iOS email has matured from a simplistic way to check your email to a full desktop-class email client that lets you get real work done. Even if you use iOS Mail on a daily basis, you may have missed some of the hidden features that make email on this platform a real pleasure to use. These tips and tricks can save you time and provide you with extended functionality that will leave you wondering how you ever lived without it. Read on, and we'll show you how to get the most from your Mail experience on iOS.
1. Viewing only emails with attachments
With iOS 7, Apple introduced a new email mailbox called Attachments. In this mailbox, you can view all emails that only contain attachments. However, you must first enable this feature to use it. To enable the Attachments mailbox, open iOS Mail, and navigate to the listing of all Mailboxes. Once you're in this view, tap the Edit button, which will subsequently show you additional mailboxes that can be enabled. Check the option for Attachments (Figure A), and then tap the Done button.
Check the option for Attachments, and then tap Done.
Once this smart mailbox has been enabled, navigate back to the Mailboxes | Attachments mailbox to view all emails that only have attachments (Figure B). Messages in this view can be manipulated (viewed, deleted, responded to, etc.) just like emails originating in the Inbox.
View all emails that only have attachments.
2. Archiving emails
If you have a Gmail or Google Apps-based email account, then you certainly use the Archive feature of Gmail on a regular basis to help better manage email. For better or worse, this feature is also included in iOS mail, but did you know that you can toggle between the Delete button and the Archive button on an account-by-account basis?
To turn on or off the Archive feature for your Google-based accounts, navigate to Settings | Mail, Contacts, Calendars | your email account | Account | Advanced (Figure C). Once you're here, you can select either Deleted Mailbox or Archive Mailbox for the section with the heading Move Discarded Messages Into.
Turn on or off the Archive feature.
With the Deleted Mailbox option enabled, you'll be able to swipe from right to left on messages in the list view to Delete a message (Figure D). It also shows the Delete button in the message detail view.
The Deleted Mailbox option enabled.
However, if you have the Archive Mailbox feature enabled for your account, then going into the message detail view will show an Archive icon that, once clicked, will archive the email instead of delete it. If you still wish to delete the message instead, then tap and hold on the Archive icon and select Trash Message in the option sheet that appears (Figure E).
Select Trash Message.
3. Using email drafts
Email drafts on iOS is one of those hidden features that, once uncovered, you'll wonder how you ever lived without them. Begin by writing an email, but instead of tapping the Send button, tap the Cancel button. In this option sheet that appears, tap the option to Save Draft (Figure F).
Tap the option to Save Draft.
You can view your saved drafts and create a new draft by going back into your Inbox view, then tapping and holding on the New Message button. When you do this, a new Drafts view will appear and show all of your Previous Drafts, plus give you the ability to create a New Message (Figure G). Tapping on any of the previous drafts will restore them and let you finish and send the message. You can delete any of the drafts by swiping from right to left, then tapping the Delete button.
You can create a New Message.
4. Adding custom signatures based on email accounts
You've probably seen it a million times: "Sent from my iPhone." It's the default signature that's included on iOS devices when sending an email. Of course, this bit of text provides no real information to your recipients, so why not change it? If you have multiple email accounts, you can choose different signature text that will appear when creating new messages with your different accounts.
To begin, go to Settings | Mail, Contacts, Calendars | Signature. Here, if you wish to only have one signature for all your email accounts, select All Accounts. However, if you wish to have a specific email signature per account, then select Per Account (Figure H). Type in the signature that should be used for each of your accounts. When you create a new email message, the signature for your specific email account will be used.
Select Per Account.
Do you have a specific iOS 7 email feature that you utilize and we didn't cover, or do you already use one of these features on a regular basis? Sound off in the comments below and let us know.
Cory Bohon is an indie developer, creating both iOS and OS X applications at Cocoa App (his own company), MartianCraft, and for various other clients. As a part of full disclosure, he does not write about any software that he has created or has helped to create through these outlets.
Cory Bohon is an indie developer specializing in iOS and OS X development. He runs a software company called Cocoa App and is also a developer at MartianCraft. He was introduced to technology at an early age and has been writing about his favorite technology part-time since 2007. He runs a development blog named ObjDev when he isn’t writing about consumer tech.