I got like 11000 emails available through the iOS mail app, and single keyword search no longer works for me. I would like to exclude specific words, like in google: (food -fast).

Are there special boolean operations or shortcuts availble to be entered into the iOS mail app?


If you search using Spotlight (from the Home screen), you can use to: and from: qualifiers, as well as flag and unread status.

From Apple's iOS: Understanding Spotlight Search page:


  • Flagged june 2013

    Searches for all flagged messages from june 2013, as well as for messages containing these words

  • Unread last week from:@icloud.com

    Searches all unread messages from last week where the sender's email ends with @icloud.com, as well as messages containing these words

  • Vip read yesterday

    Searches all read messages from contacts marked as VIPs, as well as messages containing these words

  • to:appleseed monday

    Searches all messages sent on Monday to a contact named "Appleseed", or an email address starting with appleseed, as well as messages containing these words

Note that these examples mention "messages containing these words". A note above the examples states that to search message bodies, you must use Mail's search function, not Spotlight, but these examples are for Spotlight. After testing, it appears these work in Mail's search field as well as Spotlight.

In addition to the above, you can use has:attachment to limit to messages containing attachments, and Mail appears to search within attachments.

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