A Guide to Customizing Apple Mail Swipe Actions

A Guide to Customizing Apple Mail Swipe Actions

Learn how to optimize your email management with customized swipe actions in Mac Mail. This guide covers basics to advanced settings.

Alex Simmons

Alex Simmons | Jan 1, 2024 | 6 mins read

According to statistics, an average professional spends 28% of their workday reading and replying to emails. If we assume that you work an average of 8 hours per day, that’s almost two and a half hours per day spent on email management. 

Luckily, most email clients offer special features that allow you to reduce the time you spend managing emails every day. If you’re using Apple Mail as your main email client, you can use its email swipe actions to speed through your inbox. 

However, some users may find the default swipe actions offered by Apple Mail inconvenient to use and may want to customize them to suit their workflow better. In this article, we’ll show you how you can change Apple Mail swipe options to match your preferences and inbox habits.

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What Are Apple Mail Swipe Options? 

Swipe actions in Apple Mail are essentially shortcuts that enable you to perform various tasks without opening the email. By default, Mac Mail provides a set of swipe actions such as delete, archive, and flag when you swipe left or right on an email.  

Swipe actions are only available on the Mail app on your iPhone or iPad. On a MacBook, you typically use the trackpad or mouse for similar actions. You can right-click to access options like marking as read, flagging, moving to junk, moving to folder, archiving, or deleting an email. 

A List of Swipe Actions in Apple Mail

In Apple Mail, you can swipe right or left on an email to perform actions like:

  • Mark as read/unread
  • Remind 
  • Flag
  • Archive
  • Move
  • Delete 

Once you click on More, you can perform even more quick actions, such as:   

  • Reply
  • Reply all
  • Forward
  • Notify me
  • Block sender

Why Customize Mac Mail Swipe Options?  

If you’re happy with Apple Mail’s default swipe options, you can leave them as is. Many users consider it easier to use the default swipe options without changing them. If you’re already used to Apple’s ecosystem, you may prefer to stay with the default settings. 

Even though the default settings are useful, they might not be suitable for everyone. Luckily, Apple Mail allows you to customize them to suit your needs better. 

Here’s why changing Mac Mail swipe options may be convenient for you: 

  • It can help you streamline your workflows: The main reason for adjusting the swipe actions in Apple Mail is to tailor them to your specific workflows and inbox habits. Customizing these actions can help you perform frequent tasks more efficiently, saving you valuable time in the long run.
  • It can help you increase your productivity: By assigning swipe actions that are most relevant to your workflows, you can reduce the time spent on manual email management tasks. This will result in saved time and increased productivity, enabling you to focus on more important priorities throughout the day. 
  • You’ll have a better user experience: There’s nothing more frustrating than poor user experience and bad navigation. Although Apple Mail’s swipe actions are designed to help you speed up your email management tasks, tailoring them to your specific needs and preferences will provide you with an even better user experience and faster navigation. 

How to Customize Apple Mail Swipe Actions

Wondering how you can change Apple Mail’s swipe options? It’s actually pretty simple and can be done in just a few simple steps. 

  • Step 1: Go to the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  • Step 2: Select the Mail app.
  • Step 3: Scroll down to Swipe Options.
  • Step 4: Adjust the swipe options to match your preferences.  

Once you’re in the Swipe Options screen, you’ll be able to adjust the Swipe Left option and the Swipe Right options. However, keep in mind that you won’t be able to change them to anything you want. You can only choose from the available options, which are mark as read, move message, archive, or flag.

And voilá! In just 4 simple steps, you can adjust Apple Mail’s swipe options. After setting your preferred actions, it’s a good idea to test them out. Open your Mac Mail and try swiping on a few emails to ensure the actions work as expected.

Common Issues With Mac Mail Swipe Options 

Customizing swipe actions in Apple Mail can help you streamline your email processes and workflows. However, occasionally, you may encounter issues where these swipe options aren’t working properly. 

Here are some common reasons why your swipe actions might not be behaving as expected.

