10 Mail Tips for iPhone & iPad to Help You Email Smarter and Faster

Jul 10, 2013 - 6 Comments

Mail icon in iOS 7 We all need as much help as we can get with email, and that’s why we’re offering up a slew of tricks to help master the Mail app on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. With ten tips ranging from having more emails be visible and stored on the device, to bulk management, to replying smarter, moving recipients around quickly, the quickest way to access drafts and add attachments to a message, and using Siri to compose complete emails, you’re sure to become more efficient working with emails in the iOS Mail app while you’re on the go.

10 Mail tips for iOS

1: Move Email Addresses to Different Recipient Fields (To, CC, BCC)

Decide at the last minute you want to blind carbon copy someone instead? No biggie, just do this:

  • Tap and hold on an email address or contact name, and then drag it between TO, CC, BCC

Move email recipients quickly in iOS Mail app

Of course, you can move addresses to any of the fields, from BCC to CC, TO to CC, whatever. Beats typing out an address again, doesn’t it?

2: Show More Emails in Inbox

Want to have more emails be immediately visible in the inbox, without having to retrieve them from a remote mail server? This is the setting for you, it will keep more emails stored on the device, letting you see more directly on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod:

  • Go to Settings then to “Mail, Calendar, Contacts”
  • Tap “Show” and choose “100 Recent Messages” or higher

Show more emails in Mail Inbox of iPhone and iPad

The default setting is “50 Recent Messages”, which means that 50 mail messages will be visible in the inbox by default, and scrolling beyond that must access the remote mail server to retrieve another 50. Changing this setting is very helpful if you wrangle a huge inbox, though the higher settings (500-1000 messages) can have some undesirable side effects of slowing down Mail app on older devices, and even increasing that “Other” space that shows up in iTunes.

3: See More Emails Per Mail Screen

This setting displays more emails per screen in Mail app by adjusting the message body preview size. The default is set to 2 lines, but by moving it to 1 line or None, you can see many more emails instantly without having to scroll at all:

  • In Settings, go to “Mail, Calendar, Contacts” and choose “Preview”
  • Tap on “None” or “1 Line” to show more emails on each mail screen

See more emails per screen in Mail app for iOS

Notice how this differs from the previous tip, in that more emails are visible on each mail screen, but it has no impact on the total number of emails shown in an inbox without accessing the server again.

4: Quickly Access All Saved Drafts

There is a super quick way to access saved email drafts in iOS:

  • Tap and hold on the Compose icon to jump to the Drafts folder

Quickly open drafts folder on the Mail app in iOS

This accesses all drafts, whether they were created and saved on the iPhone or iPad, or on a remote server or webmail client like Gmail. This very handy feature was introduced a while ago and retains full functionality in Mail app for iOS 7. Use it, you’ll appreciate it!

5: Bulk Manage Groups of Emails: Mark as Read, Unread, Delete

Managing a group of multiple emails is easy in iOS Mail app, but it may not be immediately obvious to all users:

  • From the mailbox you want to adjust, tap on “Edit” then tap each mail message you want to adjust so that it’s highlighted with a checkmark
  • Tap on “Move” to send the emails to the Trash for bulk deleting, or to another inbox
  • Tap on “Mark” to flag the emails as spam, or mark as read or unread

Bulk manage emails and mark them as Read in iOS

This is very helpful if you’ve gotten a barrage of messages that are either unimportant or just need to mark as read, or when you need to Trash a bunch of them that are clogging up your inbox.

6: Increase Font Size to Read Email Content Easier

The text size of emails is pretty small by default, and even those of us with moderately decent eyesight can have a hard time reading through long messages at such a tiny font size. Fortunately, it’s really easy to increase the size of the email text to something much more legible:

  • Open Settings, then go to “General” and “Accessibility”
  • Tap on “Large Text” (iOS 6) or “Larger Type” (iOS 7) and choose a size better for your needs

Change email font size in Mail app for iOS

Something to consider with this option is that it will also increase the font size shown in text messages and iMessages within Messages app, which is actually really nice and makes those messages much easier to read as well.

7: Reply to Portion of Email with Smart Quotes

Smart Quotes are a little-used feature of iOS Mail app that let you reply to just a specific portion of an email, and they’re very easy to use:

  • Tap and select any portion of an email to include in the reply, then tap the “Reply” button as usual

Smart quotes in email replies
The new email message will now only contain the portion of the email you selected, rather than the entire thing.

8: Ditch or Modify the “Sent from my iPhone” Signature

The default signature for emails sent from any iOS device identifies that device as “Sent from my iPhone” or “Sent from my iPad”. If you want to change it or delete it, it’s quite simple:

  • Open Settings, then go to “Mail, Contacts, Calendars”
  • Tap on “Signature” to modify or delete it

Change the Sent from my iPhone Signature

We generally recommend keeping these signatures for a variety of reasons, including the brevity expectation, but if you want to delete it or modify it, it’s easy enough to change back.

9: Insert Pictures Into Emails Faster with a Tap

You can easily insert a picture or two into an email message just by doing the following:

  • Tap and hold in the message body, and choose “Insert Photo or Video” to find the picture or movie to attach

Tap and hold for inserting pictures into emails

Images can be inserted anywhere into email messages this way, and it’s much much easier than poking around in the Photos app to create a new email from there, or using the copy and paste method to place images into emails.

10: Compose & Send a Quick Email with Siri

Don’t want to type out an email message, or maybe you’re hands are busy? Siri can write it for you using a simple mail composition command:

  • Summon Siri and say “Write an email to [recipient name] about [subject] and say [message body]

Sending and composing emails with Siri

This is really helpful in situations where your hands need to be mostly free and you can’t spend time looking at your iPhone or iPad screen, whether that’s because you’re just occupied doing something else, riding a bike, walking, or maybe you just hate typing on the touch screens.

Want more Mail tricks? We have no shortage of tips on the topic, check them out.


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


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Dean says:

    While flying, I often emails with photos which I save in drafts to be sent later when I have cellular service. My problem is that if the saved email includes more than 3-4 photos the draft often loses some of the photos I attached. (same thing happens if email is in outbox)
    Any thoughts or advice?

  2. Gloria Shelmerdine says:

    How do I delete unwanted email contacts from the list of names that appear when I start a new email? Example: I want to delete all but one “Sara” from the list.

  3. tony baum says:

    Valuable comments . I am thankful for the info , Does someone know where my business could access a template AU Form 1149 example to fill in ?

  4. H M Janet Clark says:

    Help…lots of help and tips say “go to settings” —where the heck is the settings icon, button, whatever?? Also other icons? I use them on other devices, I’m sure I’m missing something simple but am flummoxed.

  5. Christopher Santana-Barnes says:

    Thanks for the tips. One note though. There is nothing convenient about selecting one email at a time to then move or mark. The inability to select a group of emails with one click is maddening and frankly a little mind boggling that Apple cannot or will not offer this basic of commands.

  6. Brenda says:

    My iPad mail is driving me mad , my deleted emails keep on returning as soon as I delete them . Any tips to stop this . I am an older user .

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