Inside iOS 7: Mail gets advanced gesture support and reworked UI

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Although not as striking a change as some other first party apps in iOS 7, Apple's makeover of Mail offers a number of usability changes that are welcome improvements over its predecessor, including gesture controls and a cleaner layout.

Mail


Mail in iOS 7 continues Apple's theme of an uncluttered look with maximum usability, made effective by a predominantly white background behind thin black text. Popping out from the monochrome design are blue circles demarcating unread messages, and orange circles or flags for flagged content.

Mail


Starting from the Account Setup page in iOS 7 Settings, things are already a bit different. For the first time, users have a way to easily add multiple "From" addresses to one IMAP or POP account, instead of listing out each one in a single text field. With the new system, users can also choose a default account from which emails are sent directly from the Settings menu.

Additionally, iOS 7 now lets users choose whether to send a deleted IMAP or POP account message to the "Archive" folder. Previously, only iCloud supported archiving, though attached Gmail accounts had a similar method that would send messages to the "All Mail" tab in Mail.

Mail


Moving to the Mail app itself, the home screen is spartan, but not uninviting. Small tweaks have been made to the Inbox layout, like truncated message string separation bars that don't run across the full width of the display, but stop at the left border of the email title text. filling in the dead space are the aforementioned unread and flagged message symbols, making them even more visible.

Mail


Also changed are the small gray boxes showing the number of messages in a conversation. Instead, Mail in iOS 7 shows either on or two right-facing chevrons, respectively denoting a single email or a message string. A quick way to check how many emails are in a conversation is to use the newly implemented gesture controls to slide a message tile to the left as seen below.

On the subject of gestures, Apple has moved to more animated swipe controls, such as those found in the iOS Gmail client Mailbox. Swiping left now reveals a "More" button as well as a "Trash" button, the latter showing how many messages will be trashed. Selecting "More" brings up a contextual menu from the bottom of the screen in which users can directly reply, forward, flag, mark as unread or move an email.

Mail


In the opposite direction, swiping right from off screen will trigger the "go back" action present in other iOS 7 apps like Safari, making it easier to navigate between both emails and inboxes.

Unique to iOS 7 is the "Move to Junk" selection, which previously required an extra step after selecting "Move Message" when viewing an email. Moving messages now triggers an animation that brings up the account to which an email was sent, with a small thumbnail of the email displayed above the various account folders. Alternatively, users can still move the message to any other attached account by selecting "Accounts" at the top left of the screen.

Other graphical changes to Mail's Inbox screen include the nixing of iOS 6's "gummy" pull-to-refresh icon, which is replaced by the spinning wheel as used elsewhere in Apple's mobile OS.

Searching has also been enhanced, with the text input field still located near the top of any Mail window. Entering a query results in the dynamic search of all mailboxes, or just the currently active mailbox, with search terms highlighted in bold lettering.

Mail


Finally, Mail now includes a "shake-to-undo" feature that can restore messages mistakenly archived or sent to trash. In the current iOS 6, shake-to-undo applies only to text.

Mail


Overall, Mail hasn't been greatly changed, but the revisions and small feature additions in iOS 7 are proving to be quite useful. More importantly, the implementation makes the process of sifting through numerous emails less challenging, while the layout is devoid of unnecessary eye candy.

It is unknown what will stick and what will be augmented or added in future betas, though Mail is shaping up to be a strong addition to Apple's built-in app stable.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 60
    gordygordy Posts: 1,004member
    These colors are very, um, strange. Just seems like a dramatic departure from the current app.
  • Reply 2 of 60
    ddawson100ddawson100 Posts: 479member
    Mail evolves. That's nice. The current mailbox app feels like a dated POP client. I'm glad the current one has the swipe to delete but it needs more.

    Other nice features might be Open In -> Calendar or Notes or something. Right now if I want a message to interact with another app I have to copy the text but that leaves out sender info and other helpful context.
  • Reply 3 of 60
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,502member
    Email on any mobile device or tablet still blows chunks compared to OS X or other full-fledge client mail app.
  • Reply 4 of 60
    larryalarrya Posts: 582member
    Looks Ok, but that new smudged font sure is hard to read :-)
  • Reply 5 of 60
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    That i what im affraid of with iOS 7! too much make it pretty and not enough real improvements. Sad because mail should be easy.
    Email on any mobile device or tablet still blows chunks compared to OS X or other full-fledge client mail app.
  • Reply 6 of 60
    dunksdunks Posts: 1,254member


    All welcome changes.


