How To: Create A Folder in iPhone Mail – Revisited

New Floder

Quite some time ago I wrote “How To: Create A Folder in iPhone Mail“. At the time it was very simple … you couldn’t create a new folder/mailbox in iOS Mail. But with the advent of a few iOS releases since, and the amount of traffic that post gets, I thought it time to put together an update to “How To: Create A Folder in iPhone Mail” … because now you can.

More accurately, the new title should be ‘How to create a mailbox in Mail on iOS 5 or greater.

The old question  …
Q: How do I create a folder in the iPhone Mail app in iOS 1-4?
The new question …
Q: How do I create a folder in the iOS Mail app in iOS 5 & 6?

And here’s how …

This can only be done on accounts set up as IMAP. It will not work with POP accounts.

What most people would consider a ‘folder’ Apple calls a ‘mailbox’ … don’t know why. That’s just the way it is. With that said, let’s get started. It’s a fairly easy process.

Start by opening the Mail app on your iOS device.

1) Select “Edit”

2) Select “New Mailbox”

3) In the “Name” field type your folder’s name. Select “Save”

4) Select: “Add Mail Account”

If that’s all you wanted to do, select “Done” and that’s it. You’re ready to use the folder you created.

If you want to create a subfolder within the folder you created, read on.

5) Select “New Mailbox”

6) Type the name of your new folder in the “Name” field. Then select the “Mail Location” button.

7) Select the folder you’d like the new folder in. You will be sent back to the previous screen.

8) Select “Save”

9) Select “Done”

10) You now have a folder within a folder.

If you need more just repeat the steps above until you’ve created the folder/mailbox hierarchy you need.

If the mail account you’ve created your folders in is an IMAP mail account, the folders you’ve created on your iPhone or iPad will be saved back to your mail server & show up in your desktop mail application too if it’s also set up as an IMAP account.

If your mail is set up as POP, Apple will not allow you to create Mailboxes. Probably because you can’t sync the folders between your computer.

If you don’t understand that last little bit a quick lesson:



POP, Post Office Protocol, also known as POP3, is an E-mail protocol that is used when people wish to have a copy of their E-mail messages, along with any attachments, to be downloaded to their computer for viewing. Depending on program configuration, these messages may be automatically deleted from the server once it is received, or at some future time. Messages sent, moved, or deleted from a computer using POP can only be viewed on that individual computer’s folders. They cannot be viewed on other computers connecting to that E-mail account, including Webmail. This option is most recommended for users who like to keep a backup of all their messages.


IMAP, Internet Message Access Protocol, is an E-mail protocol that is used when people wish to always have their messages, including sent messages and message folders, saved on the server. Depending on program configuration, these messages may be temporarily saved on the computer for offline viewing. All messages and folders can be viewed from any computer connecting via IMAP, including Webmail. This option is most recommended for users who connect to E-mail accounts from many computers.

And that’s it. You now know how to create a folder and subfolders on any iOS device under iOS 5 or 6.

10 Comments On:

How To: Create A Folder in iPhone Mail – Revisited

  1. My iPod touch has iOS 6 but I do not have the Edit button at the top right of the Mailboxes screen. How do I get it to appear?

    1. Paul …

      You can only set up new mailboxes on an iOS 6 device if the account is set up as IMAP. It will not work if you have set up the iOS eMail account as POP mail.

      Here’s a post about the issue in the Apple Support website.

      I just updated my blog post to reflect this information. I never set up a POP account for myself or a client on an iOS device. I just assumed it worked the same for POP mail.

  2. When I try to set up new mailbox on my iphone with iOS 8.2 I get the following message, the mailbox couldn’t be created on the server. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi. I’d need more info. Who is your eMail account with? Is it a hosted account, or gMail, Yahoo, etc? If it’s a personal or work hosted domain account, you’d need to contact your hosting provider. It may be a privileges issue on their server.

  3. Couldn’t get this to work for me. I get an “unable to create mailbox. Mailbox couldn’t be created on the server”message. Using ios 7. Any other ideas?

    1. I would check Settings / Mail, Contacts, Calendars / Accounts (Your Account)

      Incoming Settings

      Make sure that “IMAP Path Prefix” is set to: INBOX

      Make sure it’s in all caps. Save your settings. You may have to quit & relaunch. Then try creating a folder.

      If that’s not the issue, check all your mail settings for that account, including passwords.

      Good luck!

  4. Hi, I cannot make this work in iOS 8. Am I missing something? Or have they disabled the ability for some unfathomable reason?

  5. THANK YOU!! I saw the “edit” & “new mailbox” options in iPhone Mail App but naturally thought Apple was offering for me to set up a new Email ADDRESS from within Mail App! (How RETARDED of Apple to call a FOLDER a MAILBOX! Grr! What were they thinking?!) So glad you wrote this simple visual to CORRECT/Explain Apple’s as-usual arse-backwards tactics & no-common-sense semantics choices. Now I can go happily create some folders right from iPhone (iOS6+) & very easily at that! (ABOUT TIME!)

    In all previous years I had been using the flawlessly excellent FOLDER BUDDY app, but I won’t need that anymore.

    Thanks again for clearly explaining the confusion & for having a specific title re this issue that showed up in search results first page!

  6. I am currently using iOS 6.1.4 on my iPhone 5, but do not have the “edit” option on my mailbox page. When I go into my Inbox, I then have an “edit” option, but my choices then are just “delete”, “move”, or “mark”. Why don’t I have the option listed above? By the way, I am using a POP account. Thx!

    1. Janice …

      It’s because you ARE using POP and not IMAP. If your eMail provider does not allow IMAP service. There is nothing you can do.

      If they do provide IMAP service you can create IMAP versions of your eMail on any device you check mail with, phone or computer. But before you delete the POP version, make certain with your mail provider your important eMails still reside on the server. If not you have to save them from a computer. Then you’ll be able to delete the POP account from your iPhone and re create it as an IMAP account.

      Your mail provider can give you setup instructions and the proper setting. You can check out my How-To on setting up IMAP mail on an iPhone.

      Hope that helps.

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