How to Read E-mail on Your iPad - dummies

How to Read E-mail on Your iPad

By Edward C. Baig, Bob LeVitus

To read your iPad mail, tap the Mail icon on the Home screen. Remember that what appears on the screen depends on whether you’re holding the iPad in landscape or portrait mode, and what was on the screen the last time you opened the Mail app:

  • Landscape: Held in landscape mode, you see All Inboxes at the top of the Inboxes section, which as its name suggests, is a repository for all the messages across all your accounts. The number to the right of All Inboxes (22 in the figure) matches the number on the Mail icon on your Home page. Again, it’s the cumulative tally of unread messages across all your accounts.

    Below the All Inboxes listing are the inboxes for your individual accounts. The number to the right of them, as you’d expect, is the number of unread messages in those accounts (19 in Gmail and 3 in iCloud in the figure).

    If you tap an account, you see the available subfolders for that account (Drafts, Sent Mail, Trash, and so on).

    Depending on the last time the Mail app was open, you may alternatively see previews of the actual messages in your inbox in the left panel mentioned previously. Previews show the name of the sender, the subject header, and the first two lines of the message. (In Settings, you can change the number of lines shown in the preview from one line to five. Or, you can show no preview lines.)


  • Portrait: When you hold the iPad in portrait mode, the last incoming message fills the entire screen. This figure shows this view. You have to tap an Inbox button (in the upper-left corner of the screen) to summon a panel that shows other accounts or message previews. These overlay the message that otherwise fills the screen.


Messages display in threads, or conversations, making them easy to follow. Of course, you can still view accounts individually. Follow these steps to read your e-mail:

  1. If the e-mail mailbox you want to see isn’t front and center, tap the Mailboxes button in the upper-left corner of the screen to summon the appropriate one.

    Again, this button may say Inbox or some other folder name, and it may say the name of the e-mail account that is currently open. Within an e-mail account, you can see the number of unread messages in each mailbox.

  2. (Optional) Tap the Check for New Messages icon to summon new messages.

  3. Tap one of the inboxes or accounts to check for any new messages within those mailboxes. To summon the unified inbox, tap All Inboxes instead.

    If a blue dot appears next to a message, the message hasn’t been read. When you open a mailbox by tapping it, the iPad displays the number of “recent” messages that you specify in Settings — 50 by default, though you can display up to 200. To see more than the number you specified, tap Load Additional Messages.

  4. Tap a message to read it.

  5. Read additional messages.

    When a message is on the screen, the buttons for managing incoming messages appear at the top, most of which you’re already familiar with.

    • In portrait mode, tap the up/down arrows that correspond to the next or previous message.

    • In landscape mode (and from within an account), tap a preview listing to the left of a message to read the next or previous message or any other visible message on the list. Scroll up or down to find other messages you may want to read.

A number next to one of the previews indicates the number of related messages in a thread.

Under a thread, only the first message of the conversation displays in the inbox. Tap that message to reveal all the messages that are part of the thread. You can turn off message threading by choosing Settings→Mail, Contacts, Calendars. Then tap Organize by Thread to toggle the setting on or off, depending on your preference.