Encrypting Email With iOS Mail – A How-To

5 minute read
| How-To

Are you frustrated by trying to figure out how to get started encrypting email with iOS Mail? It’s easy in macOS, but not so much so on the iPhone or iPad. I’ve dug into the process, consulted dozens of forum posts and support articles. Then I tested, retested, and tested my process again. As of iOS 10.2.1, the process I detail below should get you going with sending encrypted email under iOS, using Apple’s Mail app.

encrypting email with iOS Mail

If you are tired of pulling your hair out trying to get started encrypting email with iOS Mail, this how-to is for you (Image Credit: geralt)

Let’s Start With a Clean Slate

Before we get started, the easiest way to make sure this process is successful is to start off without any email security certificates installed on your iOS device. So, open the Settings app, then tap on General.

Settings app in iOS - sending encrypted email with iOS Mail

To delete any email certificates you have installed, go to Settings and tap General

On the next screen, scroll down and tap on Profiles.

Selecting Profiles from General settings - encrypting email with iOS Mail

Now you need to visit the Profiles menu

Locate any email security certificates you already have installed. These will typically be named after your email addresses. If you don’t have any, you can skip to the next section. If you do have some, tap on the first one.

Listing of Profiles in iOS - sending encrypted email in iOS Mail

Find your email security profiles

Now tap Delete Profile at the bottom of the screen.

Deleting a profile in iOS - encrypting email with iOS Mail

The first step to deleting a profile in iOS

You’ll be asked to enter your passcode, if you have one. Go ahead and do that.

Entering your passcode to delete the profile - encrypting email with iOS Mail

You’ll be asked to enter your passcode, if you have one

Finally, tap Delete at the bottom of the screen.

Tap Delete a final time to delete the profile - encrypting email with iOS Mail

The final step to deleting a profile is to tap Delete once again

Repeat these steps for any other email certificates you have installed on your iPhone or iPad. Next, reboot your iPhone by holding the Sleep/Wake button until you see the red slider, then swipe it to shut down your iPhone. After your iPhone shuts down, power it back on by pressing the Sleep/Wake button again.

Next: Encrypted Email Needs Certificates

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Vito
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Vito

This article worked great for the Mail app in iOS 10.x, but then Apple released iOS 11 and blew everything up. It would be most helpful if an updated version of this article for iOS 11 couild be posted.
Thanks!

EasyPGP
Member
EasyPGP

You can get pgp encryption for iOS by using the EasyPGP app. It integrates with the iOS keyboard so you can have pgp everywhere, with any email client with just 2 clicks. iPad and iPhone compatible

Vito
Member
Vito

Many thanks for this article. It’s a great help for those of us who need to set up encrypted mail on iOS and can’t use Apple’s Configurator 2 utility to do it. khurt: The procedure described in the article above isn’t “doing it wrong”. It’s currently the only way that makes it possible to set up encrypted mail in iOS for anyone who is using anything other than macOS 10.12.2. In my case, I’m in the middle of a project on my Mac Pro (running Yosemite 10.10.5) that will extend to December. Alas, thanks to the tyranny of the App… Read more »

Member
khurt

Your’re doing it wrong. I wrote this in 2011 but it still works.

https://islandinthenet.com/ios-5-secure-mail/

Member
FossaTeam

Video how to configure S/MIME for free (and renewable) Fossa X.509 certificates either on Mac https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fyc5YW3BS0Y iOS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beQM4nLWGxs&t=49s and to exchange email with web Gmail.

Scott B in DC
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Scott B in DC

Nice article for the geeks, but this highlights what is wrong with the system: could I get my father to follow along in order to send private messages in email?

Until someone comes up with a way for anyone to use encrypted email without having a computer science degree, it’s a kludge.

(I know… my inner curmudgeon is showing)

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deh2k

Oh, I see how to do it. 1) it does have to be in the Login keychain, 2) select the My Certificates category, and 3) twist down the triangle next to the certificate and select the key inside the certificate. That will export a p12 file. Oddly, once I’ve done this I can export directly from the certificate too.

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deh2k

@Jeff Butts: Thanks for the tip. 1) the instructions that you linked to suggest putting the cert in the System keychain, and 2) exporting from the Login keychain also does not allow p12 export.

Member
deh2k

Nice piece. Thanks for putting it together. However the p12 file type export option is gray and unavailable on my Mac, so I’m stuck.

MrJosefKafka
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MrJosefKafka

Thanks a great piece, would love to see a “how to” for Mac mail.

Thanks again