Outdated Software

Outdated software can often trigger search issues within Apple Mail. While updates are designed to fix bugs and enhance the overall performance of your iPhone or iPad, they can occasionally introduce bugs and glitches that can disrupt the functionality of your apps. 

If you think this is causing an issue with Apple Mail’s swipe actions, ensure your Apple Mail and iOS are always updated to the latest versions. 

Mail App Settings 

If your Mail app settings aren’t configured properly, you may experience issues with Apple Mail on your iPhone or iPad. Check your Mail settings to make sure that swipe actions are enabled and configured correctly. To do that, go to the settings on your iPhone and verify that swipe actions are activated and assigned in the right direction. 

Conflicting Third-Party Apps

Some apps, especially those that manage notifications or have email access, can interfere with Apple Mail. For instance, antivirus software or email management tools might conflict with your settings. Consider disabling these temporarily to see if they are the cause of the issue.

Additionally, apps that use system-wide gestures or shortcuts can inadvertently override or interfere with Apple Mail’s swipe actions. Review the settings of such apps and disable any conflicting gestures or actions that could be affecting the functionality of swipe actions in Apple Mail

App Glitches And Bugs 

Sometimes, temporary glitches or bugs within the Mail app itself can disrupt the functionality of the swipe actions. If you notice that your Mail app isn’t working correctly (for example, it’s irresponsive or freezes a lot), try force quitting it and restarting your phone. If this doesn’t help, try reinstalling the Mail app.  

Tips and Tricks to Effectively Customize Apple Mail Swipe Options 

Although using and customizing the Apple Mail’s swipe options is a straightforward process, there are some things you should keep in mind. Here are some practical tips and tricks to effectively customize your swipe actions. 

Prioritize Key Actions 

When changing the default swipe actions in the Mail app, identify the most frequently used actions in your email workflow. These are the actions you should prioritize when customizing swipe options. For instance, if you often archive and flag emails, you’ll want to have these options available at a quick swipe in either direction.   

Keep Them Consistent With Other Apps

If you’re using other email clients, you may want to keep your workflows consistent. This includes adjusting Apple Mail’s swipe actions to match those in your other email apps. This will help you avoid confusion and keep things consistent.

If you use Apple Mail on multiple devices, such as your iPhone and iPad, you’ll also want to make sure that you adjust the swipe actions the same way on both of those devices.   

Test Your New Swipe Actions & Adjust 

Sometimes, you may need to experiment with different swipe actions to find the optimal configuration that best suits your preferences and workflows. If you find that certain actions aren’t as practical as you thought they would be, adjust them to better match your needs. 

Apple Mail Swipe Actions, the Bottom Line

If you use the Apple Mail app a lot on your iPhone or iPad, swipe actions can be a great way to reduce the time you need to perform all the email-related tasks. 

Although Apple Mail’s swipe actions are designed to help you speed up your email workflows, you may want to adjust them to suit your email management habits better. You can do that in just a few simple steps we outlined in this article. 

Apple Mail Change Swipe Actions, the FAQs

❓How do I change my Apple Mail swipe options on my iPhone?

To customize swipe options in Apple Mail on your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > Mail > Swipe Options. Then, choose your preferred actions for left and right swipes.

❓What does swiping left on Mail do?

Swiping left on an email in Apple Mail on your iPhone or iPad allows you to perform quick actions such as archive, flag, move, or delete the email, depending on your configured swipe options. 

❓Is archive the same as delete?

No, archive and delete are different actions in Apple Mail. Archiving removes the email from your inbox but keeps it stored in the Archive folder. Delete, on the other hand, removes the email from your account altogether and permanently. 

Alex Simmons
Alex Simmons

I have always been fascinated by the world of SaaS and technology. From a young age, I found myself drawn to the endless possibilities that email technology offers. The ability to connect with people across the globe and streamline communication processes is something that truly excites me. As a passionate individual, I am constantly seeking new ways to leverage SaaS and email technology to enhance productivity and drive innovation.

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