How to "Snooze" Email Using the iOS Mail App

Frustrated with a buggy iPhone, most likely due to years of software and firmware updates without ever restoring my device as new, I decided to treat iOS 10 differently. The chore of restoring an iPhone from scratch is a pain in the ass. Anyone with a million apps installed knows this. So I decided to take this opportunity to revaluate which apps are essential and which apps duplicate functionality and really take a minimalist approach to this restore process. 

The first thing I realized as I began this process is that native apps have come a long way. Year after year, I would continue to install 3rd party favorites and disregard the apps that come standard on every device. The productivity nerd in me just figured that there was always someone out there that could provide me with a better tool for the job. What I’ve come to realize is that more tools and utilities can sometimes negate true efficiency on the iOS platform. Pages of apps, a long list of share extensions, a crowded Notification Center and a whole mess of app updates get in the way of real work. Then you have the chore of setting each app up, linking all the available services, etc..etc. But that’s not all. When it comes time to update to a new device? A restore from an iCloud backup with a couple hundred apps can take several hours and then you have to reset your logins, enter your passwords, blah, blah, blah. Enough already.

With this restore, I have decided to take an entirely new approach. Here were my rules.

  1. With iOS 10, you can remove several of the native apps you don’t ever use from your home screen layout. I did this first. 
  2. Only install apps that I use. 
  3. Only install apps that offer functionality that native apps can not. 

What I came to discover is that if you dig a little and do some thorough exploration, you can find ways to get things done without the help of a 3rd party. What a native app may miss in functionality, you regain in simplicity. This is a tradeoff I’m surprisingly enjoying. And this brings me to the meat of this post. 

I have not used the native iOS Mail app in a loooong time. Ever since the release of Mailbox, I have been an email client nerd in search of the client with the best look and the most bells and whistles. Let’s be honest, Mail in iOS is not the client of a power user. I have bounced around from the aforementioned Mailbox, to Spark, to Airmail, to Spark, to Airmail to Spark and back and forth as each app boasts some new feature that’s going to revolutionize mail on iOS. 

So before installing my new favorite email client of the month, I decided to give iOS Mail a full go. 4 key things were missing for me, all of which can now be checked off the wishlist. (see images below)

  1. The ability to send email to a contact group without having to enter each contact individually (not sure when this became possible, but in iOS 10 it is)
  2. The ability to turn any email into a PDF attachment and share
  3. The ability to pull text from any email and share 
  4. And finally, a “snooze” option

“Snooze” was the big one. Ever since I was introduced to the magnificence of “snoozing” email back when Mailbox was relevant, it has been a staple in my daily quest to reach “Inbox Zero”.

Well guess what? You CAN snooze emails with the native iOS Mail app. And below, I will give you step by step instructions on how to set it up. Please keep in mind that the screenshots below will detail a custom setup for me. While the process is still the same, you will have the ability to tailor things a little more to your taste during the setup process and after setup is complete. 

Ready to get started? Let’s go! 

  1. Open up Reminders on your iPhone and set up a new List called “System”.
  2. Go to the “Settings” app on your iPhone and go to the “Reminders” settings and change the default list to “System”.
  3. Next, open up iOS Mail on your iPhone. Go to your “Mailboxes” view. You will see your mailbox structure. You want to create a new folder called “Snooze”. Do that now by pressing “Edit”, then pressing “New Mailbox”. Then repeat this process for each subfolder as detailed in the screenshot below. You will notice that I put a number to the left of each Snooze mailbox. The reason for this is because iOS naturally lists your mailboxes in alphabetical order. By numbering them, you are able to keep everything chronological. And when you are moving incoming emails to these folders, they will be easy to locate. 
  4. Now for this next step, you are going to want to find a quiet room where you are isolated because you are going to look like an idiot. Don’t worry, it’s temporary. The beauty of this setup is that you only have to do it once:) Starting with the main “Snooze” folder and consequently with every subfolder after it, you are going to set a Reminder via Siri. To do so using the mailbox setup I have pictured in the photo grid below, follow these steps. (Keep in mind that all these times are totally customizable.)
    1. For the main “Snooze” mailbox, open the mailbox so that it looks like the screenshot below. Then, hold down your home button and activate Siri with the following commands. (This mailbox will now become your “Later Today” snooze.)
      1. “Remind me of this every day at 11am.”
      2. “Remind me of this every day at 2pm.”
      3. “Remind me of this every day at 5pm.”
    2. For the Snooze “Tonight” mailbox, open the mailbox. Then, hold down your home button and activate Siri with the following command. (This mailbox will now become your “Evening” snooze.)
      1. “Remind me of this every day at 8pm”
    3. For the Snooze “Tomorrow” mailbox, open the mailbox. Then, hold down your home button and activate Siri with the following command. (This mailbox will now become your “Tomorrow” snooze.)
      1. “Remind me of this every day at 6am”
    4. For the days of the week mailboxes, hold down your home button and activate Siri with the following command. Repeat for every day of the week. 
      1. “Remind me of this every Monday at 6am”
    5. Finally, for the Snooze “Someday” mailbox, you will put all email here you want snoozed for any day in the future past 7 days. For this folder you will open each individual mail and set the appropriate reminders via Siri. 
  5. Now go into the Reminders app and go to your “System” list. Now you can edit the names of all the Snooze reminders so that it is more aesthetically pleasing when you view the list as well as when that Reminder notification pops up. I changed the title of all mine to “Snoozed Email”. 
  6. At this point you can also adjust your snooze times and move these reminders to another list if you prefer. Don’t forget to go back to your Settings app and reset your preferred default Reminders list. 

Other Key Details: 

  • These “snoozes” will work across all Apple devices (Macs, iPhones, iPads) because Reminders and Mail are on all those devices. 
  • You aren’t restricted to snooze “times”. Since you are using Reminders, you can set mail to snooze until you arrive at “work” or at “home”.
  • You can snooze every email if you want. But by setting up the folders, you no longer have to use Siri to snooze email. The Reminder notification will open up every email in the related folder. 
  • If Siri tells you it can’t set a Reminder for the Mail app, force quit Mail, and then try again. It will work. 

This is what “snoozed” email notifications look like when using iOS Mail when using 3D Touch on the notification. It’s not only simple, but it’s elegant and built right it. No 3rd party required. 

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