How to Get VIP Email Alerts in iOS Mail

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iOS Mail can alert you (only) about messages from key senders.

The Right Kind of Nuisance

Interruption? No, a pleasure it is not!

Email alerts, in general, are typically a nuisance and an interruption. For important messages, the interruption will often be welcome, though—and getting to these emails late would have been the far bigger nuisance.

In iPhone Mail and iOS Mail on an iPad, you can restrict alerts to emails from VIP senders, or have these presented in a special manner, say with a particular sound.

Get VIP Email Alerts in iOS Mail

To set up iOS Mail on iPhone or iPad to announce new messages from VIP senders in a special manner—with a unique sound, say, or vibration:

  1. Go to the Home screen.
  2. Open Settings.
  3. Tap Notifications.
  4. Choose Mail under NOTIFICATION STYLE.
  5. Now tap VIP.
  6. Select a desired visual style for very important emails under ALERT STYLE WHEN UNLOCKED.
    • To turn off visual banner or dialog alerts, select None.
  7. To have emails from VIP senders counted in the Mail app icon:
    1. Make sure Badge App Icon is enabled.
    2. Tap < Mail.
    3. For each account:
      1. Tap the account's name.
      2. Make sure Badge App Icon is not enabled.
        • This will have the Mail app icon count only emails from VIP senders (and messages in watched threads, if badges are enabled for those).
      3. Tap < Mail.
    4. Tap VIP.
  8. To make the device vibrate for emails from VIPs:
    1. Tap Sounds.
    2. Now tap Vibration.
    3. Pick the desired vibratory pattern.
      • To record a new pattern for VIP emails, tap Create New Vibration.
      • Select None to disable vibration.
    4. Tap < Sounds.
    5. Now tap < VIP.
  1. To pick a notification sound for VIP senders' messages:
    1. Open Sounds.
    2. Tap the desired tone under ALERT TONES or RINGTONES.
      • If you have interruptive alerts such as tones and vibration enabled, it is best to keep the list of VIP senders restricted to a select few.
      • Select None under ALERT TONES to disable the audible alert.
    3. Tap VIP.
  1. To include some detail about new emails, make sure Show Preview is enabled.
  2. To have alerts displayed when the device is locked, make sure Show on Lock Screen is enabled.
    • You may want to decide not to show alerts on the lock screen to prevent the emails from becoming visible, if only in part, to others.
    • With Show on Lock Screen enabled, consider disabling Show Preview.

Now, make sure iPhone or iPad Mail does have new messages pushed or checks for new mail periodically to get alerts.

Get VIP Email Alerts in iOS Mail 6

To have iPhone or iPad Mail announce emails from VIP senders in a special manner:

  1. Go to the Home screen.
  2. Open the Settings app.
  3. Select Notifications.
  4. Choose Mail under In Notification Center or Not In Notification Center.
  5. Now tap VIP.
  6. Choose the desired style for VIPs' messages under Alert Style).
  7. Pick whether you want VIP sender's emails in the inbox counted atop the Mail app icon.
    • This setting is independent of the general inbox badge counters for email accounts.
    • If you turn the badge icon counter off for unread messages in your inboxes in general, for example, but enable it for VIPs, only the latter will appear. (If you enable both the overall and the VIP badge icon counters, VIPs' messages will not be counted twice.)
  1. To make an iPhone or other iOS device vibrate for new VIP emails:
    1. Tap New Mail Sound.
    2. Now select Vibration.
    3. Pick the desired vibratory pattern under Standard or Custom.
      • Tap Create New Vibration to set up a new vibration pattern (up to ten seconds long).
      • Select None to turn off vibration.
    4. Tap New Mail Sound to return to VIP message alert settings.
  2. To pick a notification sound for VIP senders' messages:
    1. Open New Mail Sound.
    2. Tap the desired tone under Alert Tones or Ringtones.
      • Select None to turn off audible alert.
    3. Tap VIP to return.
  3. To include some detail about new emails, make sure Show Preview is ON.
  4. To have alerts displayed when the device is locked, make sure View in Lock Screen is ON.
    • Keep in mind this might make emails (at least partially) visible to others.

    (Updated October 2016, tested with iOS Mail 6 and iOS Mail 10)