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Take Control of Mail on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
Nov 09, 2012

Take Control of Mail on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, Fourth Edition

Devise an effective mobile strategy for iOS 6, and read your email with ease!

In this ebook, email expert Joe Kissell shares his real-world recommendations about the best ways to use the Mail app on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, helping you to develop a successful mobile email strategy for iOS 6. You’ll get advice and directions for how to set up your accounts, receive email, read and send email, and file messages. You’ll also learn to solve connection problems and work around feature limitations.

Special topics include handling Gmail and iCloud email accounts.

More Info

Read this ebook to learn how to:

  • Make a VIP list for email you especially want to read.
  • Set up mailboxes for effective navigation and filing.
  • Address, compose, and send a message.
  • Handle incoming and outgoing attached photos and documents.
  • Locate a specific message.
  • Understand how Mail interacts with the Calendar and Contacts apps.
  • Decide whether to receive messages with push or fetch.
  • Set up and use signatures.

And, find answers to questions like:

  • How can I effectively work with the same email on more than one device?
  • Help! I can’t send my email… what should I do?
  • What if I have more than one “From” email address?
What's New

What’s New in the Fourth Edition

iOS 6, released in September 2012, features a number of changes to the way the Mail app works. In this edition, I cover those changes, as well as other relevant developments that affect email on iOS devices. Major changes described in this edition include the following:

  • Mail’s new pull-to-refresh gesture; see Check Your Mail
  • VIP senders; see The VIP List
  • Changes to the way Mail handles flags and quoted text; see The Message View
  • New (and unfortunate) ways of handling alternative From addresses; see Change Your From Address, and especially the sidebar Changes in From Address Behavior
  • The capability to add photo and video attachments right from within Mail; see Outgoing Attachments
  • For iCloud accounts, an Archive feature, the capability to disable individual aliases as From addresses, and the addition of email addresses; see iCloud Special Features
  • Significant improvements to how Mail handles Gmail accounts; see Four Methods to Access a Gmail Account and Gmail Accounts
  • Per-address signatures; see Other Mail Settings
  • Per-account notifications; see Mail Notifications

In addition to making these changes, I’ve removed all information about MobileMe and updated the text in many places to reflect the latest truth—for example, modifications to Gmail’s interface and details about OS X that are different in 10.8 Mountain Lion.

What Was New in the Third Edition

iOS 5 was a huge update, and as a result, the third edition of this book is too. Mail in particular received many welcome new features. In addition, numerous general changes to iOS itself (such as notifications, text expansion, and iCloud support) make their presence felt within Mail. I’m especially pleased that several shortcomings I complained about in the previous version of this book have disappeared.

Here are the major email-related changes in iOS 5 I cover in this book:

  • Mail has a new layout in portrait mode on the iPad. See iPad.
  • You can now add, delete, rename, or move mailboxes in a server-based account. See The Mailbox List.
  • You can now mark multiple messages at once. See The Message List.
  • Mail lets you flag or unflag messages. See The Message View and, for the Gmail connection, Starred.
  • iOS 5’s Shortcuts feature lets you use abbreviations that expand into longer text elements, such as signatures. See Quote Properly, Touch Typing, and Single System-Wide Signature.
  • You can now move addressees between To, Cc, and Bcc fields; format message text with bold, italics, and underline; change the quote level for individual paragraphs; and use the iOS dictionary when composing messages. See Compose and Send a Message.
  • When viewing a PDF attached to an email message, you can now see thumbnails of each page. In addition, instructions for resizing outgoing images are a bit different on an iPad than on an iPhone or iPod touch. See Incoming Attachments.
  • Mail can finally search within message contents. See Search for Mail Messages.
  • You can now sync Mail accounts from your Mac or PC to your iOS device over Wi-Fi. See Sync Accounts with iTunes.
  • iOS 5 supports iCloud accounts. See iCloud Accounts (and, indeed, most of the rest of the book!).
  • iOS 5 also supports Hotmail accounts (using the Exchange ActiveSync protocol). See Hotmail Accounts.
  • Notes syncing has changed quite a bit, largely because of iCloud. See Notes on Notes.
  • You can now encrypt and/or digitally sign messages (as well as view incoming signed and encrypted messages). See S/MIME.
  • Mail participates in iOS 5’s Notification Center, giving you many new options for message notifications. See Mail Notifications.

In addition to these major changes, I’ve updated the text in many places to reflect the latest truth—for example, modifications to Gmail’s interface, and details about Mac OS X that are different in 10.7 Lion.


Which iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch models does this ebook cover?

