Find emails more easily
Get faster at finding things with mailbox filters
it wil take
you will learn
How to turn on a mailbox’s filter and customise its settings.
You’ ll need
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