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I have an email account configured via IMAP in iOS Mail app, with the Organize by Thread and Complete Threads toggles both turned on in Mail settings.

Thanks to the latter, when I open an email from the Inbox or Archive mailboxes, it is shown in the context of its thread, with the preceding and following emails also being shown above and below the opened one. However, when I open an email from the Sent mailbox, the thread view does not activate, and only that singular email is displayed.

Is there a technical reason why Sent is being treated differently from Inbox and Archive in regards to threading? Is it possible to enable the thread view for emails opened from Sent, as well?

From my experience, this behavior persists both on iOS 13 and 14. (Perhaps it dates all the way back to the introduction of the thread view in Mail?) And, as far as I can tell, it does not seem to be specific to the email provider.

Unlike iOS, in Mail.app on macOS, viewing an email from the Sent mailbox does show the full thread it belongs to.

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  • The “why did Apple X” is off topic here, so I appreciate this can be read as “since Apple did x, how can I do Y” since some mail client may do what you want and we can always file a bug report with Apple in case it’s just a bug... my hunch is they did this by design.
    – bmike
    Sep 20 '20 at 14:25
  • It does seem to be intentional, although a bit inconsistent, so, I guess, it is not justified to file it as a bug. By the way, what is the right way for me as a macOS user to submit bug reports? I have another unresolved question in which I describe a behavior that does seem to be a bug, but I do not know how I would file it. Could you please take a look at it and recommend something?
    – ib.
    Sep 20 '20 at 21:48
  • Do you have a professional relationship with Apple? If so use that to file feedback. If not, Apple Support to be sure they don’t have some hidden way, then they’ll say hit us up with general feedback. apple.com/feedback I get better results from appleseed.apple.com/it cause my company has the most pull there. Your mileage may vary.
    – bmike
    Sep 20 '20 at 21:51
  • All right, if the bug will not be resolved with the macOS 11 update, I will start with Apple Support, then. Thanks!
    – ib.
    Sep 20 '20 at 21:53
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You are correct, the sent mailbox behaves differently than all the others in my testing with iCloud and O365 and Fastmail IMAP.

I wouldn’t presume to speak for Apple when they decided how to implement those switches, but their intent is very clear and easy to reproduce. Perhaps someone familiar with IMAP standards or other mail clients can see if this is typical for sent to be strictly ordered by time or that was just one team’s decision when they coded the app.

I see no configuration profile or setting to make sent work like inbox with respect to threaded treatment of mails.

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