Quick Way to Mark Messages as Unread in iPhone Mail

Use the Mail app's features to tame your inbox

Human hand using cell phone in outdoor car park at night
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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.

Although iOS Mail automatically marks messages as read after you view them, the app also lets you manually mark one or more messages 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 then tap a message to open it.

  2. 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.

  3. Select Mark as Unread from the menu that appears.

    An email in iOS Mail

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.

  4. Tap Mark at the bottom of the screen.

  5. Select Mark as Unread to mark the checked emails as unread.

    iOS Mail inbox
iOS Mail inbox with several messages selected
Flag menu in iOS Mail

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.