The Quick Way to Mark Messages as Unread in iPhone Mail

Use the Mail app's features to tame your inbox

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Unread email in the iOS Mail app for iPhone and iPad appears with a blue button next to it in the mailbox. All other emails in the mailbox or in a folder without that blue button have been opened. You may or may not have read the email though. 

Just because the Mail app showed you the message doesn't mean you read it. Maybe you tapped an email by mistake or the Mail app opened it automatically after you deleted another message, or you just want to keep a message highlighted to deal with it later.

Don't worry. It's easy to mark individual emails as unread.

Mark an Email as Unread in iOS Mail App

To mark an email message in your iPhone or iPad Mail inbox (or any other folder) as unread:

  1. Open the Mail app by tapping it on the Home screen.
  2. Tap on a mailbox in the Mailboxes screen. If you use only one mailbox, it will open automatically.
  3. Tap a message in your Mail inbox to open it.
  4. Tap the flag button in the message's toolbar. The toolbar is at the bottom of the iPhone and at the top of the iPad.
  5. Select Mark as Unread from the menu that appears.

The message remains in the mailbox until you move it or delete it. It displays the blue button until you open it.

Mark Multiple Messages as Unread

You don't have to deal with emails one at a time. You can batch them and then take action:

  1. Go to the Mailbox or folder that contains the messages you want to mark unread.
  2. Tap Edit in the top right corner.
  3. Tap each of the messages you want to mark unread so that the white-on-blue check mark appears in front of it.
  1. Tap Mark at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Select Mark as Unread to mark the checked emails as unread.

If you use this method to select unread messages (the ones with a blue button next to them), the option in the selection queue is  Mark as Read. Other options include Flag and Move to Junk.

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