In Apple Mail, finding email messages from certain contacts can be made easier by giving them a “VIP” status. Short for Very Important Person, VIPs are identified in your inbox by a star next to the person’s name in any messages you receive from them.

Messages from the same VIP are also displayed in their own folder in a special VIP smart mailbox that sits in Apple Mail’s Favorites bar.

You can assign up to 100 VIPs, and if you use iCloud Contacts, your VIPs are available on any other Apple devices signed in to the same account.

Moreover, you can choose to be notified of emails only when the messages are from people in your VIPs list, thanks to Apple Mail’s custom alerts feature. Keep reading to learn how to set up VIPs on macOS, iOS 11 (including Apple Watch), and iCloud Mail.

How to Add a Contact to Your VIP List in macOS

  1. Launch the stock Mail app on your Mac.
  2. Select a message in your inbox from the sender that you want to make a VIP.
  3. Move your mouse cursor next to the person’s name in the message header and click the star that appears so that it turns opaque. Alternatively, click the down arrow next to the name or address and select Add to VIPs in the dropdown menu.

With at least one contact in your VIPs list, a special VIP inbox will appear in the Favorites bar. If you click the VIP inbox and select a VIP, only messages from that person will be shown in the message list.

How to Revoke a Contact’s VIP Status in macOS

In Mail, you can right-click on a person’s VIP mailbox in the sidebar and select Remove from VIPs. Alternatively:

  1. Select a message in your inbox from the person whose VIP status you want to remove.
  2. Click the star next to the person’s name so that the symbol is no longer opaque. You can also click the down arrow next to the name or address and select Remove from VIPs in the dropdown menu.