Sometimes dealing with email can be an overwhelming task, and the default settings in the iOS Mail app — showing every unread message on your icon badge — doesn’t make things any easier in that regard. Especially if you’re the sort of person who feels that every red indicator on your home screen has to be dealt with as soon as possible. While alternative email applications and services often do a better job of filtering out and only notifying you of important email messages, you can actually accomplish this to some degree with Apple’s own built-in Mail app with a little bit of tweaking.
If you visit the Notifications section in the main iOS Settings app and select Mail, you’ll see that you can not only set up notifications on a per-account basis, but can also do this for entries on your VIP list or for Thread Notifications. If you’re finding yourself inundated by low priority emails, simply turn off ALL notifications — including the badge count — in the upper section, and adjust the VIP list and Thread Notifications to your preference. If you then setup your VIP list with all of your important personal and work related contacts, and enable Thread Notifications for any other important messages for which you might be expecting a response, you can then rely on these settings to ensure that the little red numeric badge on the Mail app icon only lights up when there’s actually something important for you to look at, rather than the latest random newsletter or discount offer.
Lower-priority messages will still land in your inbox of course, and remain unread in Mail, but you can get to them at your leisure rather than having an unread count demanding your attention on your home screen. Further, you can even make use of Smart Mailboxes to create folders that will filter out only messages in your Inbox that are from your VIPs or are part of a thread notification.