Looking at your email inbox can sometimes be a daunting affair. It only takes a couple of days of not keeping a close eye on the messages piling up in there to turn it into a quagmire of unread adverts, unchecked work contacts and ignored missives from friends. Luckily, there’s an app that can help you get your hundreds of unread messages down to zero in no time flat.
Although it’s a bit more complicated than just tapping ‘mark all as read’. The app in question is called Mailbox. It’s from the company behind Dropbox, and is a clever and simple way to take back control of your email. With a few simple swipes and some clever automation you can make sure you’re reading the mails you need to read, and getting rid of some of the chaff that can build up before you’ve even noticed it’s there. The app is free to download, and once you’ve grabbed it it’s time to start getting to grips with that messy inbox.
Link to Dropbox
The first thing you need to do is link your Mailbox to your Dropbox account to sync across devices. If you’re signed into Dropbox on your phone or tablet it just takes a tap. If you’re not you’ll need to manually enter your details or start up an account.
Connect to your account
Next you’ll need to connect your email account to the app. Only Gmail and iCloud accounts are supported at the moment. Tap on the one you’re using, then sign in using your email address and the password for your account. You might have to accept some permissions too.
Check your settings
Once you’ve done that you’ll be shown some settings relating to your email address, such as aliases and auto sign-in. Have a look through and make sure everything is to your liking, then tap the Return button on the top-right of the screen to be taken to your inbox.
Get to know your inbox
This is what your inbox looks like. The three sections at the top show your main inbox, your archived mail and any messages that you’ve snoozed. There are two other selections as well that you can find by tapping the three-dotted menu button on the left. Tap that now.
Time for a snooze
A short swipe to the left snoozes an email. This moves it out of your inbox for the short term. You can set a specific time or date for it to reappear. It means emails that don’t need immediate attention won’t be clogging your inbox, but won’t get lost either.
Make a list
A long swipe to the left lets you add an email to a list. This lets you group together similar emails outside of the inbox. Lists and snoozed emails are stored in Gmail folders that the app creates for you, so you can find them in different mail apps too.
Make your own list
As well as adding items to the already existing lists, you can create your own. Tap on the add to new list button to start a list with a new name. This is a good way of keeping track of things like non-urgent business emails, or threading together related conversations.
Start automating things
The next step is to start setting the application up so it knows what to do with specific emails as and when they arrive. Go into the body of an email and you’ll see buttons along the top of the screen. Long press on one of these to see some new options.
Say what happens next
You can set a specific action for this particular conversation, or for emails from this sender. You could swipe it straight to the archive, or if you’re using multiple addresses trash the email when it comes in on one, and send it to a list when it comes to another.
Tweak some settings
Head to the Settings menu to tweak around a few settings to make it easier to hit Inbox Zero. The menu gives you some options to have a play with how the various sections of your new email work. First up though you’ll want to tap on the Preferences button.
Mark as read
You want to make sure that the box next to the option that marks emails you swipe away as read is ticked. This will make it obvious that you’ve already dealt with an email and let you concentrate on emails you haven’t looked at. Head back to the Settings menu.