iOS Mail: Emailing Groups of People

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If you’ve ever wanted to send an email to a bunch of people at once on your iOS device, you know that you can just type in each address every time. But what if you’re constantly sending emails to the same people, over and over again? Well, one thing you could do is set up a group, and then when you’d like to email those folks, you can type the name of the group in the “To:” field.

Tap the suggestion of the group you’re looking for, and your device will fill in all of the addresses.

Well, that’s just the weirdest group ever.

So how do you know what groups you can currently send to? Well, if you visit the Contacts app and tap the “Groups” button in the upper-left corner, you’ll see your existing groups.

As I mentioned, if I need to email any of those lists of people shown above, I can just type the group name into that “To:” field to do it.

As far as adding a new group goes, though, things get a bit more complicated. iOS won’t allow you to add a new group (WHY APPLE WHY), so because of that, you’ll need to go to your computer, open the Contacts program, and then choose File > New Group to create one.

Afterward, you can drag and drop contact cards onto that group to add them.

The sticking point here is that you’ll have to sync your iOS device to your computer in order to force the new group to show up. The easiest way to do that is just to use iCloud syncing to mirror all of your information on your connected devices. Then you’ll be able to see everything everywhere, and you can use your added groups on your iPhone or iPad, too.

Finally, there’s one caveat about this. Do you see how in my first couple of screenshots, Bryan’s name is in there twice? That’s because the contact card I have for him has two email addresses on it, and for some reason, my iOS device wants to use BOTH when I send a message to that group. On the Mac, you can use something called a distribution list to pick which email address you’d like to use for each contact (a subject I’ve written about before), but no such option exists under iOS. The distribution list choices don’t seem to sync through iCloud, either.

You can’t hear it, but I’m sighing pretty heavily right now.

In any case, though, even if you have to remove an unwanted address every time, that’d still be faster than typing each address in. And if you don’t mind your contacts being a bit messy, you could always create a separate card for every person who belongs to your group and add in only a single email address for each. Then if you add those stripped-down contacts to a new group, it’ll be all neat and clean and such for emailing.

But don’t get me started on why we even have to jump through those hoops to do such a simple thing, OK? You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

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nathan lott

Don McAllister of Screencasts Online recently did a video about an app called Interact!/id1045605097?mt=8 which makes group emailing a little bit easier.

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