Mac Mail reminder links in iOS

I am using Apple Mail, and the feature to be able to share to Reminders, with a link back to the message in Apple Mail, is great. It’s great, also, when the message is downloaded on your iPhone so that the link pulls it up there, too. But it won’t if the email is NOT downloaded to your phone already.

Has anyone figured out a way around this? I have been on one of my semi-annual OCD treks through the various email clients and to-do apps to see if there is a combo that works. I have an Office 365 work account and a gmail personal account. I like using Apple Mail and having a unified inbox, though. So far, I have about concluded that I may be out of luck, but I would love to be corrected!!

So, I’ve had the same issue, and I think I’ve worked out how to make it function reliably.

First I had to make sure that, if I moved the email to a folder and out of the inbox on my Office 365 account, I had to make sure that mail on iOS and iPadOS were subscribed to that folder. I did that my going to Settings > Mail > Accounts > Fetch New Data (Push) > “Account Name” > and the selecting all the folders I wanted to sync. (I sync 1 Month back, that seems to be enough for me.)

Then, and this is probably a bug because it shouldn’t be needed in my opinion, I have go to on the device and make sure the list of folders on the account is expanded. (I don’t know why this is necessary, but in my experience it is.) Once I do that, I’m able to access the linked emails. This is necessary on both iOS and iPadOS.

And for what it’s worth, that works in either Reminders or in Omnifocus (if I forward emails to its Mail Drop service.)

No, but not for a lack of trying. As I recall a flagged email is treated as a task by Outlook & Microsoft to Do. And there are ways to sync Microsoft to Do with Apple reminders..

The Gmail iOS email app has a button that links messages with Google Tasks and there are apps which claim to link Google Tasks with Apple reminders. But I don’t like giving my login credentials to 3rd party solutions.

When an email arrives I tap “Add to Tasks”, archive it, and add time/date/details to the Task when I have time. Google Tasks isn’t as feature rich as Apple Reminders so my solution is to use both. I use Apple Reminders for routine and location based tasks, etc., and with Siri when it decides to work.

Fortunately all my Apple devices will alert me to notifications from Tasks and Reminders, and I have Apple & Google widgets on my main screen of my iPhone & iPad.

Ultimately the only answer is for Apple to create an integrated solution.

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I didn’t thank you for this earlier, but thank you! Out of curiosity, do you create a separate folder for those links? My default is to do inbox zero and then Archive everything. I guess what happens is once more than 30 days or so go by, then the older linked emails would probably get deleted off my iphone. Whereas, I think in my experience if they are in some separate, named subfolder, they will stay indefinitely once saved.

Based on this, I briefly created subfolders called “linked mails” (one in Office 365 and one in Gmail). Then decided that was too clunky and deleted them. But now I am thinking that’s the only foolproof way to not have them “disappear” from the phone after 30 days…

Just wondering how you handled. As you say, if within 30 days is all you generally need, then this shouldn’t be a problem. But I have been known to defer something for 60 days or longer…

I don’t keep a separate folder for the links, though I’ve thought about that… something like “in process” or “active” or something like that. But my way, just filing the emails as I do by responsibility area, once they’re out of the inbox, and linked, I don’t have to touch them again. I use the inbox zero model as well - it helps me make sure I’ve done “something” with each incoming email.

If it goes beyond 30 days, then I just do a quick search for the subject line in mail. That surfaces the email pretty quickly. I guess it’s my punishment for letting the action languish that long…

If that’s not something you want to do, and if you have enough storage on your iPad or iPhone, you can set Mail to keep the entire folder, not just the last month. I have the space, but it’s just not something I’ve had to worry about honestly so I haven’t changed that setting.

Yeah - that makes sense. Honestly, I get into testing/“proof of concept” mode, which in this case involves this “what if” scenario of wanting my iOS reminders app to be able to pull up the mail link instantly even if it’s gone beyond 30 days. So, I think about all these extra steps (moving into a separate folder that I keep synced on the phone), JUST for that possibility. Probably more hassle to do that every time i set up an email reminder, than to just search for it on the phone if that happens…Not to mention most of the time when it comes time to do whatever this snoozed email requires, I will probably be at my Mac anyway…

I am also a recent convert to Sanebox, and am using their snooze folders for things like snooze for an hour, a day, or a week. They have the Reminders feature also that lets you forward the email with a specific reminder “e.g.,” I am still trying to decide if I like that better or like the Apple Reminders link function better…

Two things:

  1. I’ve found that if my initial tap on a link to an email fails to pull up the email because it has not been downloaded to my phone, tapping on the link a second time after a few seconds tends to get the email to pop up. I believe the first tap causes Mail to attempt to download the email from the server and that the link will work once Mail has completed that task.

  2. I did not know about having to “subscribe” to the folders in the iPhone. Turns out I only had a couple of folders checked. I’ve now checked them all and hope/expect that this will result in better search results and linking—thanks!

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