Get started with Mailbox for iOS

After watching the reservation system slowly work its way to allowing you Mailbox access, you're now left wondering where to begin with the latest e-mail app on your iPhone. Don't worry, we can help.

Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
3 min read
With Mailbox you can snooze an e-mail to take action on it later. Jason Cipriani/CNET

Mailbox, a new e-mail client for the iPhone, has launched and it takes a new approach to managing your Inbox. Mailbox wants you to ditch the traditional labels method implemented by Gmail users everywhere. Instead, according to Mailbox, you should be able to snooze and postpone e-mails in your Inbox to take action on them at a later time. The new approach takes some reprogramming of your brain, but it's one some users will find better suited for them. 

Get in line!

It's a long line. Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

To accommodate the huge demand and make sure the system will stay running smoothly for all new users, the Mailbox team has come up with a reservation system. When you first download the app you'll receive a reservation number and you'll see a ticker showing how many people are in front of you, and how many people have signed up after you. Any time you want to check how close you are to gaining access, simply open the app and the numbers will let you know.

If you're curious how long it will take for you to gain access, Cult of Mac has done the math for you. Keep in mind, those numbers are just estimates, and the actual time you have to wait will more than likely vary a bit.

If you signed up for a reservation before launch and have since lost it, follow the instructions here to get it back.

Download Mailbox from the App Store to claim your reservation, even if you're unsure if you'll use the app. It's free and you might as well start the waiting process while you decide.

Say goodbye to labels
As previously stated, when using Mailbox on your iPhone you won't find any Gmail labels. Instead you'll find you can mark an e-mail for action later. What this essentially does in your Gmail account is create a new set of labels under a "[Mailbox]" label, moving the messages to the label and out of your Inbox. When you short swipe from right-to-left on an e-mail and select when you'd like to be reminded about it the message is moved to the Later label. The e-mail will then move back into your Inbox and an alert will display on your iPhone when the set period of time has expired. Should you be using Gmail on the Web, or an e-mail client on another platform, you'll see the e-mail reappear in your Inbox as a starred item.

To help with the lack of labels, you can also add e-mails to personalized lists. These lists are basically another set of labels nested under the main Mailbox label to aid you in keeping your e-mail organized.

Some quick tips
To manage your e-mail you'll need to learn the gestures used by Mailbox. The first time you launch the app you'll go through a tutorial explaining the basic gestures for archiving, deleting, scheduling, and adding an e-mail to a list.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET
What you don't see in the tutorial is how to move a long list of e-mails all at once. To do that, scroll to the bottom of the messages and touch and drag on either corner of the bottom bar. Doing so will move every message in your Inbox in one quick swipe; be it archiving, a list, deleting or snoozing for later.

To reorder the messages in your Inbox, you can tap and hold on any message and it will begin to float. Move it up or down in the list to prioritize your Inbox.

You can set custom snooze times in Settings > Snoozes. Set your work day start time, your weekend start time and how long to delay an message for the "later today" snooze option.

Inbox Zero

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET
When you achieve Inbox Zero in Mailbox, you'll be greeted with the Mailbox icon filled in with a picture. The picture changes on a daily basis and is pulled from Instagram. Tap on the icon to view the full picture, or tap on the share button to view the photo on Instagram.

There's plenty more to be discovered in Mailbox, I'm sure. If you're already in and using Mailbox, what's one feature I left out that you absolutely love?

First Look
Watch this: Mailbox, the iOS email app everyone's going ga-ga over