iPhone: How to Delete Email

Posted June 24, 2007 by iphone_dude in Apple iPhone

With all the spam in this world, deleting email is a common part of life. Here I will describe the two different ways of deleting email from your iPhone.

iPhone supports gmail, yahoo mail, .mac, and POP mail systems without any problems. Deleting email from an account can be done as follows:

1. Go into your email on your iPhone

2. Press the Edit icon in the upper right hand corner

3. Press the Red minus key beside the email you wish to delete.

4. Confirm your deletion by pressing the red delete key that appears to the right of the email message.

5. Press the Done icon in the upper right hand corner when finished.


    You can also make the delete key appear by dragging your finger from left to right across an email as shown in the picture below:

Bulk Delete:

The iPhone does not have bulk delete capabilities. If you find yourself needing to bulk or mass delete emails, you may want to alter how you manage your emails.

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • DJones

    Is there a way to delete message from the phone but retain them on my computer?

    • Janet Miller

      did you ever get a response to this question?

      • guest1

        Hi guys, I dont know wht type of iphone u have but if you go to
        -accounts (select ur email)
        -go all the way down to advanced
        -delete from server… there u choose.

        • Roger

          TY..That was great I appreciate the info

        • david

          This is very helpful. Guys what i learned here is that you just delete the Bulk Mail folder. This is very smart move.

        • Usman

          How to delete messages from Hotmail using my IPOD?>

    • Janet Miller

      Did you ever get a response to deleting messages on your iphone but retaining them on the computer?

    • Erick

      did you ever get an answer???

    • faazi

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      Just download App Trailers here http://bit.ly/ouocEH and then use my bonus code ‘smfazil’ for extra points when you signup>

  • sherry kelley

    my email on the Iphone 3G with AOL–I cn no longer send read emails to the trast or delete–I clled Iphone and they told me it was an AOL problem I had to contact AOL–my AOL is filling up with unwanted emails

    • Jon Warner

      Aol stinks, I’m changing to gmail

    • Charlie

      Mine too… every since the 2.02 upgrade came out. Did you find a solution???

  • Jon Warner

    Have message:
    iPhone cannot delete mail.
    Unable to move message the message could not be moved to the mailbox trash.
    Please email me the solution

  • Lisa Cassel

    When I try to delete mail out of aol acct I get message that it cannot be moved to mailbox trash Help

    • Linda Beeler

      To Lisa,
      Have you figured out a solution about delting your mail. I have the same problem. I get a messageunable to move message.

      • Mike

        Hi. My iPhone isn’t allowing me to delete my inbox. A window is popping up saying that the message cannot go in the trash. Can you please help me? Send me the solution please. Thank you.

    • Misha

      i talked to tech support forever with no solution. BUT then i played around and succeeded. i have a 3GS and a pop account. go to settings – mail – choose account – advanced – deleted mailbox – click on trash

      problem solved!

      • Philipdahl

        and turn off archive

  • Mjazz

    I’ve been having this same problem for over about a week. I have been able to delete from my MobileMe roadrunner and gmail accounts. Looks like we’ll just have to wait till aol fixes problem or do the inconvenient thing and delete our emails from an actual computer.

  • Tommie

    How can you Sync email with your computer to delete all (91) without doing each separately?

  • Linda Beeler

    I have the I PHone. I try to delete my messages. It repeatedly says “unable to move message to trash bin. How do I correct this. It had been working fine. Please respond to my e-mail address. Thanks.

    • Steve

      did you ever get an answer?

    • Nozz

      I have the same problem. I on AOL & have not been able to use the trash bin facility since downloading the new 2.02 upgrade. Please let me know if you are successful in solving the problem.Thanks

    • donna

      i am having the same issue. it is so infuriating I can’t get this to work at all did anyone respond to you>

  • John Lefebvre

    Here is the msg. I receive when I try to delete e-mail.

    Unable to move Mesaages
    The messages could not be moved to the mailbox trash.

    Please help me.

  • dellis

    Is there a way to do a mass delete? A la Blackberry, “delete all?”

  • John

    tried this – worked on one email adress but not another. when this was tried a message was recieved saying ” Unable to Move Message: Message could not be moved to mailbox trash”. What should I do next?

  • For those having problems, are you using POP or IMAP?

    • ty

      put your iphone in airplane mode then delete msgs

      • Diana

        Thank you!!! this worked for me. I couldn’t delet my email forever, now It’s gone.

      • Anonymous

        Your a genius!!! It worked. God Bless!!!

  • JÕÊŁ Latino

    Put ur iPhone in airplane then delete the mail you don’t want and delete them from trash that’s it u got it

    • ums

      I had the same problem with a POP account. I went into the advanced settings for the account (on the iPhone) and re-set the destination for where the deleted items should go on the server.

    • kristin

      I have been unable to delete 2 messages from my inbox from my AOL mail. They even stuck with my after upgrading my iphone…so frustrating. I followed your suggestion and POOF, they are gone. Thank you soooo much!

    • Ludie

      you are the man!!!1 works a treat

  • Arline nechtow

    Major problems deleting e-mails while on vacation. Major inconvenience getting to a desk top . Please contact me for discount on bill. Tenan@aol.com

    • Ac

      I put my phone on airplane mode then proceeded with deleting my emails on aol.

