How to Flag Emails Using Different Colors on iPhone and iPad

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
7,458
8,522



In iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, Apple's Mail app retains the swipe gestures of previous iOS versions that help you reduce the amount of time you spend managing messages in your inbox.

The basic inbox gestures still involve swiping right or left on an email to reveal tappable actions that you can perform instantly, without having to call up additional menus.

One of the default options that appear is the Flag action, which you might use to categorize a message that requests information needed by a certain date, for example.

Using only the swipe gesture, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the Mail app provides only one color to use when flagging emails, but iOS 13 actually introduces support for multicolor flags - it's just hidden away in the menu that appears when you hit the Reply button.


Tap the Flag button there, and you'll reveal a submenu that allows you to choose one of seven colors, including the option to remove a flag. Note that whichever color you select here subsequently becomes the default color when you tap the Flag action or the More -> Mark... option via the inbox swipe gesture.

Did you know that you can customize the actions that appear when you use the Mail app's inbox gestures? Click here to learn how.

Article Link: How to Flag Emails Using Different Colors on iPhone and iPad
 
Last edited:

adrianlondon

macrumors 68000
Nov 28, 2013
1,646
1,341
Switzerland
"it's just hidden away in the menu that appears when you hit the Reply button."

Who thought of that? iOS 13 developer meeting:

"Oh, let's move most of the options, including move and archive, behind an arrow that makes people think they're going to reply to an email."

"Shall we also remove loads of icons from the bottom so that it's just wasted space?"

"Sure! hahaha"

"OK, I'll get right on it after I've messed up notifications, gMail access, and actually displaying mails in the combined inbox".
 

FlyingDutch

macrumors regular
Aug 21, 2019
183
231
Eindhoven (NL)
Nice to know! That’s something I’m using on MacOS, very useful to highlight different mail
- - Post merged: - -

"it's just hidden away in the menu that appears when you hit the Reply button."

Who thought of that? iOS 13 developer meeting:

"Oh, let's move most of the options, including move and archive, behind an arrow that makes people think they're going to reply to an email."

"Shall we also remove loads of icons from the bottom so that it's just wasted space?"

"Sure! hahaha"

"OK, I'll get right on it after I've messed up notifications, gMail access, and actually displaying mails in the combined inbox".
Gmail is working just fine for me
 

Taustin Powers

macrumors regular
Apr 5, 2005
225
325
I have two email addresses and therefore inboxes. Can I automatically have emailed flagged/colored based on which address received it? For viewing in „all inboxes“?
 

itsmilo

macrumors 68030
Sep 15, 2016
2,629
5,159
Europe
remember when Apple just worked? Now we got options being „hidden“ behind the most unintuitive areas.

Two more things come to mind: the AA icon in Safari hiding everything from desktop view to content blockers. Maybe it’s just me but that icon implies font sizes to me.

also really hidden is the drawing tool on images. Literally no one I know even knows about it existence.

Of course the iPad gestures over the years take the cake
 

Attachments

FlyingDutch

macrumors regular
Aug 21, 2019
183
231
Eindhoven (NL)
The Mail App on iOS 13 is a buggy mess. Since the update it’s constantly showing me unread E-Mails (red badge over the icon) even though there are none. Will have to make the switch to outlook I guess.
Very strange. It’s working just fine for me.
 

Joniz

macrumors regular
Sep 21, 2017
187
440
All of this, along with the huge, ugly banner when you’re in Privacy mode in Safari, plus the Are You Sure? that now comes up when you try to close multiple tabs….

What happened? Now that Joni’s gone, did some engineer take control and say “I’ll show you how this should’ve been done.”
 
  • Like
Reactions: rjp1 and JosephAW

FlyingDutch

macrumors regular
Aug 21, 2019
183
231
Eindhoven (NL)
I make heavy use of flags, so this was nice to see coming to iOS. Nice that coloured flags sync everywhere.

Just unfortunate the design decision to bury it under the reply arrow.
Not the best solution, maybe, but it takes a few minutes to realize everything is under the arrow basically
 

PBG4 Dude

macrumors 68030
Jul 6, 2007
2,644
1,810
For once, the crappy news outlets are spot on: iOS 13 is a complete mess. If I could go back to 12, I’d do it in a heartbeat.
I’m sticking to iOS 12 on my phone because of these mail issues. I’m too dependent on getting emails on my phone to have that function disrupted.

If you hurry, and download the iOS 12.4.x .ipsw, you may be able to put your device into DFU mode and restore back to iOS 12. You’ll have to hurry though, as Apple will stop signing this version of iOS soon, forcing everyone to 13.
 

Joniz

macrumors regular
Sep 21, 2017
187
440
If you hurry, and download the iOS 12.4.x .ipsw, you may be able to put your device into DFU mode and restore back to iOS 12. You’ll have to hurry though, as Apple will stop signing this version of iOS soon, forcing everyone to 13.
Thanks for the reminder. I had already downgraded my phone after 13.1 broke sending messages from my Apple Watch. Now, I’ve downgraded my iPad and, I must say, iOS 12 seems pretty nice.

