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I have a new iPhone 4 (not S). I have installed iOS 5 on it. I have configured an Exchange active-sync mailbox for my mail.

I have three Exchange rules running on incoming messages in order to sort them into three places:

  • filter out all low-importance messages to folder B
  • filter out messages that are not to me to folder B
  • filter out messages which are to me but I don't want to get notified-on-arrival to folder A

This theoretically leaves messages in my Inbox which are both to me and something I want to be notified about when they arrive. If I want to look at mail in folder A, it is a few clicks and a poll away, which I can live with.

So when mail is filtered into folder B, great, it works.

When mail arrives and ends up in the Inbox, the phone vibrates and goes "Bing!" Also great.

However. When mail is filtered into folder A, there appear to be some circumstances where the iPhone will notify me that new mail has arrived by vibrating and going "bing!", while other times it works the way I want.

So my question is: why is the phone sometimes alerting me that mail has arrived in folder A?


Update: one thing that I maybe should have mentioned is that I'm filtering with exceptions in my rules:

Rule 1:
Criteria:
    Stuff marked low priority
Action:
    move to Inbox-Filtered-Out
    stop processing rules on this message
Rule 2:
Criteria:
    stuff marked normal priority
Action:
    move to Inbox-Filtered-Out
    stop processing rules on this message
Except:
    if it is to: or cc: me
    or if it is from (list of people which includes my wife and the pager-relayer)
    or if it is to (specific address which I am responsible for responding to)
Rule 3:
Criteria:
    stuff marked normal priority
Action:
    move to Inbox-For-Me
    stop processing rules on this message
Except:
    if it is from my wife or the pager-relayer
    or if it is to (specific address which I am responsible for responding to)

So after all that, the only things left in my Inbox (and therefore triggers the phone alerting me to its arrival) should be stuff from my wife, or something that I need to be alerted on (or is marked as High priority). The rest of the moderately important stuff ends up in Inbox-For-Me, and everything else is shunted to Inbox-Filtered-Out.

I should also mention that these three rules are the only rules I have on the Exchange account, so I'm pretty sure there isn't a race condition here.

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Is the folder A rule run on the Exchange Server or is it complicated enough that it's run in Outlook? If the latter: the answer is you have a race condition between when mail arrives in your inbox and when the rule is run by the Outlook desktop application to filter it and iOS is seeing the transient mail in the inbox before Outlook filters it. –  Ian C. Oct 20 '11 at 17:48
    
The folder A rule is actually simpler than the second folder B rule, since the list of exceptions for the folder B rule has to include the list of exceptions for folder A. And this does happen whether or not my outlook (on my laptop) is connected or not. –  David Mackintosh Oct 20 '11 at 17:53
1  
Hmm. I still suspect a race condition between when iOS checks for new mail and when the rule fires. –  Ian C. Oct 20 '11 at 21:12
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2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I don't know that this is defined anywhere, but it has been my observation that you will be notified about new mail in the folder you are browsing in the mail client and in the inbox but no other folders. So if you're reading messages in folder B and then put the phone sleep or switch to another app, you will be notified about new messages in the inbox and new messages in folder B but not new messages in folder A. If you are reading messages in the inbox, then you won't be notified about messages in any other folder.

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Yes, this explains better what is going on. –  David Mackintosh Jun 4 '12 at 13:37
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OK, after some playing around, this is what I think is happening.

Assume I have three folders as defined above: A, B, and Inbox. Then ignore folder B for now.

If I am looking at my Inbox when a new message comes in, everything works as I expect.

Now assume that I either have folder A open, or the last folder I had open was A and I am at the folder list screen. When in that state (or if that is the last state I left the email client in before pressing Lock or Home), then the iPhone alerts on messages being delivered to folder A.

I'm probably explaining this really badly.

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