Even with all the improvements Apple has made to the iPhone’s Mail app in iOS 5, there are still some glaring omissions, especially if you’re the kind of person who likes to create folders and have them populated based on a selection of rules.

Smart folders are something that Apple has embraced on the desktop, with Mail on OS X featuring them heavily, which makes it all the more surprising that they haven’t brought them to its mobile platforms.

As always, the jailbreak community has some to the rescue, and SmartFolders is just what the doctor ordered…

What SmartFolders does is actually fairly obvious – the extension creates virtual mailboxes, and allows users to specify what rules are applied to emails. The result of the rules applied decides which virtual mailbox the emails show up in. It’s not rocket science, but it’s useful to the Nth degree, depending on how much time you put into it.

The rules that can be applied are actually quite comprehensive, with the criteria covering all the usual bases, and some.

The criteria include:

  • Account
  • Folder
  • Heading
  • Sender
  • Receiving
  • Object
  • Summary
  • In the inbox
  • It is / is not marked
  • It is / was not read
  • Has / has not been answered
  • Presents attachments
  • It was received before / after this date

SmartFolders can be given custom names, and custom labels too, meaning you can really go to town on your own mailboxes.

This is just another case of the jailbreak community doing what Apple should probably have already done, and it’s something that Android users already experience thanks to the power of Gmail.

SmartFolders is available via the BigBoss repository now, and costs $1.99.

Go jailbreakers!

  • I bought this when it first came out. Does anyone else have a problem with your scrolling your mailboxes it’s super slow?

  • Thanks Jeff, great video! I’ll definitely be forwarding people here if they need a tutorial 🙂

    Regarding the deleted items showing up, it could be because SmartFolders is matching those messages from your Trash folder. If that’s the case, you can prevent this from happening by adding a condition such as ‘Folder does not equal iCloud/Trash’.

    Regarding the backup issue you raise, SmartFolders saves its config to ~/Library/Preferences/net.joedj.smartfolder.pilst, which I believe is at least backed up in iTunes so if you do a system restore and then restore an iTunes backup, you should get your smart folders back (someone please correct me if I’m wrong).

    I haven’t looked much into using iCloud for sync/backup for jailbreak tweaks, but it’s definitely on my TODO list to check out.

    @WaterTrooper I’m sorry to hear that, I’ve worked hard to try and make it perform well, but there may still be room for improvement. It’s pretty snappy most of the time, for me. Here’s a few things you can do to improve performance:

    – Limit the accounts/folders that your SmartFolder looks at, using the “Account” and “Folder” conditions
    – Use the has/has not been read conditions
    – Use the has/has not been flagged condition (this is fast on iOS5, slower on iOS4)
    – Use the date received is before/after conditions

    These conditions can be checked without having to load the whole message first, which makes them faster than the Subject/Sender/Recipients/Summary etc… conditions.

  • Oh, thanks Oliver too, didn’t notice that the byline was different to the video author =P