3 great tips for increasing email productivity in iOS Mail app


Lately, we’ve seen some great applications come to the iPhone that try to increase productivity during the work day. Some of these serve as replacements for the default apps that come on every iPhone. Tempo is a great calendar app for business users, and Mailbox came onto the iOS scene as a way to reach the fabled “Inbox Zero”.

However, it’s just as easy to use the native Mail app on iOS to reach “Inbox Zero” and increase your email productivity in the process. Here are some tips for getting the most out of Mail.

Make Use of Smart Boxes

One way to make the most of your email is to cut down on all of the clutter that has piled up. It can be a daunting task to check your email when you see that you have hundreds of unread emails to go through. It’s even harder when you have old email that you’ve already read and replied to that you need to scroll past to get to your unread email.

Smart boxes 1

Smart Box examples: Unread, VIP, Flagged

Thankfully, Apple has included smart boxes in its Mail app to help you quickly get to the email that you need to address. Simply click the “Edit” button in the top right of your main Mail screen. You can turn on smart boxes to show all Unread email, email from VIPs, all emails with Attachments, or all of your Drafts.

Smart boxes 2

Other available Smart Boxes: All Sent, All Drafts, To or CC, Attachments, All Trash

Those smart boxes can make it easier to stay on top of important email. But it can sometimes take a lot of time to reply back to or react to every email that comes in. How can you manage all of those items needing your attention?

Flag Email To Address Later

You don’t need a new email app to mark an email as something that you should reply to later.  Instead, as you go through your email, flag items for later use. Then, after you have gone through your unread email, go to the “Flagged” smart box and take your time addressing each email. As you respond to each one, unflag it. This lets you control your email usage, not letting the act of checking your email control your workflow.

To flag an email, you can do so from the Flag icon in the bottom left corner of every email.


Flag an email from within…

But you can also flag an email from the list view, letting you quickly flag emails as you’re checking your mail. Simply swipe left on an email, click on the “More” button, and then “Flag”.


…or from your inbox

Reduce Notification Clutter

As much as we love having a bunch of apps on our iPhone, it can be distracting to get notified of every piece of communication around us. Instead, limit the notifications that your phone will respond to. For instance, just because all of your email services may support push email doesn’t mean that you should have push enabled for all of them. Change that email address that you use for Facebook to manual or fetch to reduce the mail notifications you receive.

You can also turn off badge counts or all even all notifications for specific email accounts. This is great if you want to focus on just your work email, letting your personal email remain under control and avoid distracting you.

To change mail notifications, go to Settings > Notification Center, then scroll down to Mail. From there, you can turn on or off the settings for each of your email accounts. If you set any VIP settings, these will override any other settings.


Tip: Try receiving notifications from just your VIPs. You’ll hear new email ‘Dings’ much less often.

Putting It In Practice

How can these tips help you? Try this out:

  1. Enable the “Unread” and “Flagged” smart boxes.
  2. Start reading your email with the “Unread” box. If an email requires a long reply or needs you to take action elsewhere (such as on a website), flag it, then move on. (If you’ve not done this before, you’ll likely have a LOT of unread email to get through first. Don’t worry: Once you’ve caught up, staying on top of your unread email will be a breeze!)
  3. Once you have gone through all of your “Unread” box, go to the “Flagged” box and start responding to the emails there. As you complete the required action or response, unflag the email.

Hopefully, these tips can help you be more productive with your email on your iPhone. There are other ways that you can improve your workflow, too. For instance, try using the “VIP” smart box to see email from the people that matter most to you.

Do you have any other tips for email on the iPhone? Let us know below!


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  • Frankpowell

    I also feel an app that adds some value to your emails is also something that one must keep. An app like Email for Business for instance, that helps your email get delivered as the usual emails do but have a cutting edge when it comes to aesthetics. https://www.emailforbusinessapp.com/