How to only get relevant email notifications on your iPhone

In this post, I will show you how to restrict email notifications for only a select group of people, called VIPs, on your iPhone.

This tip is useful if you want to:

  • remove all email notifications except for VIPs

  • quickly access email conversations from a small group of people

  • be able to customise email notifications for loved ones or important relatives

What is even better is that the VIP list is synchronised across multiple devices via iCloud.

Please note that to take advantage of this feature, your iPhone needs to run at least iOS 6.

Step 1: Select your VIPs

To make one of your email contact a VIP, you can do it in 2 ways:

Method 1: Directly from one of the email received from that person

  1. Open the Mail app

  2. Navigate to and open a recent email from the chosen contact

  3. Tap on the sender's name (top part of the email message)

  4. Then tap on "Add to VIP"

  5. Tap on "Message" (top left)

  6. You should see a grey star (★) next to the VIP name (left side)

MP10 - iOS 12 iPhone X - Configure E-mail VIP Annotated 800px.png

Note: To remove a VIP, follow steps 1 through 3, then tap on "Remove from VIP"

Method 2: By accessing the ★ VIP mailbox

  1. Open the Mail Applications

  2. Tap on the top left until you reach the “Mailboxes” view

    1. If you’ve never configured VIP, just tap on it

    2. If you already have at least 1 VIP, tap on the blue (i) button


3. On the next screen, tap on "Add VIP"

4. Select or use the search field

5. Tap on the contact that you'd like to add to the VIP list

MP10 - iOS 12 iPhone X - Add VIP from the VIP mailbox Annotated 800px.png

To remove VIPs, you can:

  • either swipe left on it and tap on “Remove”

  • or tap on "Edit" (top right), then on the "No entry" sign ⛔️, then on "Delete"

MP10 - iOS 12 iPhone X - Remove VIP from the VIP mailbox Annotated 1066px.png

Step 2: Customise VIP alerts

Now that you have assigned a few contacts to the VIP list, wouldn't it be nice to be able to customise the email notifications? 

To do so:

  1. Open Mail 

  2. Tap on the blue button with the i inside next to the VIP list

  3. Tap on "VIP Alerts"

  4. Customise the various options

MP10 - iOS 12 - iPhone 8 - Customise VIP alerts Annotated 500px.png

Step 3: Disable email notifications except for VIPs

Having a VIP list makes it possible to filter email notifications only for VIPs:

  1. Open the Settings app

  2. Tap on "Notifications"

  3. Scroll down and tap on "Mail"

  4. Activate "Allow Notifications" if needed

  5. For each individual email account:

    1. Tap on its name

    2. Either toggle OFF all notifications or keep the bare minimum (Badges or Notification Centre for instance)

    3. Tap on “Mail” (top left) to get back one level

MP10 - iOS 12 - iPhone 8 - Minimise notifications for non-VIP Annotated 800px.png

If you turned OFF the badges for everything except for VIPs, then the number on the top right corner of the Mail icon might become useful and meaningful once again 🙂

And you, how did you configure your email notifications and badges on your iPhone?

Please let me know in the comments below!

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