     


    It would be nice to see flagging beefed up into full label support (as in Gmail). It's useful to mark bills as "Paid" for instance and have this separate from other uses of a flag. I have to use the Gmail client app for this but it's not particularly nice.

  • Reply 7 of 60
    abazigalabazigal Posts: 114member
    The new swipe system still seems more cumbersome compared to how mailbox does it. So to move an email, I need 2 separate taps, compared to 1 fluid swipe by mailbox.

    If iOS doesn't support push gmail for the iPhone 5s, I see little reason to go back to it.
  • Reply 8 of 60
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,383member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post



    That i what im affraid of with iOS 7! too much make it pretty and not enough real improvements. Sad because mail should be easy.


    WHy don't you collect your ideas, suggestions and submit a feedback submission to Apple?



    Here's the link.


     


    http://www.apple.com/feedback/


     


    I use it all of the time when I have an idea or thought about a product.  And guess what?  they actually implement a lot of them. They actually do read every submission.

  • Reply 9 of 60


    The author and his friend speak in fractal.....must be aliens

  • Reply 10 of 60
    lanceh5lanceh5 Posts: 37member
    This iOS look frail and sickly, like being in a hospital recovery room. It should have colors of a flower garden or vegetable garden.
  • Reply 11 of 60
    tt92618tt92618 Posts: 444member


    Wow.  Just.... wow.

  • Reply 12 of 60
    wizard69 wrote: »
    That i what im affraid of with iOS 7! too much make it pretty and not enough real improvements. Sad because mail should be easy.

    The real improvements are "under the hood" with 1500 new APIs. You're complaining about the paint job before you sit in the care, open the the hood and trunk, or turn on the stereo/GPS.

    The iPhone OS 1 in 2007 was alien to everyone back then too. "No Keyboard" Fail!!! Look at the industry now.
  • Reply 13 of 60
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GadgetCanadaV2 View Post


    The author and his friend speak in fractal.....must be aliens



     


    Yeah, nothing personal to the author, but most of the screenshots in the article are illegible and literally show nothing at all.  Most of the interesting new features described in the text, don't have screenshots to show off those features.  


     


    What's the point?  A verbal description would be better than these horrible snaps.  

  • Reply 14 of 60
    cash907cash907 Posts: 893member


    Honestly I'm not in love with the changes. I'm used to swiping left to right to delete, and now it's the opposite. I'm glad they added gesture control, but why in the heck did the reverse a control scheme we've used for years and grown accustomed to? It doesn't add anything, so why? It's the equivalent of switching the brake and accelerator pedals just for the heck of it.

  • Reply 15 of 60
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by drblank View Post


    WHy don't you collect your ideas, suggestions and submit a feedback submission to Apple?



    Here's the link.


     


    http://www.apple.com/feedback/


     


    I use it all of the time when I have an idea or thought about a product.  And guess what?  they actually implement a lot of them. They actually do read every submission.



     


    Good advice, but they don't actually have a link for "iOS" or "OS X" do they?  image

  • Reply 16 of 60
    ascottascott Posts: 5member
    Apple is way behind in allowing users to assign a different signature line to outgoing mail from different accounts. I was hoping this update would finally address this deficiency.
  • Reply 17 of 60
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post


    Honestly I'm not in love with the changes. I'm used to swiping left to right to delete, and now it's the opposite. I'm glad they added gesture control, but why in the heck did the reverse a control scheme we've used for years and grown accustomed to? It doesn't add anything, so why? It's the equivalent of switching the brake and accelerator pedals just for the heck of it.



     


    Because Ive.  


     


    That's all you have to say now when something looks stupid with the new OS. 


     


    Still hating the extremely poorly designed, confusing, ugly "back buttons" (that aren't actually buttons) myself.  Replacing one of the best design elements ever with one of the worst ever. 

  • Reply 18 of 60
    poksipoksi Posts: 482member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tt92618 View Post


    Wow.  Just.... wow.



     


    wow? wow, wow? wow, wow, wow? wow, wow?


     


    see, I do have a point as well....

  • Reply 19 of 60
    poksipoksi Posts: 482member


    looks like web page. with rational reason, or just Ive's madness. time will tell :)

  • Reply 20 of 60
    adamcadamc Posts: 582member
    lanceh5 wrote: »
    This iOS look frail and sickly, like being in a hospital recovery room. It should have colors of a flower garden or vegetable garden.

    I find it looking great, simple and easy to use.

    But what do I know just a user and not a power one.
Sign In or Register to comment.