Find emails more eas­ily

Get faster at find­ing things with mail­box fil­ters

Mac Format - - CONTENTS - Alan Stone­bridge

it wil take

10 min­utes

you will learn

How to turn on a mail­box’s fil­ter and cus­tomise its set­tings.

You’ ll need

iOS 10

Ex­pe­ri­ence will draw you to Mail’s search bar when you want to find some­thing, be it a mes­sage that con­tains spe­cific con­tent or a whole cat­e­gory – those that are un­read, flagged, con­tain at­tach­ments, or fit some other at­tribute. In iOS 10, Ap­ple has made the lat­ter type of search a lit­tle more con­ve­nient with one-tap short­cuts that ad­dress com­mon sce­nar­ios. Search­ing, though, looks for mes­sages in all of your mail­boxes. If you only want to see matches from the mail­box you’re look­ing at (un­read items in your in­box, for ex­am­ple), iOS 10’s ver­sion of Mail con­tains a new fea­ture to achieve that, and to do so more ef­fi­ciently.

A fil­ter dif­fers from a search in that it’s ap­plied only to the mail­box you’re view­ing. You tap an icon to turn on fil­ter­ing, and an ad­di­tional tap on the fil­ter’s de­scrip­tion opens a panel where you can set which of a short list of cri­te­ria mes­sages in the mail­box must match. Sev­eral of these cri­te­ria are the same ones pro­vided as one-tap short­cuts when us­ing the search bar. Un­like search­ing, though, the only flex­i­bil­ity fil­ters off is the abil­ity to com­bine these pre­de­fined con­di­tions how­ever suits your needs. You can’t look for mes­sages that con­tain a cer­tain word or phrase, or sent by a spe­cific per­son; lo­cat­ing mes­sages that pre­cisely con­tin­ues to be ful­filled by the search bar, and de­mands that you’re care­ful enough with the key­words you en­ter so as not to end up with too many re­sults gath­ered from all your mail­boxes to wade through.

What’s par­tic­u­larly con­ve­nient about fil­ters is that Mail re­mem­bers the set­tings you’ve cho­sen for in­di­vid­ual mail­boxes. So, if you reg­u­larly want to see only items in your in­box that you’ve flagged, say, once you’ve set up the nec­es­sary fil­ter you’re only a tap away from view­ing those mes­sages, and another tap away from turn­ing off the fil­ter and re­turn­ing to the mail­box’s full con­tents.

Fil­ters in Sierra

Mail­box fil­ters are also avail­able in Mail in macOS Sierra, so you can put what you learn here into prac­tice there as well. On the Mac, the icon that tog­gles the fil­ter on or off is lo­cated at the top right of the mes­sages list, and the fil­ter, if one is ac­tive, is de­scribed im­me­di­ately to the left of that. Just like on iOS 10, click­ing that de­scrip­tion opens a panel that con­tains the short list of fil­ter set­tings.

With just one tap, a fil­ter can show you only mes­sages in your in­box that you’ve flagged, say

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