iPad Tips: Using Smart Mailboxes on iOS 7

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iOS smart mailboxes

One of the killer additions to the Mail app in iOS 7 are Smart Mailboxes, which help organize all sent messages, messages with attachments, and more. The VIP mailbox is displayed by default, but you’ll want to tap on the Edit button on the top-right corner of the Mail app to reveal the other Smart Mailboxes.

What Do They Do?

If you’re familiar with the unified inbox (the inbox that shows mail from all of your inboxes), then you’re already familiar with what a Smart Mailbox can do. Standard mail folders tend to act like physical folders do: mail that you put into a standard folder isn’t available in any other folder. So if I put Patrick’s email with the lyrics of “O, Canada” into my “Patrick” folder, I won’t find it anywhere else.

Smart Mailboxes, on the other hand, are more like saved searches. They look for specific criteria and show all of the messages that fit that criteria in one place. Here are the various Smart Mailboxes currently available on iOS 7:

  • Flagged
  • VIP
  • Unread
  • Attachments
  • All Drafts
  • All Sent
  • All Trash

These are all fairly self-explanatory, and although you may not want all of them showing at once, it can be really handy to have a few of them displayed. I personally kep Flaged, VIP, Unread, and All Sent visible at all times.

Folder Shortcuts

There’s also another little trick that the Mail App’s Edit button allows: folder shortcuts. Just below all of the Smart Mailboxes is a button labeled “Add Mailbox…”. Tapping on that will allow you to choose any folder from any account to display at the top level of the Mail app, alongside the Smart Mailboxes. If you’ve got a particular set of folders that you access often (e.g. Travel, Mail from Mommy, Contests I’ve Won), then you’ll probably want to set up a folder shortcut.

Mail in iOS 7 is now so good that it’s really my preferred iOS email client, even ousting the Gmail app for first place. I’m really happy the addition of Smart Mailboxes, and hopefully you’ll get some great use out of them, too.

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