Tip: triage your emails more easily by enabling ‘Unread’ folder in Mail for iOS

By , Mar 3, 2016

iOS 9 Mail app icon full size

Apple’s Mail app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad offers various customization options which permit you to adjust which messages you see first in the mailbox list. For instance, you can add important people to Mail’s VIP list so all their messages appear in the special VIP smart mailbox.

I’m not sure why, but Mail by default doesn’t let you see all the unread messages from all accounts in one place, and that’s quite a shame.

Thankfully, you can easily show a hidden ‘Unread’ smart folder to gather your unread messages in one place.

How to enable ‘Unread’ smart mailbox in Mail for iPhone and iPad

1) Open Mail on your iOS device.

2) Tap Mailboxes.

3) Now hit the Edit button.

4) Mail will show you a list of its built-in mailboxes, smart or otherwise. Scroll down and then tap Unread further to enable the smart mailbox with unread messages.

5) Tap Done to finish making the changes.

Mail iOS 9 show Unread mailbox iPhone screenshot 002

All the unread messages from all your accounts will be automatically gathered inside the Unread inbox as they arrive. And as each message in the Unread mailbox is read, Mail will automatically remove it from the list.

Mail iOS 9 show Unread mailbox iPhone screenshot 003

Tip: While in edit mode, you can reorder your mailboxes by dragging them around. I suggest moving the Unread mailbox at the top of the list so it’s easier to access without having to scroll through the mailbox list.

Mail iOS 9 show Unread mailbox iPhone screenshot 001

Our own Andrew O’Hara has put together a nice video overview of the best email applications for the iPad, and I’ve embedded it below for your viewing pleasure.

Tip: If you want to find all unread messages from people in your VIP list, type “unread vip” in Mail’s search box.

Related tutorials

Check out our handpicked selection of the following Mail tutorials.

Or, browse our complete archive of all Mail how-tos.

Need help? Ask iDB!

Not sure how to do certain things on your Apple device? Let us know at help@iDownloadBlog.com and one of our future tutorials might provide a solution.

Submit your how-to suggestions at tips@iDownloadBlog.com.

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  • Radu

    Awesome tip! I’ve been using the mail app for years and never knew this feature.

  • Linton Findlay

    Talks about triaging, has 10000 unread emails xD

  • :D

    If you’re using Spark, just type ‘unread emails’ into the search bar

  • Jerry

    Sucks that Google disabled the exchange server I used to love using the stock iPhone email app but now they you can’t get real time email but only fetch it every set minutes you put it to really sucks. Googles email apps suck.