How to Use iOS 8 Mail Gestures to Zip Through Your Inbox

iOS 8 Mail envelope logo superimposed on underwater backdrop

We’re not talking about the finger gestures you usually want to make when thinking about your inbox. This is all about gestures that will actually make using your inbox in iOS 8 faster and easier.

The iOS 8 email app is by far the best version yet. It’s fast, simple to use and, best of all, extremely intuitive. With 66% of emails being opened on mobile devices, being able to read and manage email quickly and accurately is a definite must for any mobile email app, and iOS 8 Mail delivers.

iOS 8 incorporated some pretty useful ways to work with email so you can read, save, delete, and send messages just by making unique gestures on your screen. Learning how to use iOS 8 Mail gestures can help you blast through your inbox and get to inbox zero in no time. Here’s how.

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Archive or Trash a Message

One of the most common email actions on a mobile device is archiving or deleting. You probably do these two actions many, many times each day. Instead of using the traditional buttons, though, with iOS 8 all you have to do is swipe.

Closeup of email on iOS 8 showing More, Flag, Trash buttons

If you swipe from right to left partially across the screen, you’ll see a few options, as shown above. Tap on Archive/Trash and the message will disappear. If you want it even easier, swipe right to left all the way across and the message will be archived or deleted without any more interaction. One swipe and that’s it.

Mark as Read or Unread

Mail in iOS 8 makes it easy to mark messages as read or unread without actually having to open them up. This way, you can take emails that need your attention and make them appear as unread, or mark messages that you’ll get to later as read and decrease your badge count.

Closeup of iOS 8 Mail message with Mark as Unread button

To do this, just swipe on a message from left to right partially across the screen to show the Mark as… button. You can tap the button to mark the message with the status opposite from what it currently holds. A full swipe from left to right will automatically change the read/unread status, no button tap required.

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Customize Gestures

While those two gestures are pretty great as they are, you can actually change what iOS 8 Mail does when you make them.

Open up Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars and scroll down to tap on Swipe Options.

Mail, Contacts, Calendars screen on iPhone

From here, tap on Swipe Left or Swipe Right. You only get a few choices, but you can decide which swipe does what to fit your needs. This is especially useful for customizing the gestures for left-handed people.

Swipe Options screen on iPhone

Save Email Drafts in Tabs

This is a pretty big tip. There are times you’re writing an email and you want to save it for later. This is the reason email drafts exist, but viewing drafts can be a pain, and few people actually use the feature. Mail in iOS 8 makes saving drafts as easy as opening tabs in Safari for iOS.

When you have a new message open in Mail, just tap and hold where you see the subject of the email at the top of the screen (this says “New Message” until you type a subject line) and drag down. The message will dock itself at the bottom of the screen. You can keep doing this with as many messages as you want, leaving them to sit there until you’re ready for them.

Email drafts shown in tabs on iPhone

When you want to see the emails you’ve saved, tap the docked message at the bottom of your screen and you’ll see something like the tab view in Safari for iOS. Tap on the message you want, and you’re back in the action of the email.

These iOS 8 Mail gestures make reading and interacting with emails on your iPhone or iPad better than ever before – and solidify the idea that Mail for iOS really is the best app for using email in iOS.

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