Get to know iOS 8

Get to know iOS 8: Mail lets you process your inbox fast and write better drafts

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Get to know iOS 8

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Slogging through a crowded email inbox is never a fun process, but new tricks in iOS 8’s Mail app at least make the process less painful. You can swipe away messages like your thumbs are machetes hacking through a jungle, and customized alerts let you go longer between checking your email since you know that really important message will find you.

It’s time to retake your inbox. Put these tools to use so you can spend less time in Mail and more on things that are actually enjoyable, like shooting slo-mo videos and sending voice messages

Minimize the compose box

The first tip is one of those simple features that doesn’t seem like a game-changer but after a while you won’t know how you ever lived without it. 

When composing a message you can slide the compose box to the bottom of the screen and navigate around the rest of your email. This allows you to find content from another message that you might need before hitting Send.

mail drafts

Slide one or more drafts down to the bottom of your Mail window (shown at left). Then slide the top one back up to edit it some more, or tap the stack to see them all fan out (right). 

To get your message back just swipe up from the bottom. The only trick is you have to be careful you don’t aim too low on the screen and accidentally pull up the Control Center. 

Set alerts for email threads

You may not want a notification for every message, but sometimes there’s a particularly important thread you want to follow. Now you can set an alert for this, so if anyone responds to the set of messages you will get a push notification.

mail ios8 notify

Get notifications on a specific thread you want to follow.

There are a few different ways to turn on the thread alert. You can touch the flag icon at the top of the message or swipe to the left and touch More then Notify Me. 

Swipe to quickly triage your mail

Sure, this trick is heavily inspired by Mailbox, but hey, all great artists steal, right? 

mail ios8 more

Archive, flag, or perform several other options to a message by swiping to the left.

You can now swipe to trash a message (or archive it, if you're using Gmail), flag it, or get other choices for organization. Swipe once to the right to mark a message as unread.

You can also customize the swiping. Head to the Settings under Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and choose Swipe Options. This gives you a tad more flexibility in setting up which direction you want to flick.

Add information directly to contacts

If you get a message from someone that you want added to your contacts, be sure to take advantage of this tool.

import contact info

Mail can now smartly find contact information and add it to your address book with one tap.

Mail looks at the content of the message and can discover phone numbers, email addresses, and other contact information that can be nicely packaged into your address book. 

When prompted, tap Add to Contacts and select the information that you want to add in.

More tools for Exchange accounts

exchange settings

Get deeper email encryption options in iOS 8.

If you use a corporate Microsoft Exchange account, Mail has some tweaks just for you that are smaller but still much needed and very welcome.

The availability will depend upon what your administrator has enabled, but there are more options to be found in the Advanced Settings.

You can use S/MIME, which adds higher-level encryption to messages. Messages from outside-the-organization can be marked in red if you want to step up your security. There is also an option for auto-reply messages, though again this takes some work on the back end by your IT department.

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