Mail shortcuts for iPhone and iPad: 11 gestures to speed up your email!

Mail on iPhone XS
Mail on iPhone XS (Image credit: iMore)

You might think using the Mail app on your Mac or MacBook has more advantages, and you're partially right. But there are tons of mail shortcuts for iPhone and iPad in the Mail app, sometimes it's easier and faster to control your emails. Try these gestures and start mastering your Mail app.

Quickly add Documents to your email

How to quickly add Documents to your email: Tap and Hold the message to bring up the edit menu, tap the right arrow for more options, tap Add Document. Search for the document you want to send (Image credit: iMore)

You can attach files to your mail messages by touching and holding the message to bring up the edit menu. Once it appears, tap the right arrow to get more options, then tap Add Document. You'll see your most recent documents, or you can also quickly browse your iPhone, or your iCloud folder.

Pull to refresh your Mailboxes

Pull to refresh your Mailboxes: Touch the Mailbox screen and pull it down until you see the refresh spinner (Image credit: iMore)

Pull-to-refresh, originally created by Loren Brichter for Tweetie, is now one of the most necessary and basic mail shortcuts for iPhone and iPad. Any time you want to check for new messages, just touch the mailbox screen and pull down until you see the refresh spinner.

Swipe to go back

Swipe to go back: To return from an email, swipe from the left side of the screen to the right (Image credit: iMore)

Another system-wide gesture, any time you're in a message or mailbox, you can swipe from the left side of the screen to the right to go back to the mailbox the message is in, or the account the mailbox is in. It's especially handy for those with bigger phones.

Mark an email as unread

Mark an email as unread: Tap and swipe the email from left to right until you see a blue Unread button (Image credit: iMore)

To quickly mark a message as read, touch it and swipe from left to right. To mark it as unread again, just repeat the gesture. You can swipe just far enough to see the big blue button, but if you keep swiping all the way across, you can skip the tap and really speed things up!

Quickly Flag and Archive an email

How to Quickly Flag and Archive an email: Touch the email and swipe to from right to left. Tap on the red button to flag it or the purple button to archive it. (Image credit: iMore)

To quickly archive or flag a message, touch it and swipe from right to left. You can tap the red flag button to flag it, or the purple Archive button to delete it. You can also just swipe all the way across to save yourself a tap and send it straight to the Archive folder.

More options

To see more email options, swipe an email from right to left, and tap the gray More button (Image credit: iMore)

When you touch and swipe a message from right to left, in addition to flag and archive, you can also tap the big gray More button for additional options, including reply all, forward, flag, mark as unread/read, move message, and notify me...

Hide the keyboard while writing an email

How to hide the keyboard while writing an email: Touch the message above the keyboard and swipe down. (Image credit: iMore)

Sometimes, where you're responding to a message, you want to see more of it. Maybe you forgot the exact question you're trying to answer, or you want to refer to something specific. No matter the reason, all you have to do is touch the message above the keyboard and swipe down to hide it.

Stack multiple drafts at once

How to stack drafts: While composing an email, touch the title bar and swipe it down. To see all your stack drafts, tap on them at the bottom of your screen. (Image credit: iMore)

When composing a mail message, touch the title bar — where it says New Message — and swipe it down to temporarily store it as a draft while doing or checking something else. You can create a new draft and repeat the process to stack them. You can see your multiple draft cards open at a time, and tap them at the bottom of your screen in the Mail app to open them up to get a Rolodex interface just like tabs in Safari.

See your drafts instead or writing a new email

How to see your recent drafts: Tap and hold the compose message button and a list of your most recent drafts will appear. (Image credit: iMore)

You can tap the compose button any time to start a new mail message, but if you tap-and-hold on the compose button, you'll be shown a list of your recent drafts so you can pick up right from where you left off.

Move an email address to a different field

How to move an email address: Touch the email address and drag it to the field you want it to be (Image credit: iMore)

If you have a contact in the To: field but you want to move it to CC: or BCC:, you don't have to delete and re-add it. Instead, just touch it and drag it right to where you want it.

How to change swipe settings in the mail app

Flaggin or Archiving your email is just one of the many options you have when you swipe an email left or right. You can customize these mail shortcuts for iPhone in the Mail app Settings. Here's How!

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and tap on Mail.

How to change swipe settings: Go to Settings, Scroll down and tap on Mail, Select Swipe Option and change the action. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap on Swipe Left or Swipe Right and change the action.

Any questions?

Now you know more mail shortcuts for iPhone and iPad than ever. If you have any questions, drop them in the comments below!

Updated October 2020 The post is up to date with the latest version of iOS.

Christine Chan

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.

When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.