How to Mark eMail as Unread in iOS

Sep 27, 2012 - 5 Comments

One of the many subtle changes to iOS after 6.0 is how marking emails works in the Mail app. While there used to be a very obvious “Mark as Unread” option sitting atop each open email, that action has been moved to a new flag menu that rests in the toolbar of messages. If you’re confused by the change, here is how to mark emails as unread:

  • Open a Mail message and tap the flag icon in the lower left corner
  • Tap “Mark as Unread” from the popup menu

Mark mail as unread in iOS

Of course this works the same on any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 6.0 or later.

Once you get used to it, the change is for the better since the toolbar stays visible all the time, whereas before you had to navigate back to the top of an email to mark it as unread. Nonetheless, the minor change has caused a fair amount of confusion, and a lot of people seem to rely on this in order to later address emails that are important. I know I use the feature constantly for that purpose as a way to filter out the email onslaught from what matters and what doesn’t, and if I’m surrounded by people who couldn’t find Mark as Unread than certainly others are in the same shoes too.

Currently there does not appear to be way of marking multiple messages as unread, though a group of emails can be marked read just the same as before.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks


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  1. wtfbbq says:

    Yet another unnecessary change that is confusing people. The worst is if you accidentally hit that stupid box icon, your email messages disappear and I still have no idea where they go or how to find them.

    • Cano says:

      I would suggest going to the email settings on your iOS device and setting the “Ask before deleting” option to “ON”

      This way if you hit the “box” button by mistake the device will ask for confirmation before deleting or archiving the emails.

  2. Fernando says:

    To mark a bunch of emails as unread is the same as always!!

    And I think this a very handy and useful change. It improves my email-viewing a lot.

    Finally, you *can* do something useful with flagged mail (or I just learnt how to)

  3. Toms Swift says:

    But still no way to save nor store emails on my iPad. Sigh.

  4. P says:

    If an emails are marked read, I hit Edit in the mail list and tag them and hit “mark”. I get the option to mark them all unread.

    My main objection is that it’s so easy to accidentally mark them as read in the first place. If I delete a spam email, for example, the next email is selected and is automatically marked read, even though I haven’t looked at it yet.

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