Apple iOS 5 Mail: Now Includes Text Formatting in Messages

A new features in iOS 5 not talked about much is formatting text in email messages. It’s basic formatting tools, but better than previous plain text emails. Here’s how to find and use this hidden gem.

If you’re new to iOS, check out how to setup an email account. Open Mail and start a new message. Then highlight the the text you want to format by dragging you finger over it. Release the text and the Cut, Copy or Paste menu comes up. Tap the right arrow.

highlight Text

The new formatting options will come up. Tap the button with the formatting icons.

Formatting options

You can use Bold, Italics, and underline text. Here’s an example of all three formatting options.

format examples

If you want to format an entire message, hold your finger down on text until you see the magnifier.


Take your finger off the screen. Then tap Select All from the menu.
select all menu

Now follow the same steps to format it how you like.

select all

Another cool formatting feature is increasing and decreasing the Quote Level. It puts indentations in a block of text. It’s located next to the formatting button.

quote level

Tap Quote Level and you’ll be able to increase or decrease the number of indentations. This is similar to creating block quotes in documents.

increase indent

You can use the formatting feature when creating a custom signature too.

format signature

The screenshots here were taken from my iPad 2 – but the formatting feature in iOS 5 Mail works on the iPhone and iPod touch too.

ipod format




  1. Spencer

    October 16, 2011 at 8:02 am

    Awesome! It’s about time. Thnx Brian.

  2. Ines

    October 17, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Thanks! Very Helpful! Been searching for this all day!

  3. Emily

    January 26, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Thank you for,explaining clearly how to use this feature.

    • Steve Krause

      January 27, 2012 at 8:17 am

      @Emily – You are very welcome! Welcome to groovyPost!

  4. Peshko

    March 9, 2012 at 3:13 am

    Apple Mail has a huge issue!!!! Here is the symptom:

    I have an account in my mail that is set up as an exchange account (google apps). If I try to send an email, it wraps the line to 64 characters. The emails on the receiving end look horrible!

    If I set up the same account as an imap account, I don’t have the same wrapping issue.

    This is awful and yes I run the latest iOS 5.1!

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