition as well.)

Comment 14

17 years ago
Removing status as blocker for 102998
No longer blocks: 102998
*** Bug 135247 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***


16 years ago
Summary: [RFE] Biff in Dock on Mac OS X → Biff in Dock on Mac OS X

Comment 16

16 years ago
*** Bug 177593 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 180891 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Comment 18

16 years ago
Changed summary to make it easier for Mac users to find it (most don't know what
'biff' is)
Summary: Biff in Dock on Mac OS X → Biff in Dock on Mac OS X (show new mails in icon)

Comment 19

16 years ago
See Bug 180891 for an implementation suggestion where the user can indicate what
is desired to see.


16 years ago
Keywords: mozilla1.3

Comment 20

16 years ago
It appears that no activity has occured on this bug since November. Can anyone
let us MacOSX users know if this bug might be resolved in the near future?

Comment 21

16 years ago
This is a problem for IRIX users too, and is a feature that was in Netscape 4.X.
I think it likely applies to many, if not all, platforms/OSes - would someone
mind changing this to All/All?

Any chance someone could 'put this feature back'?


Comment 22

15 years ago
Is anybody currently working on this bug? Surely there is a programmer out there
who considers this an important feature to be missing from an email application.
I have no programming experience, but I will be glad to assist in anyway I can.

Comment 23

15 years ago
I'll put this in my list as I'd like to have this for thunderbird but I don't
own a Mac so I won't be able to actually work on it.

We already have plumbing in place for platform specific biff notifications. Note:

Should be trivial to make a OSX only file which bounces the dock when new mail
as arrived.
Assignee: ducarroz → scott
Keywords: mozilla1.3, nsbeta1-
Whiteboard: Thunderbird.3
Target Milestone: mozilla1.2alpha → mozilla1.6alpha

Comment 24

15 years ago
I'm not sure what the Apple guidelines say about it, but bouncing the Dock might
not be the appropriate behavior. Probably changing the icon would be
better--that's what the built-in application does.

Comment 25

15 years ago
I haven't read the AHIG on this, but I think you are only supposed to bounce the
doc when a user's immediate attention is needed. Obviously (i'm sure someone
would disagree with this statement thoug) new mail arriving does not fall under
the realm of "requiring the user's immediate attention." And a simple new
messages counter on top of the icon (i.e. like is the best solution.

Also I agree that there is no point in trying to get this into the Mozilla Suite
so late in the game and Thunderbird is a better target. So should the product
above be changed to Thunderbird? It still says Browser.

Comment 26

15 years ago
What you want to do is badge the app's Dock icon with the count of unread mail
(which is what this bug originally requested) so that it's visible yet
unobtrusive.  You'd only bounce the Dock if you had a preference the user could
set requesting that on new mail.  And if you do add that, _puhleeze_ make it off
by default. :-)

Comment 27

15 years ago
I agree that if bouncing in the dock is not set as a default it should at least
be an option. For many people in business receiving notification of new mail is
something that requires immediate attention. As far as the icon showing a count
of new emails, that will not really be helpful until Thunderbird ignores
messages automatically sent to the junk folder. I don't want Thunderbird to
notify me that I have two new messages, just to find out they were both placed
in the junk mail folder.

Comment 28

15 years ago
Right. And if you have hiding on for the Dock, you'll never see the numbers
change on the icon. This is what drives me nuts about I actually like
the dock bouncing (unlike a lot of people, apparently) because the icon
animation will be visible even if the Dock is hidden.

I'd like to see this as an option as well. 

Comment 29

15 years ago
Since introducing an option to bounce the Dock will likely be more complicated
than simply implementing the feature requested in this bug (changing the Dock
icon to indicate new mail), perhaps those people who want the Dock-bouncing
feature should file a separate enhancement request.

Comment 30

15 years ago
regarding comment 27, in it only shows the number of unread messages in
the Inbox. If messages have been moved to other folders (i.e. Junk), they are
not included in the unread message count. Ideally thunderbird would handle it
the same way.

Comment 31

15 years ago
Please no! I can't stand that feature in I have mail that gets
filtered to various folders. Just because it's filtered, doesn't mean that it's
not unread. I definitely would want filtered messages to count towards the
total. Junk, however, should be ignored.

Comment 32

15 years ago
*** Bug 226457 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Comment 33

15 years ago
*** Bug 232986 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Comment 34

15 years ago
See also bug 217448, which has a patch to implement Dock icon bouncing for

Comment 35

15 years ago
Created attachment 147389 [details]

I've had some code that does this for a while now, but I've never been entirely
happy with it. I'm attaching my version of nsMessengerOSXIntegration.cpp, maybe
I'll find some time to tweak it soon or it might give someone else a starting

Comment 36

15 years ago
Created attachment 147390 [details]
Screenshot of my dock icon with new mails badge

Comment 37

15 years ago
actually we just implemented this last night for Thunderbird. I haven't landed
it on the trunk yet. But we aren't drawing the number in yet just placing a
badge icon over the dock icon. That's too funny.

Comment 38

15 years ago
Great, as usual no clue in the bug about the work being done on the birds :-P.
My version does draw the number *and* it works in the suite, are you planning to
implement the drawing of the number too?

Comment 39

15 years ago
Speaking from a business perspective as someone who constantly fields requests
from users wanting better notification on OS X.....

