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Manage Mail Messages

Though it’s not the same as dealing with a foot-high stack of paper letters, I find confronting an Inbox with hundreds of messages a psychic drain. Mail on the iPad doesn’t have the same depth of features for managing email that you’ll find in a desktop application, but it does let you delete, file, and search for messages.

Delete a message

Unless you’re an obsessive archivist, don’t try to keep every message. To delete a message after you’ve read it, tap the Delete (trash_button.jpg) button in the toolbar. The message is moved to the account’s Trash folder. (For some accounts, like Gmail, the Delete button is replaced by an Archive [archive_button.jpg] button.)

Even better, delete a message without reading it. When you’re viewing the contents of a mailbox and see a message that’s clearly undesirable (I get a lot of spam, can you tell?), do this: Swipe one finger across the item from right to left; then tap the Trash button (Figure 4.18).

Figure 4.18

Figure 4.18 Swipe to delete.

Move a message

To keep a message but get it out of the way in your Inbox, file it in another folder within your account.

  1. With the message open, tap the Move (move_button.jpg) button.
  2. Tap a mailbox in the Mailboxes list in the sidebar to move the message there.

Delete or move multiple messages

Sending messages to the Trash or to other mailboxes one by one will make you crazy if there are many to process. Instead, delete or move them in batches.

  1. Display the contents of a mailbox, either by tapping its name in the toolbar in portrait orientation or by turning to landscape orientation.
  2. Tap the Edit button in the navigation bar.
  3. Tap the messages you wish to delete or move. The ones you select gain a checkmark and appear in a stack to the right (Figure 4.19).

    Figure 4.19

    Figure 4.19 Process multiple messages.

  4. Tap the Mark, Move, or Trash button at the lower-left corner of the mailbox. (The Mark button can set the message status as Unread, Flagged, or Junk, for your attention later.) Or, tap the Cancel button at the top if you change your mind.

Search for messages

A powerful tool for managing piles of email is the capability to find something quickly by performing a search.

  1. Go to the mailbox you want to search and then tap the search field.
  2. Tap a button to specify which portion of the messages should be searched: the From field, the To field, the Subject field, or All.
  3. Type a term in the search field. Results appear in the list (Figure 4.20).

    Figure 4.20

    Figure 4.20 Searching a mailbox

  4. Tap a message to read it.
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