How To: Update Your iPhone ASAP for Huge Mail Improvements That Make Emailing on iOS Better Than Ever

Update Your iPhone ASAP for Huge Mail Improvements That Make Emailing on iOS Better Than Ever

If you use Apple's Mail app on your iPhone for iCloud and third-party email accounts, install the new iOS update ASAP if you haven't already. While there's not a colossal number of new features, the latest tools and improvements are powerful enough to make the update feel like Mail's biggest ever — and there are features we've been waiting for for years!

One of the new things on iOS 16, the update in question, is the inclusion of a security feature that other email services like AOL, Fastmail, Gmail, and Yahoo already have. Other updates include search improvements, visually rich information, reminders, and productivity options you'll wish you had sooner.

The changes below also appear on iPadOS 16.1 for iPad and macOS 13 Ventura for Mac, both released on Oct. 24.

1. Undo Send

Just like Apple's Messages app, Mail gained an Undo Send feature on iOS 16. When you hit the send button on a draft, you have ten seconds to tap "Undo Send" to take it back, but you can change that to 20 or 30 seconds if you want a longer delay.

2. Scheduled Send

When you long-press the send button in a draft, there are new options to schedule the email to send at a later time. You can choose tonight, tomorrow, or a specific date and time. Since Mail does the scheduling, it works with any email account on your device. All scheduled emails go to the Send Later folder, and you can edit the scheduled time from within the unsent email if you need to change it.

3. Follow Up

When you email somebody a question or request, Mail may remind you to follow up with that somebody if they haven't responded to you yet. You'll see a "Follow Up" button near the top of the sent email. Tapping it starts a new reply draft for you to fill out and send.

Even better, when Apple's on-device algorithm detects an email you sent that didn't get a response, it will place the sent messages at the top of your inbox after a certain amount of time has passed to remind you. Right now, it works in English language versions for Australia, Canada, India, Singapore, the U.K., and the U.S.

You can go to Settings –> Mail –> Follow Up Suggestions to disable the feature.

4. Remind Me

I always forget to reply to incoming emails, so the new Remind Me feature will really help me. From the email list, you can right-swipe the email in question, then tap the clock icon to Make mail remind you to check it out again in an hour, tonight, tomorrow, or for a custom date and time. You can also tap the reply button in the email directly, choose "Remind Me" from the actions list, and select an option.

When the time hits, it'll appear at the top of your inbox, just like Follow Up emails. And in the email, you can "Edit" the date and time if you want to change when Mail reminds you to reread it.

5. More Mailboxes

When you tap "Edit" on your main mailboxes list, you can show or hide folders such as VIP, Attachments, and Unread. Thanks to the new Send Later, Follow Up, and Remind Me features in Mail, there are now folders for them too. You may see these come and go automatically from your mailboxes list when you use the features, but you can make them always appear from the edit menu.

6. Block Senders More Easily

On iOS 15, to block the sender of an email from the Mail app, you need to open the email, tap the "From" email address, and choose "Block this Contact." But opening the email is risky if a clever hacker somehow bypasses your account's script-blocking abilities. Hidden trackers could also be injected into the email, letting the sender know whenever the email gets opened.

Mail on iOS 16 fixes the issue by letting you block contacts from the quick actions or left-swipe ellipsis (•••) menu, where you'd then select "Block Sender."

You can also block a sender from within the email. Tap the reply button, then "Block Sender" from the actions list.

7. Alerts for Missing Recipients and Attachments

If you mention an attached image or file in an email draft but forget to attach it, Mail will now notify you that the attachment is missing. It'll point out the line in the email that's related, asking you to cancel and add the attachment or send the email anyway. It can do the same thing if you mention a contact in your email but forget to include them in one of the recipient fields.

Like Follow Up, this feature works in English language versions for Australia, Canada, India, Singapore, the U.K., and the U.S.

8. Rich Link Previews

Mail can now show rich link previews for URLs like the Messages app. When you paste a link in, it will automatically convert it to a rich preview. If you want to only see the URL, you can tap the preview to highlight it, then hit the drop-down arrow to bring up the "Convert to Plain Link" option.

9. Highlighted Search Terms

When you use the search tool to find an email, if a result in the Top Hits section has the search term visible, it will highlight it yellow so it stands out. Before, you'd have to scan the previews yourself.

10. Smart Search Suggestions

When you search for something in Mail, you'll see improved suggestions. For example, typing "Philadelphia" will suggest related terms that it found in your emails, and you'll see not just "Subject contains" but also "Attachment name contains" suggested filters.

And it kicks in as soon as you start typing. So, using the "Philadelphia" example again, you'll see improved suggestions right away as you type. For "Phi," I got more intelligent contact suggestions and search terms like "phishing" and "Phillips." Before, you wouldn't see search term suggestions.

Mail [...] includes the biggest overhaul to search and uses state-of-the-art techniques to deliver more relevant, accurate, and complete results. Users see recent emails, contacts, documents, and links the moment they begin to search for emails.

— Apple

11. Smart Search Corrections

Mail will intelligently correct typos if you spell something wrong when searching for emails. Plus, it can include results for synonyms matching your search term. Like Follow Up and alerts for missing recipients and attachments, this feature works in English language versions for Australia, Canada, India, Singapore, the U.K., and the U.S.

12. BIMI Support

The Mail app now digitally verifies emails from brands who use BIMI (Brand Indicators for Message Identification) verified brand iconography.

You won't notice anything from your list of emails, but once you open an authenticated email from a supported brand, you'll see the brand's BIMI logo next to the header. When you tap to expand the header, it should say "Digitally Certified" with a link to learn more. If you tap the sender's name, it should also say it was a "Digitally Certified Email."

These verified emails help assure you that the email actually originated from the brand and is not a phishing attempt from a hacker. According to the BIMI Group website, "for the brand's logo to be displayed, the email must pass DMARC authentication checks, ensuring that the organization's domain has not been impersonated."

DMARC, which stands for "Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance," is an email authentication policy and reporting protocol. DMARC defends against unauthorized use of domains by preventing direct domain impersonation within email. It protects brands by ensuring participating mailboxes only receive email actually sent by or on behalf of a domain.

Brands that I've seen use BIMI logos so far include Amazon, Ancestry, Casetify, Disney+, HBO Max, Robinhood, TikTok, UPS, and Yelp.

13. Smaller Menus for Contact Logos

A minor visual change to the contextual menu appears when you long-press a contact's logo from the header to start a new draft, add them to an existing contact, or create a new contact. Before, the menu would take up the full width of the screen (left screenshot below). Now, it looks like most of the other quick-action menus you'll see in apps across iOS, where it's a smaller box taking up less screen real estate (right screenshot below).

Just updated your iPhone? You'll find new features for Podcasts, News, Books, and TV, as well as important security improvements and fresh wallpapers. Find out what's new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.5 update.

Cover photo, screenshots, and GIF by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

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