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New email features that can help keep info private and organized

Three major email services are each offering new features. One provides a privacy tool, another allows users to schedule email send times and the last grabs events from your inbox and sticks them on your calendar

Gmail now allows the user to schedule emails to send at a later time.
This file photo shows the Gmail app on an iPad in Baltimore. Gmail now allows the user to schedule emails to send at a later time.
Patrick Semansky, Associated Press

Many of us may not think too much about how our email services work. It’s easy to overlook such a utilitarian feature that helps us communicate, receive promotional offers and sign up to get information from companies and organizations.

But these new offerings from a few popular email providers may put a little smile on your face the next time you log in.

Hide My Email

This is one of the features in Apple’s newest operating system. iOS 15 comes with a way to keep your personal email address more private and off many advertisers’ marketing lists. Hide My Email will generate a random, unique email address to use when you sign up for a newsletter, app or website. Next time you create an account somewhere and don’t want to give out your personal email address, look for Hide My Email to pop up. Click it to give a random email that will then be forwarded to your actual email address. When you don’t want to receive emails from that random email anymore, you can choose to pause the forwarding or delete it permanently.

You’ll need an iCloud+ account which can range from $1 to $10, but anyone who already has an account (paying for extra cloud storage, for instance) receives the feature automatically.

Schedule emails in Gmail

This one has been available for a couple of months, though you may not be aware of the option. If you’re in the habit of sending out emails at midnight or 5 a.m., maybe you don’t want someone to get an email notification at that hour. Or maybe you are someone who responds immediately to emails, but would rather a little time pass before the recipient receives your reply. Now you can use Gmail to schedule emails to send at a later time. It’s true, emails don’t grab people’s immediate attention the same way a text does, but there are still times when you want to set an email to arrive at a specific time.

On a computer, after you create your email, instead of hitting “Send,” click on the dropdown arrow next to it and choose “Schedule send.” You can have up to 100 scheduled emails ready to go.

If you make a mistake, or have second thoughts about an email you scheduled to send, go to your Gmail account and click “Scheduled” on the left side of the screen. Choose the email you are reconsidering and make necessary changes. You can decide whether to change when it will send or cancel the email altogether.

For Android and iPhones, you can find scheduling options by tapping “More” on the top right-hand side of a new email. Tap the hamburger icon in Gmail and then tap “Scheduled.”

Package deliveries on your calendar

You may have gotten used to some events from your email populating your calendar. Flights, hotel stays and concerts always pop up and I’m happy to add them to my schedule with one click. But for those of you using an Outlook email account (or previous iterations of Outlook such as hotmail, live, msn or passport), you may have noticed something new. Beginning last year, Outlook may have started adding a lot of events to your calendar. The only way you would know if your email and calendar are collaborating in this way is from an alert and email you would have received the very first time it happened. Some of the new events you may notice appearing on your calendar include package deliveries, bills due and even doctor’s appointments. Whether or not you see these scheduled on your calendar depends on if the email with the included event was from a supported sender and if you’ve opted in.

Flight, car and hotel reservations are automatically added to your calendar, but you can add other events by going to Outlook settings>Calendar>Events from email. From that point, you can look at each event type and decide whether you want to see those events on your calendar, see an event summary on your calendar, or only see that event summary in an email.

If you haven’t thought about the helpful things your email can do for you in a while, consider utilizing these new features and get excited about email again.