How to Mark Email Unread in iPhone Mail

Use the iPhone Mail app's features to tame your inbox

One unread e-mail message concept with computer keyboard and e-mail symbol on wooden cube

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Although iOS Mail automatically marks messages as read after you view them, you can manually mark one or more messages as unread. Unread email in the iOS Mail app for iPhone and iPad appears with a blue circular indicator next to it in the mailbox. Email in the mailbox or a folder without that blue indicator has been opened. If you occasionally open an email and want to mark it as unopened for later, mark it as unread in the Mail app.

Information in this article applies to iPhones and other iOS devices running iOS 12, iOS 11, or iOS 10.

Mark an Email as Unread in iOS Mail App

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

  1. Open the Mail app, go to the inbox, and tap a read message to open it. Messages that have been opened or read do not have a blue indicator next to them.

  2. Go to the message toolbar and tap the Flag button. The toolbar is at the bottom of the iPhone and at the top of the iPad Mail app.

  3. Select Mark as Unread.

    Email, Flag button, Mark as Unread in iOS Mail app

When you return to the inbox, the message has a blue indicator that identifies it as unread. The message remains in the mailbox until you move it or delete it. It displays the blue indicator 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 inbox or folder that contains the messages you want to mark as unread.

  2. Tap Edit to display an empty circular button next to each email.

  3. Tap each circular button in front of the read messages — those without the blue unread indicator — that you want to mark as unread. A white check mark appears in the circular button.

  4. Tap Mark.

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

    Edit button, checkbox, Mark as Unread button in iOS Mail

If all the emails in the inbox have been opened, you don't need to make a selection. Scroll to the bottom of the inbox, select Mark All, then tap Mark as Unread. All the emails are assigned a blue indicator showing they are unread.