The only reason I upgraded to 13.1 was because I was having AirDrop problems between my iPad & MBA and I hoped it was a bluetooth issue fixed in 13.1. It didn’t fix anything. Then I did tests with another Mac & my iPad and discovered that I simply had to move my MBA a couple of inches to the left and now it’s working perfect.

Glad I was able to get myself out of 13.1, which I did because of your posting. Thanks!
 

PBG4 Dude

macrumors 68030
Jul 6, 2007
2,644
1,810
Thanks for the reminder. I had already downgraded my phone after 13.1 broke sending messages from my Apple Watch. Now, I’ve downgraded my iPad and, I must say, iOS 12 seems pretty nice.

The only reason I upgraded to 13.1 was because I was having AirDrop problems between my iPad & MBA and I hoped it was a bluetooth issue fixed in 13.1. It didn’t fix anything. Then I did tests with another Mac & my iPad and discovered that I simply had to move my MBA a couple of inches to the left and now it’s working perfect.

Glad I was able to get myself out of 13.1, which I did because of your posting. Thanks!
Glad I could help!

You reminded me that Bluetooth issues also kept me from upgrading as there are tons of reports in the iOS 13 forum of Bluetooth in the car being messed up with constant disconnections and not being able to connect at all to 2012-2013 era car Bluetooth systems.
 

Jws

macrumors regular
Aug 16, 2013
146
57
AR
"it's just hidden away in the menu that appears when you hit the Reply button."

"Oh, let's move most of the options, including move and archive, behind an arrow that makes people think they're going to reply to an email."

"Shall we also remove loads of icons from the bottom so that it's just wasted space?"
This is probably the most annoying thing about iOS 13 for me. Why hide commonly used actions inside a menu (that doesn’t even look like it could be used for such actions “reply”) when there’s plenty of space for an archive or move command? So incredibly dumb. I just can’t understand how this is their solution.
 

jasonefmonk

macrumors regular
May 5, 2011
196
168
This is probably the most annoying thing about iOS 13 for me. Why hide commonly used actions inside a menu (that doesn’t even look like it could be used for such actions “reply”) when there’s plenty of space for an archive or move command? So incredibly dumb. I just can’t understand how this is their solution.
I also dislike this change, but I will say the move to use menus with icons *and* text describing their action is better for normal people. Most people didn’t know what the mail icons did (move, trash, archive) and hitting them can change something that normal folks don’t know how to undo. It wasn’t friendly.
 
  • Like
Reactions: neliason

ignatius345

macrumors 68020
Aug 20, 2015
2,331
3,093
Using only the swipe gesture, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the Mail app provides only one color to use when flagging emails, but iOS 13 actually introduces support for multicolor flags - it's just hidden away in the menu that appears when you hit the Reply button.
This is more of an easter-egg than it is a discoverable feature.

Also, anybody else notice that if you rotate your iPhone 180° while Mail is up, it will show upside-down on the phone? Certainly not normal UI behavior.

I hate to be one of those people who says Apple is losing their touch, but Apple is really losing their touch.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gutwrench

Joniz

macrumors regular
Sep 21, 2017
187
440
Also, anybody else notice that if you rotate your iPhone 180° while Mail is up, it will show upside-down on the phone? Certainly not normal UI behavior.
Actually, I had seen this same problem on the Home screen when it asked for a password for something. The screen was upside down because of the way it way lying flat on the desk and when I picked it up, the password request window turned over the right way, as did the dock, but my entire Home screen with the icons stayed upside down. I couldn’t get it to right itself.

I just tried reproducing the problem, but then realized that I had downgraded to 12.4.1 an hour or two ago.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: ignatius345

jezbd1997

macrumors 6502
Jul 8, 2015
485
603
Melbourne Australia
For once, the crappy news outlets are spot on: iOS 13 is a complete mess. If I could go back to 12, I’d do it in a heartbeat.
Wish I could run iOS 12 on my 11 Pro
- - Post merged: - -

I’m sticking to iOS 12 on my phone because of these mail issues. I’m too dependent on getting emails on my phone to have that function disrupted.

If you hurry, and download the iOS 12.4.x .ipsw, you may be able to put your device into DFU mode and restore back to iOS 12. You’ll have to hurry though, as Apple will stop signing this version of iOS soon, forcing everyone to 13.
I’ve kept my 7 on iOS 12 and it’s still running super smooth, but hoping they’ll fix up iOS 13 soon as I got the 11 Pro
 

Defthand

macrumors 65816
Sep 1, 2010
1,276
1,635
I'm curious how tagging emails with different flags is an efficient strategy for addressing them. An email's significance is either urgent or it's not.

I no longer have to routinely swim in dozens of daily messages. And before I retired from a full-time career, I made it obvious to others that I don't use emails to collaborate as part of the workflow. I required colleagues and clients to communicate project details in tools linked to the specific project files. Urgent matters required a phone call. Otherwise, I scanned messages once in the morning and not again until the next day.