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To test that out, why not move that Preference to your desktop and give it another extension. Then run a test.

Well, I tried it -- searched for, moved it to the desktop, started Mail... Apart from changing the layout of my Mail window (upon cursory inspection only), it didn't do much else, and it didn't change the behavior of mail composition defaulting to iCloud. [sigh]

I restored my old preferences. (OTOH, maybe that was the wrong preferences file.)

FWIW, disabling the iCloud account temporarily merely set the default mail account for all of my On My Mac mailboxes to yet another seldom-used account. So it's not Apple trying to force me to use iCloud mail; it's just ML Mail not sticking to the correct "Account of selected mailbox" selection.

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