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How to Give Your ‘Special’ iPhone Contacts VIP Treatment

David Pogue
Tech Critic
Yahoo Tech


You took the first step — buying technology. Now all you have to do is master it. We’re here to help, with tips and tricks you may have missed. If you know them already — well done, guru! If not, there’s no better time to start learning than right now.

Skill Level: Beginner

In the real world, VIPs are people who get backstage passes to concerts or special treatment at business functions (it stands for “very important person”). In iOS, it means “somebody whose mail is important enough that I want it brought to my attention immediately when it arrives.” 

So who should your VIPs be? That’s up to you. Your spouse, your boss, and your doctor come to mind.

To designate someone as a VIP, proceed in either of these two ways:

1. On the accounts screen, carefully tap the information icon (circle with a lowercase “i”) next to the VIP item. Your master list of all VIPs appears. Tap Add VIP to choose a lucky new member from Contacts. 

This is also where you delete people from your VIP list when they’ve annoyed you. Swipe leftward across a name, and then tap Delete. Or tap Edit and then tap each red delete icon (circle with a minus sign); tap Delete to confirm.

2. In a message from the lucky individual, tap his name in the From, To, or Cc/Bcc box. His Contact screen appears, complete with an Add to VIP button.

Once you’ve established who’s important, lots of interesting things happen:

• The VIP inbox automatically collects messages from your VIPs. 

• A gray star appears next to every VIP’s name in every mail list.

• If you use iCloud, the same person is now a VIP on all your other iPhones and iPads (running iOS 6 or later) and Macs (running OS X Mountain Lion or later).

• Best of all, you can set things up so that when a new message from a VIP comes in, the iPhone lets you know. In Settings  Notification Center  Mail  VIP, specify how you want to be alerted: with a sound, a banner, an alert bubble, and so on.

Excerpted with permission from David Pogue’s iPhone: The Missing Manual, Seventh Edition from O’Reilly Media.