How to use Mail’s new features in iOS 16

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If you’ve used alternatives to Apple Mail on iPhone, the new additions and refinements in them for iOS 16 might very well tempt you. How to use the new features.

There are several email apps for the iPhone, and they can now officially replace Apple’s default app, plus there are plenty of reasons to switch to one. But it’s surprisingly common that you want the powerful features of a third-party email app but miss the rock-solid reliability of Apple Mail.

That reliability is practically absolute, and that alone is enough to mean Apple could skip updating Mail and still keep it responsive. Except this year, with iOS 16, it didn’t skip Mail at all.

There is still a lot you wish for, e.g. B. the integration in to-do apps. But Apple Mail has seen some love in iOS 16 and all the new features are excellent.

Schedule emails to be sent later

Instead of just tapping the blue send arrow when you’re done composing your new email, you can now press and hold it instead. It gives you options that still include the ability to send that email right away, but it’s also where all the new Send Later features reside.

By default, there are two ready-made options for sending later. With a single tap, you can send that new email at 9:00 p.m. tonight or at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow.

Notice that the time is displayed the same way you prefer your iPhone’s master clock. So it can say 9 p.m. and 8 a.m., or learn over time to offer other times that you normally use.

The way you set one of these different times is the last option, Send Later. Tap on it and you can set the date and time you want the email to go out.

Hold down the normal send button and you will now be presented with options to send later

Your iPhone needs to be on and connected to the internet at this point, but you never turn it off, so that’s fine.

By the way, until the time it’s sent, it stays in a special Send Later mailbox that’s temporarily created when you get a scheduled email like this one. Until it’s sent, you can go into that inbox, go into the message, and edit everything — including the date and time you want it sent.

However, there is one curious thing about this date and time. For Send Later, it works exactly as you’d expect – you get both correct and can edit the date or time as needed.

While it’s a bit different in the next feature, Remind Me.

Remind me of important messages

The idea behind Remind Me is that an email you just got is so important that you absolutely have to act on it – but not so important that you have to act on it immediately.

Remind Me is designed to bring the message back to you at the point when you need it. You have to say when that is – and there’s an inconsistency.

By default, Apple expects you to set a date when you want to be reminded. No time.

It’s not that it’s difficult to set a time as well, as you simply activate the time switch just below the date. But it is different from the same screen in Send Later.

You can set a reminder in an email or directly in the inbox

You can set a reminder in an email or directly in the inbox

Try to remind you of important messages

Remind Me is another instance of Apple coming up with an idea too late, having existed on alternative services for years. For once, though, Apple didn’t do better.

It made it a little worse.

Because what most third-party email apps do in this situation is remove the email in question. They assume that if you want to be reminded, say, in an hour, you don’t want to be reminded until then.

So where Apple just leaves it in your inbox, others hide it. And this hiding is as it should be.

Because if you have the willpower to resist answering an urgent email that’s sitting in your face the whole time, you also have the willpower to ignore it when it beeps as a new message.

If you have read the message, it will not be marked as unread. It will simply be placed at the top of your inbox.

Send Later and Snooze both work by creating temporary email inboxes

Send Later and Snooze both work by creating temporary email inboxes

So if you read emails with the Filtered by Unread setting, you won’t see the email when it’s supposed to remind you.

While there are clear limitations like this, if you live in your Mail inbox, then there’s a place for Apple’s Remind Me. This puts the message back at the top of your inbox, so at least it doesn’t get scrolled from the bottom of the screen.

Or rather, it won’t if you’re careful not to set Remind Me for too many messages. Luckily, what you want to be reminded of is entirely up to you.

In the Apple Mail inbox, you can swipe from the left to get a reminder button. Or if you’re in the message itself, you can tap the normal “Reply” button and scroll down to a new “Remind me” option.

Follow up

This has gotten better over the past few betas of iOS 16 and macOS Ventura, but it’s still a contender for the worst new feature of them all.

The idea is solid. When you email a lot of people, it’s very easy to miss that they haven’t replied.

No longer. Now Mail gives you a nudge itself if they haven’t responded within a few days.

Just like Remind Me, this is done at the top of your inbox. It places your sent message at the top of your inbox.

So the message you sent to someone will appear as coming back from you. You get used to that after a moment, but you don’t get used to the fact that Apple Mail decides what is shown to you.

You have no control over it, it is solely Apple Mail and – no doubt – machine learning that together determine which sent items need this treatment.

However, it is done wrong. It’s far more wrong than right.

Suppose a customer emails you to say they paid your bill, and you reply via email to say thank you. Neither you nor this customer expects further interactions in this conversation, but Apple Mail may very well decide that this is the urgent one.

Apple Mail also chooses to show you rich links. That is, instead of an email with a URL to a website, a small preview of the website is shown instead.

The preview is usually an image from the top of the website, showing the title of the page below. When you receive a message with such a preview, tap anywhere on it to go to the site.

And to send such a preview, just copy and paste the website address. With one useful caveat, Apple Mail changes that URL to a preview before you’ve even hit enter.

The caveat is that you must put the link on a new line of your email message, you must not append it to the end of a sentence.

Paste a link into a mail message and a preview will automatically appear instead of a plain link

Paste a link into a mail message and a preview will automatically appear instead of a plain link

However, this is useful because you can prevent this if you don’t want to send a preview of a specific link. Write a sentence that says “here is the link” or something like that and then attach it.

There is a risk that if you take a step to prevent anyone from seeing a preview, it will look a bit suspicious. Also, Apple Mail’s preview undoubtedly looks better.

But if you’ve ever had trouble sending pictures between Macs and PCs, you’ll appreciate an alternative.

Another thing that would tell your recipient that you are legit and not sending the spam through this hidden preview is BIMI. Starting with iOS 16, Apple Mail supports branded indicators for message identification.

Apple Mail always displays an icon to the left of the sender’s name and who they sent the email to.

When you get an email from someone with a photo in your Contacts app, this icon will show the photo. If they don’t have a photo, the Mail icon next to their name is a rather pointless gray circle with their initials on it.

However, once a company is registered and authorized, this icon can now display their company logo.

There’s little sign of this having much of an impact yet, but over time it will become common to see a company’s logo in the message.

So it’s a small change that will assure us that an email is genuine. Rich links, Send Later, Remind, and even Follow up are also small changes, but they will have a big impact.

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