It can be difficult to stay focused on a specific task in the Mail app when you keep getting distracted by incoming messages. Fortunately, you can reduce these distractions using the Filter feature that Apple added in macOS 10.12 Sierra and iOS 10—and you can look forward to working with it in the upcoming 10.13 High Sierra and iOS 11.
These filters are different from filters in other email programs that move messages between mailboxes—those are equivalent to Mail’s rules. Instead, these filters are more like searches, in that all they do is show messages in the current mailbox that match the filter, hiding everything else. They don’t move or modify messages in any way.
To start using these filters, on the Mac, click the Filter button at the top of the message list in any mailbox, or in iOS, tap the Filter button in the bottom-left corner.
By default, mailboxes show only unread messages. Click or tap Unread to bring up all the preset filter choices, which fall into four categories:
Since you can pick more than one of these options, you can tell Mail to display just unread messages sent to your work email account that have attachments and come from the people who are on your VIP list. Imagine the possibilities!
Once you’ve gone through the filtered list of messages, click or tap the Filter button again (Mail fills it with gray or blue) to remove the filters and see all the messages in the mailbox again. Happily, Mail remembers your filter settings, so enabling filters again returns you to the same focused view you had before.
Twitter: The Filter feature in Mail in both macOS and iOS makes it easy to focus on a subset of messages.
Facebook: If you’re overwhelmed by email, check out the Filter feature in the Mail app in both macOS and iOS to look at just a subset of messages.