How to schedule emails on the go
What's the hurry? Your messages don't have to go right away.
There are all kinds of reasons why you might want to schedule an email for some point in the future rather than immediately. Perhaps you don’t want to wake up your teammate living in another time zone, or you just don’t want your teacher to know you’ve pulled an all-nighter to finish your essay.
Whatever the reason, scheduling is now readily available in many mobile email apps, including the default platforms on iOS and Android—the Mail and Gmail apps, respectively. Once you know how to do it, you might find scheduling emails comes in handy more often than you expected.
Mail on iOS
Those of you using iPhones will have Apple’s Mail app for iOS already installed on your device. And now, with the arrival of iOS 16, the platform now has email scheduling built in, so you don’t need to rely on a third-party program if you want to delay the sending of your messages. Just make sure the latest software is running on your device.
The same scheduling features are available for new emails and replies. To start a message thread, tap the compose button down in the bottom right corner of the main screen (it looks like a pen writing on a page). If you’re already in an email thread, tap the reply button (the arrow pointing left), and choose Reply or Reply All.
[Related: You can now bring iOS 16’s coolest home screen feature to Android]
Ordinarily, the blue up arrow button (top right) sends the email you’re writing, but if you want to schedule the message instead, tap and hold on the button: You’ll then see a number of options, including Send Now and suggestions for times you may want to schedule the email for. Choose Send Later, and you’ll be able to set a specific date and time for the email to go on its merry way.
A warning—When you schedule a message on iOS keep in mind that the Mail app will save your draft locally on your device, not on Apple’s servers. This means your iPhone needs to be on and connected to the web for the message to go at the appointed time.
To see emails that are currently scheduled (and edit or delete them if you need to), tap Send Later on the main screen of the app.
Gmail on Android (and iOS)
If you’ve got an Android device, you should find Gmail already installed on your phone. If you’ve got an iPhone and the native mail app is not cutting it for you, you’ll find Gmail available for free in the iOS app store. As with Apple’s Mail app, the ability to schedule emails is available whether you’re creating a new email conversation (tap Compose from the main screen) or replying to an existing conversation (tap Reply or Reply all inside a thread).
Just write an email as you normally would, and instead of tapping the blue send arrow in the top right corner of your screen, tap the three dots to the right of it and pick Schedule send. You’ll see that Gmail gives you some suggestions about when to send your message, which will vary depending on the current time and day. On the weekend, for example, you might see the prompt to send the email on Monday morning.
If you want to set your own date and time rather than using one of Gmail’s suggestions, tap Pick date & time. A new dialog box will pop up enabling you to schedule the email as required. Finish up by tapping Schedule send to confirm. Take note of the time zone you’re in—you’ll see it on the dialog—and remember that your recipients might not be in the same one as you.
Gmail users won’t need to worry about having their phones on or having internet access by the time their emails are set to send, as Google’s mail platform handles messages using its servers on the web.
Finally, you can edit your queued-up emails or prevent the app from sending them all together, by tapping the Gmail app menu button (three horizontal lines, top left on the main screen) and selecting Scheduled.
Spark on iOS and Android
One of the third-party email apps that support scheduled sending is Spark, which you can get for free for iOS and Android (as well as other operating systems). This platform comes with a host of useful features, such as automated email prioritization and integrated reminders, although some of these tools require a monthly subscription of $5.
Luckily, you don’t need to pay to schedule emails. From the main Spark interface, you can compose a new message by tapping the button that looks like a pencil down in the bottom right corner of the screen. You can also reply to messages with the reply button, which is the icon showing an arrow pointing left underneath open email conversations (tap on it to pick Reply or Reply All).
[Related: Dig up any old email in your inbox. Even if it’s in the trash.]
After you’ve written your email, instead of tapping the send button (the paper airplane icon on the top right of your screen), tap the icon on the toolbar above the keyboard that looks like a paper airplane with a stopwatch on top of it. You’ll be able to choose from some suggestions for scheduling times, or you can tap on Pick date to be more specific. Select Customize to change the options that come up by default on this panel.
Once you’ve set the schedule, you’ll need to tap the send button (top right). The message will go at the designated day and time whether or not your phone is on or Spark is running. To see your scheduled emails, tap the menu button (three horizontal lines, at the top left of your screen) and pick Outbox. You can also edit and delete scheduled emails from here.