1.  Notification on the icon is good, but the transparent background shown in
the screenshot is too subtle - it needs to be a bright colour.  That gets your
attention that there IS MAIL with a glance, without having to focus on reading
the icon to see the number.  The number should be there, but with a red
background like uses, for example.

2.  Mozilla suite, please!  I'm not ready to migrate away from the suite, and
this should surely be implemented there for OS X like it is for Windows.

3.  Bouncing the dock icon is a good *option* to have, as many users at my site
want blatant notification (e.g. a big modal dialogue that you have to dismiss is
what they ask for, really).  The dock bounce should be user-selectable among
Once, Continuously, and None, with None being the default setting.  (iChat does
this, and the various settings are useful depending on the situation).

Thanks, we appreciate the hard work greatly.  

Comment 40

14 years ago
If you want to badge the icon with the number of unread emails, please follow
the Mac OS X style and do it with a bright red star.

There's sample code from Apple to illustrate. DockBrowser
( comes with
the appropriate PNG images and some code to do the drawing (see DockBrowser.c's
also note that it's not a one-size-fits-all image, but a group where the
selected image depends on how many items there are (up to 5 digit numbers handled).

Comment 42

14 years ago
Created attachment 158615 [details] [diff] [review]

I based it on Apple's code and reused the images (dropped the ATSUI code since
it was more trouble and it didn't look very good).
The change in nsImapMailFolder.cpp is necessary to get notification when the
new message count changes. As it is now, if I have one new message and a new
one arrives we call SetNumNewMessages(1) and nsMsgDBFolder::SetNumNewMessages
compares the new count to the old count (both are 1) and so we don't notify. I
haven't found any explanation of what the semantics of SetNumNewMessages are,
but the code as it's written seems to indicate it wants the total of the new
messages in the folder.
There's one thing left, I don't know how to differentiate biff from non-biff
notifications (GetPerformingBiff always returned true for my IMAP account) so
the code currently always overlays the icon with the number of new messages,
even if the users did a manual "Get Messages". I find that behaviour to be ok,
not sure what other people think.


14 years ago
Assignee: mscott → peterv
Attachment #147389 - Attachment is obsolete: true

Comment 43

14 years ago
Comment on attachment 158615 [details] [diff] [review]

Trying to get some feedback on this approach.Note that the pref doesn't have UI
Attachment #158615 - Flags: superreview?(mscott)
Attachment #158615 - Flags: review?(bienvenu)

Comment 44

14 years ago
Created attachment 158617 [details]
Screenshot of my dock icon with new mails badge
Attachment #147390 - Attachment is obsolete: true

Comment 45

14 years ago
(In reply to comment #43)
> (From update of attachment 158615 [details] [diff] [review])
> Trying to get some feedback on this approach.Note that the pref doesn't have UI
> yet.

This looks good.  I agree that 'number of new messages' is 'number of new
messages' regardless of whether they arrived while minimised or when doing a
'Get Msgs'.  Sometimes you just want to look at the dock icon and say, 'Now, how
many messages do I have?'.  

Would be nice if 'Junk' were excluded, but whatever...

Referring back to older comments (man, has this bug been hanging out forever),
the bounce-icon-in-dock would be a nice additional feature if it were a separate
option from the graphical biff, AND were off by default.  The graphical biff as
you're showing it should be ON by default.

Good job.  When will this be in a release?  Or a nightly?
Product: Core → Mozilla Application Suite
Any chance for this to be implemented for 1.5 ?
Target Milestone: mozilla1.6alpha → Future

Comment 47

13 years ago
Comment on attachment 158615 [details] [diff] [review]

clearing some old review requests. We added this a long time ago.
Attachment #158615 - Flags: superreview?(mscott)
Attachment #158615 - Flags: review?(bienvenu)

Comment 48

13 years ago
Did we actually add _this_ patch? As of 1.06, we have a dock biff with a green circle that only shows the number of fetched emails. I don't recall it being any different for 1.5. This patch, IIRC, was to show the _total_ number of new messages, and to use the red starburst.

Comment 49

13 years ago
cc Kairo

Comment 50

12 years ago
I see this has made it into Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X Mach-O; en-US; rv:1.8.1b2) Gecko/20060819 SeaMonkey/1.1a.   VERY NICE.  :)

However, I have "Animate the dock icon" set and the dock icon does not bounce when new mail arrives.  It should, right?  As noted previously, the animate option is important for those who hide the dock.

As an aside, the biff gets prematurely(?) cleared along with the green arrows under the conditions of bug 344066.  For the biff, this is probably not a bad thing, particularly if it is bouncing.  Wonder if there's some way the bounce could be stopped once the new mail is somehow acknowledged.  (Any sort of click in mail-news?)

Comment 51

12 years ago
I have seen the Dock Icon bounce now, but I can't reproduce making it bounce.  The vast bulk of the time, it doesn't.  (OS X 10.4.7, PPC)

Comment 52

12 years ago
Resolve worksforme per comment 50. This bug is only for the biff functionality. Making the dock bounce and premature clearing of the signal are outside the scope of this bug.
Last Resolved: 12 years ago
Resolution: --- → WORKSFORME

Comment 53

12 years ago
Which version of SeaMonkey will have this fix?

Comment 54

12 years ago
(In reply to comment #53)
> Which version of SeaMonkey will have this fix?

Every version starting with 1.1 Alpha, which will be released in the next few days (note that this is an Alpha, a testing version, no final, stable release yet).


10 years ago
Component: XP Apps: GUI Features → UI Design
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