Check Mail in iOS with a Pull-to-Refresh Gesture

Sep 22, 2012 - 4 Comments

Mail generally automatically checks itself when launched in iOS, or mail checks itself every some-odd amount of minutes based on your Push and Fetch settings. But any modern version of iOS Mail app will not find a standard mail refresh button, but that doesn’t mean you can’t forcibly check mail yourself when you want to on any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Check for Mail with a Refresh Gesture on iPhone & iPad

To immediately check for new mail right away just tap and hold on any message from the top of the inbox and pull down and then release.

You’ll see a little rubber-band style followed by the spinning progress indicator as Mail pings the server to check for new messages. The gesture works the same on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Refresh email on iPhone with pull to refresh

Any new email messages will then populate in the Mail app as usual.

This popular “pull to refresh” gesture was famously introduced (and patented) by Twitter in their iPhone and iPad apps, and now it’s getting wider use across iOS in other apps too. Once you get the hang of it, it’s actually much quicker since there is no precision touch point required and can be activated from anywhere. Now, if only Safari would adopt the same feature…

Mail icon

For Mail for iOS, this feature exists from iOS 6 onward, as the pull to refresh gesture has replaced the familiar circle “Refresh” button, which was in the the lower left corner of the inbox window. No big deal, just pull to refresh your Mail instead.

Check Mail in iOS with a pull-to-refresh gesture

Do you know of another way to rapidly check for email on iOS with a gesture? Or any other trick? Share it with us in the comments!


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


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  1. Bill H says:

    I would love to see Postbox on Mac incorporate this same functionality!

  2. Eric says:

    The pull to refresh only works if you’re scrolled all the way to the top of the mail client, it will not work anywhere else. I just tried it.

  3. Michael says:

    Check out “Pull to Refresh” for Chrome. I know, it’s not for iOS, but it works rather nicely in Chrome for OS X.

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