How To: Set Up The VIP Inbox On iPhone and iPad

How To: Set Up The VIP Inbox On iPhone and iPad

Whether personal or professional, there will be emails from people in your contact list that you just simply can’t miss. However, when they come flooding it with the hordes of other FYI’s, newsletters or updates, sorting through the rubble can be overwhelming.

While there a couple of apps out there dedicated to saving you from the mountain of emails looming over you, Apple have included the VIP Inbox feature into its mail client to try and alleviate the pain of mailbox organisation.

VIP inbox simply highlights incoming emails in a special area of your inbox from contacts you mark as being important. This makes it easier to separate the important emails from the ‘leave for later’ bunch, meaning it’s much easier to keep on top of your email communications. You can also customise notifications, so you instantly know via sounds and visual alerts when emails from your VIP’s arrive in your inbox.

How Do I Set Up The VIP Inbox?

Because the VIP Inbox feature comes part and parcel with iOS 6, all you have to do to start using it is to start marking your contacts as VIP’s.

1. Navigate to the Mail app and hit the blue circle icon with the white right-facing arrow.

2. Tap “Add VIP”.

3. Your contacts list will appear, where you can start choosing contacts (Note: only contacts whose names appear in black text can be selected to be VIP’s. If the name is in grey text, it means you don’t have an email address for that person or they have already been marked as a VIP).

The contacts you selected will automatically be tagged as VIP’s.


How to Set up VIP Inbox iOS - alertsCustomising Notifications For VIP Inbox

The next step is to customise the alert settings for your VIP’s.

Either click on the VIP Alerts button or go to:

Settings > Notifications > Mail > VIP

To access the alert settings. The Notification Center alert settings for VIP inbox will automatically open, which allows you to adjust banners, badges and sounds for your VIP inbox.

How To Get The Best Out Of the VIP Inbox

To really get the most out of the VIP Inbox feature, check out these tips below!

  • Make sure you don’t mark too many people as VIPs. Try to keep it around 6 contacts, as adding too many will defeat the purpose of using the VIP Inbox feature in the first place!
  • Use it to find existing mail from the people you need to. Once you mark a contact as a VIP, your device will search through your inbox and surface their previous messages quickly.
  • You need to be aware that while the VIP Inbox looks through the email messages in all of your emails accounts that have been set up in the Mail app (i.e. Exchange, gmail, Yahoo etc), it does not look at mail stored in archives or other folders.


Should I Use The VIP Inbox?

The VIP Inbox is only really useful if you receive an overwhelming amount of emails and you find yourself frequently missing important emails from a small group of people. It’s also only really useful if you don’t file your emails away in other folders (as the feature only looks at emails in the Inbox across all of your accounts).

If trying to manage your inbox has reached a breaking point and you desperately need to regain some control back, the VIP Inbox is a great interim solution until you find a more comprehensive mail organisation app or once you implement your own email management process.

Removing The VIP Inbox

If you find the VIP Inbox is not for you, unfortunately you cannot remove it. However, you can move it somewhere else out of view such as the bottom of the list of folders in your mail app. To move it, navigate to Mail > Edit  and then drag the handle next to VIP to move the folder where you would like it.


How do you keep on top of your email?