Do More With Mail (Part 1) - Multiple iCloud aliases

7/21/2012 4:26:29 PM

Mail has always been something of a star in iOS. It effectively supports many types of account, and its unified inbox makes it easy to see all your messages in one place without being distracted by outgoing notes, reminders and spam.

Some of its most obvious features are hidden, though, while others leave room for improvements that we’d like to see, such as faster filing and greater use of gestures to handle incoming messages.

Description: Mail has always been something of a star in iOS

Mail has always been something of a star in iOS

Fortunately, with a little bit of know­how and perhaps an inexpensive third- party app or two, you can reboot your online communications and get email on iOS working as flexibly and efficiently as you need.

Here we’ll walk you through some essential tips for exploring the default Mail app to the full, and then we’ll pick out some of the best alternatives and add­ons to make sure you get the most out of email on the move.

Account details in iOS Mail are handled not within the Mail app itself, but in Settings. To add a new account, go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Add Account and then select the account type.

If you’re adding a Gmail account and you also use Google Contacts and Calendar, avoid the temptation to opt for the Gmail account type: instead, select Microsoft Exchange. Set the Sever as, leave the Domain box empty and enter your complete email address - including the @ and the bit that follows it - as the username. Opt to use SSL. This way you’ll also be able to accurately synchronise your iOS calendar and address book with the Google servers.

Multiple iCloud aliases

You can set up multiple iCloud addresses in Mail if you share your iOS device with a family member or colleague. But if you want to split your own mail across more than one iCloud inbox - perhaps because you want to keep personal and business emails separate - consider setting up an alias instead. In Safari or your favourite browser on the Mac (not in iOS), go to, click the cog icon and select Preferences > Accounts > Addan alias. Give your new alias a name, a description and, optionally, a colour to help you identify incoming messages via that ad­dress in the iCloud web view. You can add a maximum of three aliases to each account (the limit was five in MobileMe).

Once you’ve saved your alias, head back to Mail on iOS, create a new message and tap the ‘Cc/Bcc, From’ line, then select the alias you want to use to send this message. You can also select any other email account stored in Mail in this way without first stepping back out of your mailbox.

Description: Also known as Creating aliases in iCIoud lets you run several addresses out of a single mailbox

Also known as Creating aliases in iCIoud lets you run several addresses out of a single mailbox

Flagging messages

‘Flagging’ a message makes it easier to find later: Mail stamps a small red flag to the left of its preview in your inbox. If you’re using a synchronised account that supports flagging, such as iCloud or Gmail, the flag status will be passed back to the server, although not usually instantly, and from there to your other clients. The flag will then also appear in OS XMail, where all flagged messages are gathered in the Reminders group.

Description: Pick me Tap the ‘Cc/Bcc, From’ line in Mail to choose the address you’d like to use to brand your outgoing message
Pick me Tap the ‘Cc/Bcc, From’ line in Mail to choose the address you’d like to use to brand your outgoing message

To flag a message, tap Mark in the header area, followed by Flag. You can clear the flag by tapping Mark again, followed by Unflag.

Sadly, iOS Mail lacks the ability to isolate flagged messages in a smart mailbox. At present, therefore, the only reason to flag a message - apart from the fact that it’s also flagged on your Mac - is to make it more spot table as you scroll down your inbox.

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