I’m really good at managing my inbox (for personal email at least) and rarely leave messages there for keeping. Most emails go in a receipt folder or get deleted, I aggressively unsubscribe to mailing lists and mark spam as junk, and special messages are archived for keeping.

Occasionally I’ll have a message with important information that I don’t need right now and will want to easily reference in the near future. I’ve tried flagging but I don’t entirely understand how the feature is supposed to work between iOS and the Mac.

Usually I just leave the email in my inbox, but what I’d like to do is save the message somewhere with other important information like Apple’s Notes app. Luckily this is possible on iOS, but it’s a bit confusing to discover…

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The brute force method here is screenshot the email and save that image, but most emails are more than one screen in length so that’s not an elegant solution. Instead, you can use Apple’s print-to-PDF feature in iOS 10 to easily save the email to Notes. You just need to know where to look to discover this method.

The most natural way to send an email from Mail to Notes would be having a standard share button ( ) available with Notes as an option when sharing. That would be straightforward enough. Instead, you’ll want to look for the ‘Print’ option which is curiously located behind the Reply button.

Simply find the message that you want to save, tap the Reply button which is the fourth icon on the bottom tab bar, and select Print even though we’re not actually printing anything. From the Printer Options screen, pinch the preview of your message outward with a reverse-pinch gesture.

This activates a new preview screen that includes a standard share button ( ) at the bottom right corner. Tap there to activate the share sheet, then tap Add to Notes. From here you can add text to name your new note or select an existing note for saving your message, then tap Save.

Now over on the Notes app you should find your new or updated note that includes a PDF of the message you wanted to save. You can tap the preview to open it and review it in full, mark it up with drawing and text overlay, or share it somewhere else.

In this case, there’s nothing actionable from the email itself, so I can delete the message from my inbox and reference my notes if I need to remember the information it includes.

Apple could definitely make this more streamlined on iOS, but for now it’s a useful feature that just happens to have a few too many confusing steps. Once you learn it, it’s easy to do again in the future.


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