Vacation’s starting today and I’ll get around to a post I wanted to do a while back. These screenshots I took show that I’m around two weeks late…
And though I think this will prevent a lot of stinkeye, this is also a plug for the stuff I work on. You’ve been warned.
In iOS 6, we introduced VIPs to Mail. It’s a way to let users mark folks they’re in contact with as VIPs and they get a little star by them in the message list to make their email easier to find when scrolling. There’s also a folder with just your mail from VIPs.
If you get a lot of email but want to have the email from people you care about highlighted, this is a great way to sort that out.
This list of contacts is also synced across your Apple devices too – iPhones, iPads, Macs…
But what really made this feature a lifestyle changer for me was that we set it up so only VIP mail gets on your lockscreen. Why is that useful? Well, folks have gotten in the habit of checking email to see if anything important or urgent has come up. Sometimes there is info that trumps whatever meeting you’re in, or lunch. And folks tend to work even when they’re not in the office. All of that is fine.
Except that it is a tough habit to stop. When you’re having dinner with others, it’d be great if you didn’t check your phone at all, but it’s a bit nicer if when you do it, you can do it quickly and without getting too distracted.
If you set up your VIP list right and you set it up so any VIP mail is on your lockscreen – you can just turn your phone on and if there is no mail from your VIPs, your lockscreen will have no mail items. Done. Now get back to dinner!
When I talk to people though, lots want it, but no one has known about it, much less, how to set it up.
Here’s how you do it.
- Tap on a email from someone important to you. Tap on the blue dot around their name. You should get a contact card for them, and at the bottom, the option to add them to your VIP list. Tap that. (It’ll turn into an option to remove them from your VIP list if you change your mind later on…)
- Now that they are added, your messages from them will be starred. That’s great. Your VIP folder will include mail in your inbox from them. Super nice.
- The finishing touch is to go into settings and tweak our notification settings for mail to make messages from VIPs (and only VIPs) pop up on the lock screen. Start in settings, choose “Notification Center” and then in that list of apps, find Mail. How you have things set up right now will determine where your Mail item is. Mine was in the “Not in Notification Center” section.
- Tap on Mail. You’ll get a list of your accounts and then a section at the bottom specifically for VIPs.
- Choose the VIPs section – its settings override all the others, so we don’t need to mess around with those. In the VIP section the top switch (not pictured) determines if you want your VIPs in Notification Center or not. I choose not to. Next you choose what type of alert you want from VIPs. I choose banners. So if I get mail from a VIP while I am playing Carcassonne, a little banner will roll at the top of the screen letting me know that. Sometimes it can be more important than the Carcassonne game. Sometimes. If you want your unread count to be on the Mail icon, have “Badge App Icon” on. You can choose a sound for when new VIP mail comes if you want that. I choose none. If you want a preview of your mail, you can enable that. And the most important thing comes last. Enable “View in lock screen”. That puts the banners of your new mail in your lockscreen while you are enjoying dinner.
- Now, your lockscreen will light up only when you get mail from VIPs in your mail life. Perfect.
- And if you want to jump directly to one of those messages, instead of sliding the slider at the bottom, slide the mail icon next to the message you want to open up.
Hope this helps and that you have a good holiday, with less stink eye from those that you should be paying attention to, even if you’ve heard that story they’re telling before.
Especially if it is my story…