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How to Customize the Mailboxes View in Mail for iPhone and iPad

Posted by Melissa Holt on March 22, 2017
email iphone

The iPhone and iPad are powerful tools for monitoring your email. But if you have multiple email accounts, or use lots of folders to manage a single account, the iOS Mail app can get a bit cluttered. Thankfully, there’s a way to customize which email account folders and “mailboxes” show up when you first launch the Mail app.
This feature not only makes quickly checking your most important emails faster, but it also allows you to aggregate multiple mailboxes for more convenient email management. So let’s take a look at how to customize Mailboxes on the iPhone and iPad. I promise that your iOS Mail app will be even more useful after you do!

The Mailboxes View in Mail for iOS

First, let’s clarify what I mean when I refer to “Mailboxes.” Grab your iPhone or iPad and launch the Mail app.
ios mail app
If you’ve already configured your email accounts, the Mail app will likely open in your inbox or the last folder you viewed. Tap the back button in the upper-left corner to go back to your “Mailboxes” view. You may have to tap back several times depending on how many times you’ve drilled down into your email folders.
ios mail mailboxes
Once you reach the primary Mailboxes view, it will look similar to the screenshot below (the names of some of my mailboxes are redacted for privacy; yours will be displayed). Chances are that you don’t need to always see all of these mailboxes, and you can customize the list to show only the ones that are most useful to you.
ios mail app mailboxes

Customize the iOS Mail App Mailboxes View

To customize your Mailboxes view, tap the Edit button in the upper-right. This will reveal a list of all mailboxes and folders for all of your accounts, with blue “check” circles next to each entry.
edit mailboxes ios
Just tap the circle next to each entry to include it in your Mailboxes view. Similarly, tap the blue check next to any selected entry to deselect it and hide it from your Mailboxes view. Once you’re done making your selections, tap Done to save your changes and you’ll be returned to your newly customized Mailboxes view.
Beyond simply hiding certain accounts you don’t need to check often, there are some powerful tricks you can use here to make checking your email more efficient. For example, if you have more than one email address set up on your device, enable All Inboxes to view all of your new emails from all of your accounts in the same place. You can also enable the All Sent mailbox to see all of your sent emails from all of your accounts together. Or check out the All Trash or All Archive mailboxes with a similar purpose in mind.
Some other options, as you can see in my screenshot above, will allow you to add a mailbox to view every message that has an attachment, one to see just your VIPs’ emails, or one for only your unread messages. This is so, so cool!

Adding Custom Mailboxes

There’s one other nifty thing you can do. As you may have noticed, I have a few personal mailboxes showing up in this master list, too—the two listed above are labeled “To Do” and “To Keep.” If you have mailboxes that you file stuff away in, you can add them to this screen just like I have. Do this by scrolling down a bit until you see Add Mailbox.
ios mail add mailbox
This will take you to a screen where you can select which account the mailbox you’re looking for lives under. In my case, then, I’m going to pick my Personal account, which I know has a mailbox I’ve filed important stuff in.
ios mail mailboxes
Following that, you can find and tap the mailbox in question. I’m going to use the very professionally named “Important Crap” one.
ios mail mailboxes
Touch Done afterward, and your chosen item will show up out on Mail’s main screen! Just press “Done” again to confirm your choice.
Important Crap Mailbox
I find this a handy way to access important mailboxes, for sure. Since I file almost everything that I need to deal with in just a couple of places, I’ve added those mailboxes to this main screen, which saves me time over navigating through my accounts to find stuff. Hope you all find this trick as useful as I do! I don’t remember how I lived without it, to be honest.

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