How to Mark Emails as Read or Unread on iPhone

Manage your email in other ways beside deleting or forwarding

Email on an iPhone

MrJayW / Pixabay

With all the emails received every day, keeping an iPhone inbox organized requires a quick way to handle mail. To manage your email inbox, use features in the Mail app that comes with the iPhone (and iPod Touch and iPad) to mark emails as read, unread, or flag messages for later attention.

Instructions in this article apply to devices running iOS 5 and later.

How to Mark iPhone Emails as Read

New emails that haven't been read have blue dots next to them in the Mail Inbox. The number of these unread messages displays on the Mail app icon. Whenever an email is opened in the Mail app, iOS marks it as read. The blue dot disappears, and the number on the Mail app icon declines.

To remove the blue dot without opening the email:

  1. In the Inbox, swipe from left to right across the email to reveal the blue Read button.

    The Mark as Read option on an iPhone
  2. Tap Mark as Read. Or, swipe the message until the icon snaps to the middle of the screen.

    Marking a message as read in Mail on iPhone
  3. When you tap the button or let go of the line, the blue dot disappears, and the message appears as read.

How to Mark Multiple iPhone Emails as Read

To mark multiple messages as read:

  1. In the Mail app, go to the Inbox.

  2. Tap Edit, then tap each email you want to mark as read. A checkmark appears to show that the message is selected.

    Selecting emails to edit on an iPhone
  3. Select Mark.

  4. Tap Mark as Read.

    Marking emails as read on an iPhone
  5. The blue circles disappear from the selected emails.

Mark Emails as Read with IMAP

Sometimes an email system marks messages as read without you doing anything on your iPhone. If any of your email accounts use the IMAP protocol (Gmail uses IMAP), any message you read or mark as read in a desktop or web-based email program also appears as read on the iPhone. IMAP syncs messages and message status across all devices that use those accounts.

How to Mark iPhone Emails as Unread

You may read an email and then decide you want to mark it as unread to remind yourself that you need to come back to it later.

  1. Go to the Inbox.

  2. Tap Edit, then tap each email you want to mark as unread.

    Selecting email messages on an iPhone
  3. Tap Mark, then tap Mark as Unread.

    Marking emails as unread on an iPhone
  4. The blue dots marking these messages as unread reappear.

Just like with marking messages as read, swipe across emails and either tap the Unread button or swipe all the way across.

How to Flag Emails on iPhone

The Mail app also flags messages by adding an orange dot next to the email. Flag emails to remind yourself that a message is important or that you need to take action on it. Flagging (or unflagging) messages is very similar to marking messages.

  1. Go to the Mail app and open the folder that contains the message you want to flag.

  2. Tap Edit, then tap each email you want to flag.

    Selecting email messages on an iPhone
  3. Tap Mark, then select Flag.

    Flagging messages in Mail on iPhone
  4. The messages you selected appear with orange dots next to them.

If you flag an unread message, the blue unread dot displays inside an orange flagged ring.

You can flag multiple messages at once using the same steps as described in the last few sections. You can also flag an email by swiping right to left and tapping the Flag button.

To see a list of flagged emails, tap the Mailboxes button in the upper-left corner to move back to your list of email inboxes. Then tap Flagged.

Having problems sending or receiving email on your iPhone? Learn the possible causes and how to fix problems when iPhone email is not working.