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How to use drafts when composing messages in the iOS Mail app

Drafting an email and sending the message later is a feature many users are familiar with on the desktop, but they may not know it exists in iOS Mail. Here's how to use this little known feature.

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Drafts has been a feature in the iOS Mail app for a while, but many users aren't aware of this hidden gem. The feature (like its macOS Mail counterpart) allows users to stop composing an email, save it, and then return to the message later to send it. Let's see what's involved to use the drafts feature in all versions of iOS.

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First, compose an email by performing these steps.

  1. Open Mail.
  2. Select the Compose button.
  3. Start to fill out the subject and body of the message.

To save the message as a draft, tap the Cancel button, and then tap Save Draft in the pop up that appears (Figure A). The message will disappear, but it will be saved in the Drafts folder.

Figure A

Compose an email as you normally would on your iPhone or iPad, and be sure to fill out the subject line to indicate the message has changes that need to be saved.

To open a saved draft, tap and hold on the new message's Compose button in the toolbar (it's the same one you tapped to create a new message). After holding for a moment, a Drafts pop up will appear (Figure B).

Figure B

All saved drafts will appear here. If you wish to get rid of any drafts, swipe right to left to get a Trash button.

In this view, you will see a listing of all available drafts that can be continued. To continue a draft, simply tap it and a new Compose view will open that has all of the message details filled in as you left them when saving. When you're finished composing the draft, select the Send button as normal to send the message to the recipient.

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Image: CNET/CBS Interactive
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