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Mail in iOS 9: Three huge changes that make email less awful

Caitlin McGarry | Sept. 17, 2015
Document attachments, intelligent search, and multitasking features make Mail more useful than ever.

ios 9 mail picture in picture
Credit: Apple

Apple’s native Mail app didn’t get the makeover in iOS 9 that Notes and Maps did, but it did get a few tweaks that will make managing your email less of a headache. Plus, Mail reaps the benefits of iOS 9’s multitasking features for the iPad, which are game-changing on their own. Here are the biggest changes you can expect in iOS 9’s updated Mail app. 


The biggest change is the long-awaited support for file attachments. Now you can attach a document with a long press in the body of a message. Before, your only option to add files to emails was to insert videos and photos. You can also save attachments by pressing on the file until the share sheet pops up with a new option, “Save attachment.” You can save to iCloud Drive or other locations, like Dropbox, Google Drive, or another cloud storage locker (if you have those apps installed). You can only select one file at a time to add, which is mildly annoying, but if you’re trying to attach several files to one email, you’re better off sharing a folder with the recipient.

ios 9 mail attachment
iOS 9 brings document attachments to Mail. Before, you could only insert photos and videos.

Proactive search

Apple is finally reaching its goal of turning your iPhone, with the help of Spotlight and Siri, into the best digital assistant around. In iOS 9, the search bar now turns up results from Mail, like documents and contacts, when you enter in keywords. The ability for search and Siri to tap into Mail gets even more useful when a strange number calls you—Siri will jump into your email to see if the digits match any in your inbox. If someone sends you an email with a phone number, you can now easily add it to Contacts to prevent that unknown number issue.

ios 9 mail search
Apple’s new intelligent search initiative in iOS 9 combs through your email to bring up search results.


The trio of multitasking tools iOS 9 brings to the iPad are pretty amazing in general, but they give Mail specifically a big boost in terms of productivity. Sadly, you can only tap into these features on the iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Pro, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, and iPad mini 4 (and Split View is limited to the iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro). But if you have a late-model iPad, multitasking with Mail is about to change your work routine.


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