Apple Mail: Flag Messages as Important or Mark as Unread

email mobile ipad feature

To help manage and organize email, iOS includes the ability to flag messages in its Mail app. Here’s how to do it.

Being able to flag an email as important or mark it as unread is a feature in Apple Mail. The new ability to flag an email as important started with iOS 5 and still exists in modern versions like iOS 14. Here’s how to use the flag email feature.

Note: This is just for the Apple Mail app that comes with your iPhone or iPad. If you use a different email client, the steps will be different. For example, you can use these steps to make an email stand out in Outlook.

Flag Email as Important on iOS

Open the Mail app to the Inbox view and tap the Edit button. Then tap the email(s) you want to flag.

Select Email to Flag Apple Mail App

Next, tap the Mark button. Then from the menu that pops up, tap on the Flag button. Note that from here, you can also mark your email as Read or Unread.

mark email flag iPhone

When you open an email that you flagged, when you open the message, there will be an orange flag icon on the email list and in the body of the message.

email flagged

It’s also worth noting that you can also flag a message by swiping it to the left and choosing Flag from the list of options that come up. Or, if it’s already flagged, you can unflag the message if you need to.

email flag archive more iPhone

If you choose the More option from the list, you can use other actions like replying to all, forwarding the message, color-coding it, moving it to the trash, and other options.

Apple Mail Mail More Features

Flagging messages provide you another opportunity to filter them. You can filter your messaged by the ones you flagged. From the Mail app, tap the “Filtered by” button at the bottom. Then, from the menu that comes up, make sure to tap on Filtered.

Sort messaged by flagged

For more on Apple and iOS, read our articles on the basics like setting up an email account in the Mail app. Or take a look at how to change the default email signature.

Or, if you aren’t happy with the default Mail app, you can change it (if you’re running iOS 14 or higher). For more on that, read: How to Change the Default Email App on iPhone.



  1. iUser

    October 18, 2011 at 9:04 am

    So… how do I now see ONLY my flagged messages?
    I dont want to scrol, and scroll, and scroll through all my email to look for flagged messages.

  2. Tony

    October 18, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Yes I can flag it but still need to scroll through to find that flag again!
    Why no search flag function?

  3. Tom

    October 20, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Is this available on iPhone as can only see the make as read option?

    • not

      November 18, 2011 at 10:43 am

      iOS5 only

  4. Tom Moore

    October 27, 2011 at 6:38 am

    Got to be kidding! This should come up in a menu when the message is swiped, as is the case for “Delete”.

  5. Efire1

    August 2, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Great. Now if you could find them. :-(

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