How to: Quickly Save + Access Saved Mail Draft on iPhone, iPad, & iPod touch

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
By OP Editor

Hidden shortcut of iOS Mail app, for the email power user.

Quickly Save Access Saved iPhone Mail Draft

Lukas Mathis at ignorethecode wrote “Please Steal These webOS Features“:

“On iOS, it’s almost impossible to leave a draft, read another mail, and go back to the draft. It can be done, but it’s ridiculously cumbersome.”

Here’s how to do that quickly.

Q: How to save drafts in iOS Mail App?

A: Just start a new message in Mail, hit “Cancel” then use “Save Draft” (annotation 1). It’ll be saved in your drafts box.

Q: How do I access my last saved email draft on my iDevice?

A: There is the long way, which is using “Mailboxes”, then scroll down to Accounts, select an account, click Drafts, then click on the draft. To go back to unified email inbox, you then have to hit back two times, then select All Inboxes. It’s surely long and tedious.

Short way: hold the Compose button (annotation 2) to bring up your last saved draft.

The shortcut to last draft is saved as long as you don’t restart your device. If you restarted the device, as of iOS 5.0.1, you have to use the long way to access your last draft. Like this tip? Check ObamaPacman for more iOS and Mac tips.

PS. WebOS cards copied the Safari tab switching from 2007.


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Tags: Apple, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Tips & Tricks

18 Responses to “How to: Quickly Save + Access Saved Mail Draft on iPhone, iPad, & iPod touch”

  1. ah.. safari tab switch ‘07. good times. wonder why they threw their baby out with the bath water.

    • Hi choonkeat, Tab switching still in Mobile Safari today.

      Apple tested different versions, including Expose style iPhone multitasking. Apple could have used the mobile Safari styled tab switching for multi-tasking, but Apple probably choose the current method to conserve resources.

      Not sure about current iOS but iOS used to take a screenshot of running app when you switch away. That could been used for app switching preview.

  2. Jeff

    Wow- great hidden tip. Makes me wonder what other tricks iOS maybe still be hiding

  3. An Accident

    Thank you for this.
    On iOS 5.0.1 (at least), this tip only works if at least one recipient (or any text) has been added to any of the To, CC, or BCC fields. If all those fields are empty, pressing and holding the Compose button just creates a new mail.

    I’m not sure when this shortcut was added, but I tested in iOS 3.1.3 on a first-generation iPod touch and it doesn’t seem to work.

    • Alex the Ukrainian

      You don’t have to enter at least one recipient – it’s just that if you save draft and press and hold Compose RIGHT after, it creates new mail. But if you wait just 2 seconds, holding Compose does bring up the draft regardless of whether To/CC/BCC have any content.

      I don’t know why this is so, but you won’t even notice this during normal use since you’ll need at least 1-2 seconds to actually look something up and then go back to drafting.

    • Thanks Alex the Ukrainian, I’ve learned something new today!

  4. Jan

    Unlike the previous replyer I had success testing this in IOS 5.0.1 without entering email adresses. Perhaps it depends on the account where you save your draft. My draft was stored in an Apple email account.

    • An Accident

      Hmm… must be something at my end then. I was using a iCloud email address, iPhone 4S, 5.0.1, and it seemed to only work if one of the recipient fields had text in it.

      I will test more thoroughly, but it is still a good timesaver either way.

    • Hi Jan & An Accident,

      Alex the Ukrainian explained how it worked in comment number 3.1.

  5. cico

    Works in 4.2.1 (airplane mode).. Cool tip!
    Oh and while I’m here, thanks for the stickers ;)

  6. leefx

    EXCELLENT. Thank you!

    I consider myself to be an experienced/power iOS user, and didn’t know about this. Never read this in all the Apple “finger tips” or the “iPhone User Guide” that’s in iOS Safari by default.

    Again, thanks.

  7. Mika

    This still doesn’t work!!!


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