Four tips for Apple's Mail app on iOS 8

Mail on iOS 8 brings with it some new features iPhone and iPad users are going to appreciate.

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

Josh Miller/CNET

There's no shortage of third-party mail apps in the iOS App Store, making the default Mail app look a bit dated in the features department.

As is the case with every revision of iOS released since its inception, Apple has included improvements to the Mail app, hoping to improve the user experience. iOS 8 is no different, with four main features now added to the Mail app.

For more helpful iOS 8 tips, be sure to check out our complete guide to iOS 8.

Quick add events, contacts

When reading an email from someone whose information isn't saved in your Contacts list, Mail will display a dialogue at the top of the message giving you the option to save the contact info (which is derived from the person's email signature). There may be times when you already have a contact entry for the person, but when a new phone number or email address is detected, this subtle alert makes it easy to identify some information has changed.

Also, when you receive a meeting request or event invite, Mail will let you accept or decline it in a similar fashion.

30 tips every new iOS 8 user should know

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The familiar swipe gestures we've all grown accustomed to when deleting a message in Mail have grown up. With Mail in iOS 8, you can swipe from left-to-right to quickly toggle a message's read status. Swiping in the opposite direction will still provide the option to delete a message, along with Flag and a More button where you can take more actions on a message.

A partial swipe will reveal the buttons mentioned above, while a full swipe across the screen will quickly toggle a messages read status, or delete a message (depending on direction of the swipe).

You can customize the actions of each swipe in the iOS Settings up under Mail, Contacts, Calendars and selecting "Swipe Options. "

Examples of improvements to Mail in iOS 8. Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Hide compose window

I think we can all relate to the dance of starting to compose a new message, only to realize you need a piece of information form another email in your Inbox. The process normally required you to close the email, saving it to drafts or just ditching it altogether, getting the information and then starting all over.

With Mail in iOS 8 you no longer have to do this dance. When composing a new message you can swipe down from the top of the screen, placing the compose window along the bottom of the app. You're then free to look through your Inbox, find what you need, and return to the message by tapping on the message.

Thread alerts

Apple has had its VIP alert system in place since iOS 6, where you receive a specialized alert when receiving an email from specific contacts. The feature is convenient, yet it often lead to marking contacts as VIP's when you only wanted to be alerted to the next email you received from a contact.

With iOS 8, you can now set alerts for specific email threads, regardless of who is involved in the conversation. There are a few different methods for turning on a thread alert, but the easiest way to do it is to tap on the Subject field when composing a message. Next, tap the small alarm bell and confirm you want to enable notifications for the thread.

You can customize the alert for threaded notifications in the Settings app under Notifications then Mail.

Have another trick you discovered in Mail for iOS 8? Be sure to share it with us in the comments.