How to Set Up iPhone Email

Add one or more email addresses to your phone

iPhone screen with email app highlighted

cnythzl/iStock Unreleased/Getty Images


The Mail app that comes pre-installed on every iPhone makes it easy to stay in touch with friends, family, and business contacts via email. You just need to add an email address (or multiple emails) on your iPhone to stay connected. Luckily, that's really easy to do.

This article provides step-by-step instructions for how to set up email on an iPhone directly on the device and adds some bonus tips about key iPhone settings.

These instructions apply to any device running iOS 12, which is compatible with iPhone 5s and newer.

Before you begin, make sure that you've signed up for an email account (practically any email account will work, but some of the big options include Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Outlook, etc). You can also create an iCloud email right on the device, if you prefer. 

How to Set Up Email On An iPhone

screenshot: setting up iPhone email

Once you've got an email address ready (or if you want to use an iCloud account), grab your iPhone and follow these steps:

  1. Tap the Mail app in the bottom row of icons on your home screen.
  2. If you've never set up an email address on this iPhone, keep reading. If you've already got at least one account set up, skip to the set of instructions at the bottom of this section.
  3. Tap on the kind of email address you have. You can choose from common ones like Exchange, Yahoo, Gmail, and AOL, or something else by tapping Other.
  4. From here, follow the onscreen prompts. The exact steps for setting up your email will depend on the kind of account you have (the steps for Gmail are different than for Yahoo, etc). Generally speaking, you'll need to enter your name, the email address you set up previously, and the password you created for your email account. Then tap the Next button in the top right corner.
  5. The iPhone automatically checks your email account to ensure you've entered the correct information. If so, checkmarks appear next to each item and you'll be taken to the next screen. If not, it will indicate where you need to correct information.
  6. You can also sync calendars and notes that may be stored along with your email. Move the sliders to On if you want to sync them, though it's not necessary. Tap the Next button.
  7. You'll then be taken to your email inbox, where messages will immediately download from your account to your phone (if you have any waiting).

If you've already set up at least one email account on your phone and want to add another, do the following:

  1. Tap the Settings app on your home screen.
  2. Scroll down to Accounts & Passwords (or, on older versions of the iOS, Mail, Contacts, Calendars) and tap it.
  3. You'll see a list of the accounts already set up on your phone. At the bottom of the list, tap Add Account.
  4. From there, follow the process for adding a new account detailed above.

In the past, it was possible to sync email address configurations from your desktop computer to your iPhone using iTunes. This option was removed from both iTunes and the iPhone in recent years. The process listed above is now the only way to set up new email accounts on an iPhone.

How to Select A Default Account

If you've got more than one email account set up on your iPhone, you'll also want to make sure to choose which one you want to use as your default for sending outgoing messages. To do this:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Mail.
  3. Tap Default Account.
  4. Tap the account you want to use as the default.

Those two settings only scratch the surface of the options you have. To learn all about iPhone email settings, read What Do the iPhone Email Settings Do?

How to Edit iPhone Email Signature and Other Settings

screenshot: iPhone email settings

Once you've got your email account set up, there are a few settings you may want to customize to make your iPhone just the way you want it. 

One of these settings is your email signature. By default, all emails sent from your iPhone include "Sent from my iPhone" as a signature at the end of each message. But you can change that:

  1. Tap the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down to Mail (or, on older versions of the iOS, Mail, Contacts, Calendars) and tap it.
  3. Scroll down until you see Signature. Tap it.
  4. This shows your current signature. Edit the text there to change it (you can choose to apply the change to All Accounts or have different signatures Per Account by tapping those options).
  5. There's no need to save the change. Just tap the Mail button in top left corner to save your changes.

Learn More About Using iPhone Email

Managing iPhone email
image credit: UpperCut Images/Getty Images

There's a lot to learn about how to use the Mail to send and manage your email. To become an email power user, check out these articles: