Barkings! | The SmallDog Apple Blog

A blog about our business, our industry, and our lives. You'll find posts from everyone at Small Dog and if the dogs could blog, they'd be here too!

If your inbox is anything like mine you understand the frustrations in keeping it clutter free. I actually have multiple e-mail accounts that I use or monitor, further adding to some of my frustrations. There are all kinds of apps, techniques and advice on how to better manage the many messages that flood your inbox every day. Honestly, dealing with too much e-mail is a lot like dieting. Almost any approach will work, at least for a while. The hard part is finding what fits best with your work style or just staying committed to whatever practice you’ve decided to embrace. Built into the Apple operating systems or iOS are a fairly large set of techniques and features to help you organize your inbox.

In the last several months I feel like I’ve rediscovered just how useful and invaluable even my iPhone is with its mail features. When I’m out of the office or visiting some of our retail locations I almost exclusively use my iPhone and between the organizations features of Mail and iCloud drive there’s very little I can’t do. Swiping is a critical action on the iPhone (or iPad) to uncover all kinds of features within mail and now with El Capitan and Sierra many of these swipe features also work on your Mac with a magic trackpad or mouse.

Most users know if you swipe your finger to the left or right you can quickly manage your messages in mail and quickly archive or delete your message. A quick swipe in either direction will by default archive or delete your message immediately our of your inbox. But there is more to the swipe than just a simple delete.

In iOS, when you swipe a short distance to the right and an unread message (from left to right), Mail displays a read button. You can either tap it or keep swiping to the right to mark the message as read. If the message has already been read, that button changes to unread. This swipe is great for those who like marking message as unread to keep them around for later processing.

Swipe left (from right to left) a short distance, and you get three buttons. Archive, Flag, and more. Tap archive to store the message in an archive mailbox which is good for getting it our of your inbox without deleting it. Flag will mark the message with a flag so you can find it quickly in your mail’s flagged box. I love this feature! I probably utilize the flag features in my mailboxes several times a day and would be lost without it! You can swipe all the way to the left to archive the message with one motions. Some mailboxes will display delete when you swipe rather than archive. Not to worry though, it’s just going to your trash rather than an archive folder and you still can access the e-mail if you delete it by accident. I recommend going into your mail preferences and make sure you have delay in how soon your trash really dumps your mail permanently. For my work e-mails I have my settings set to never actually empty my trash. You never know when you’ll need an e-mail from 10 years ago and for me, it’s happened!

If you tap more, you get a bunch of additional options, depending on the message, that can include: reply, reply all, forward, show related messages, mark (so you can flag), file and more. File is probably my favorite feature and I think it’s better than the file feature in Mac mail. I file almost all my e-mails in folders based on their content rather than deleting them. Staff write what we call weekly reports each week and daily I get cash out reports from the retail stores. When I pull these kinds of e-mails up on my phone and use the folder option, iOS automatically suggests what folder it thinks it should go into and most times it correctly defaults to the folder I want. It makes handling bulk yet standard daily e-mails a breeze to file with iOS. So far I haven’t see this feature work on Mac mail.

If you try these features on your Mac (make sure your using the magic track pad or magic mouse) you will see many of these options I’ve talked about available, but know that not all of them may be there. In my opinion the features are better in iOS (who would have thought I’d be saying this!) When iOS first came out and then a few years later when it hit the first iPad we all had a laundry list of things we wish these mobile devices could do.

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