This ebook covers the iPad 2, third- and fourth-generation iPad, and the iPad mini, plus the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4S, and iPhone 5, and the fourth- and fifth-generation iPod touch. In all cases, the ebook assumes that you’re using iOS 6 as the operating system on the device.

How can I figure out which iPhone or iPod touch I have?

An Apple support article has photos and other details to help you pinpoint your model. For the iPod touch, try Apple’s Identifying iPod models article.

Does this ebook really cover the iPod touch?

Yes. It wholeheartedly includes iPod touch users.

Does this ebook care which type of computer I sync my device with?

Whether you sync with iTunes on the Macintosh or Windows, this ebook has you covered.

Update Plans

February 26, 2014 – We don’t plan to update this book for iOS 6 again, but there is a new ebook, Take Control of Apple Mail, that discusses Mail for iOS 7. This ebook has several chapters of interest to those trying to master Mail in iOS 7, In particular, “Learn about Email Protocols” makes sure you understand how email works so you can make smart choices about your accounts (POP, IMAP, SMPT iCloud, Gmail, Exchange), and “Use Mail in iOS 7” explains essential Mail facts that every iOS Mail user should know.

Posted by Tonya Engst

  1. Reminder: No More Gmail via Exchange

    As Michael noted in the previous blog entry here, Google has phased out access to Gmail via Exchange ActiveSync for new users. So, what I say about that approach in “Four Methods to Access a Gmail Account” starting on page 50—and particularly the subtopics “Set Up Gmail as Exchange ActiveSync” and “Choose a Gmail Method (or More Than One)” on pages 53–55—is now true only if you’d previously set up your device to access a Gmail account using Exchange ActiveSync.

    If you have a device that was never previously configured to access Gmail via Exchange, that option is no longer available to you; you’ll have to choose from among the remaining three methods, of which one of the IMAP varieties will likely serve you best.

    Posted by Joe Kissell (Permalink)

  2. Google Sync Being Sunsetted and What It Means

    Google has announced that Google Sync, its syncing method that uses Microsoft’s ActiveSync technology, will no longer be available as a syncing option for most users. Support for it, except for paid users of its Google Apps service, will end on January 30 for Mail and Contacts; it is already unavailable for Google Calendar syncing. Instead, IMAP, CardDAV, and CalDAV are the preferred protocols for syncing. This means, in the case of iOS devices, that push email and calendar events will no longer be available to new users for Gmail, Google Contacts, and Google Calendar (Google, however, will continue to support accounts that have already been set up to use Google Sync). You can find out more about this change in the TidBITS article, Google Drops Google Sync for Most iOS Users, and in Joe Kissell’s Macworld article, What the End of Google Sync Means to You.

    Posted by Michael Cohen (Permalink)

  3. Running a Mail Spam Filter on an iPad or iPhone

    Take Control reader Genevieve S. wrote in with an interesting question a few days ago:

    Genevieve: Do you know any third-party app that can filter mail on iPad and iPhone—i.e., apply rules?
    Tonya’s reply: I don’t know of any apps that can filter mail locally on the iPad, but I’ve cc’d Adam and Joe here to see if either of them has a suggestion. Personally, I use my gmail account on the iPad, and Google handles the filtering on the server.
    Joe’s reply: There is an app called ibisMail, which comes in both iPad and iPhone versions, that does filtering on the device. However, I do what Tonya does—let a server-based filter do all the work before messages appear on any of my devices.
    Genevieve: Thank you for responding. I use the Gmail filter too, but the AT&T/Yahoo filter is lousy. This is not a problem when receiving mail on the Mac—the rules in Mail handle the leakage—but if I read the mail on the iPhone, a local filter would help.
    Adam jumps in: You could forward the other account to Gmail to get the benefit of its filter. Lots of people do that. smile
    Genevieve: Great idea!!

    In the third edition of Take Control of Mail on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, Joe touches on email forwarding in “Decide Which Account(s) to Use,” and he references a Macworld article that he wrote—Streamline e-mail with Gmail. The Macworld article discusses how to forward a non-Gmail email account through Gmail.

    Posted by Michael Cohen (Permalink)

  4. Joe Tells All about His Latest Take Control Book

    Okay, that’s journalistic hyperbole (who can tell everything about a book in 37 minutes?), but Joe talks engagingly and informatively about the third edition of Take Control of Mail on Your iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. You can either listen to or watch his conversation with Chuck Joiner to find out the latest about Mail in iOS 5.

    Posted by Michael Cohen (Permalink)

The Author

Take Control publisher Joe Kissell has written more than 60 books about technology, including many popular Take Control books. He also runs Interesting Thing of the Day and is a contributing editor of TidBITS and a senior contributor to Macworld.