      • frances

        when you delete e-mail off the computer (yahoo account) does it delete the message on your iphone as well or does it show on your phone still?

      • Carol

        Worked for me – thanks!!!

      • Gary Moore

        Worked for me too On AOL just go to mail top setting and turn on AIRPLANE mode and emails can then be deleted either of two ways…

  • anonymous

    If you are getting an error message when trying to delete AOL emails from your iPhone after the 2.2 software update, do this: tap Settings > Mail,Contacts,Calenders > (aol account) > Advanced > Deleted Messages. Select “Spam” from the list. Press Home button. Repeat the previous procedure except this time re-select “Trash” from the list. Tap the Home button. You will now be able to delete your AOL emails from the iPhone again.

    • Ben

      THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Dude

      Holy Crap!!!!!! Thank You SOOOOOOO much!!!!!!

    • Mindy

      You’re awesome.thanks!!!!!

    • Rick Heard

      This Totally Works! Thanks, it’s been driving me crazy ever since the upgrade.

    • JJ

      Thank you! I also discovered that I had set up an IMAP acct and that my email server doesnt support that. As soon as I deleted the IMAP, I was able to delete.

  • Carol

    Still cannot delete emails – tried everything?

    • Iphone Noob

      Here is what worked for me…. 1. Open SETTINGS….2. Open MAIL, CONTACTS, CALENDARS…..3. Open you Email Acct……4. Scroll down to ADVANCED and open….5. Open DELETED MAILBOX….(There should be a check mark next to TRASH) 6. Tap on something to uncheck TRASH (like SAVED or SENT ITEMS….I don’t think it matters) Then Tap TRASH so the check mark is next to it again. 7. Press your HOME button to take you back to the Springboard….Now you can open your email and it should delete.
      It worked for me……GOOD LUCK

      • cliff

        Thank you, it worked fine.

      • Sal

        That did it!!
        Thanks a bunch.

      • This worked perfectly — thanks so much!

  • john

    7. Pete Says:

    November 23rd, 2008 at 9:35 am
    I just called Apple support and the following seems to have fixed the problem: Go to settings > mail > click on the email account > advanced > deleted mailbox > then touch the “Trash” box. Nothing appears to happen — though it turns blue momentarily. The check remains. But when I went back into my email account (AOL), this had corrected the problem. I had previously tried to reset the iPhone and that failed to correct the problem

    • GlenW

      What if you have no advanced … Do you have to enable the advanced option ? I am getting the same problem connecting to an Exchange Server … so it may be Exchange connector does not have an Advanced option … was everyone here struggling with only AOL emails.

  • Karen

    When I attempt to delete a message I get an error message that says “Unable to Move Message; The message could not be moved to the mailbox trash” . I do not even have a mailbox called trash.

  • bryan

    yes but how do you delete 99 emails without having to touch each one of them,,,, that is my frustration

  • David

    How do you delete email names?

  • Sal

    Tried the above solution but the message ” unable to move message to mailbox trash” comes up.
    Please help.

  • Steve

    still can not delet the email…

  • John

    This method of delelting isn’t very efficient when it comes to over 400 emails.
    Is there a way to delete a bunch of them without having to tick one by one?
    It takes like 1 second to tick 2 but then you have to check the content to see whether you want to keep or not, im not gonna spend 20 minutes checking and deleting 400 emails. There must be a more efficient way of doing it.

  • Steffens Thomas G.

    WHat about mass deletions. I had to restore my iPhone and somehow got 600 old Emails on. I can’t delete them one by one1!!!

  • Anonymous

    if when trying to delete email you get the “cant place message in trash” messages
    put your iphone in airplane mode then delete msgs

  • Anonymous

    thank you for the advice.
    would you know if there is any way to delete ALL messeges instantly and in one go?
    thank you

  • Anonymous

    How do I set up my I phone so that when I delete messages from my I phone they are also deleted in my Hotmail. Thanks

    • Belugable

      you have to pay for mobile me! hideous, isn’t it

  • Anonymous

    Does anyone know how to set up my gmail account so that when I delete a message on my computer it deletes it on my phone, or vice versa? from “tired of deleting twice.”

  • Is there any way to bulk delete old emails, I have thousands and their eating up my hd space?

  • Anonymous

    I have like 700 unread emails. Thats not true though ive readed all of them but on my iphone they apear unreaded. How do i delete all of them.

  • Anonymous

    When you open mail from Y mail it is different from Yahoo mail…how do you mark the email from Y mail once you open it but you want it to stay that it has not been read? I know how to do it with Yahoo but no Y mail…. please explain.

  • Anonymous

    after we follow the two methods for deleting email as described, the email reappears.

  • Patricia

    i cannot delete emails on my iphone. they revolve back again. i have tried doing this on 3G and wirelessly.
    i have a shaw.ca account.

    any comments anyone?

  • Anonymous

    I did this but the emails re appear

  • Anonymous

    How do I set up my iphone 3gs to download emails from my pop3 server and when I delete them from my phone they stay on my pop3 server?

  • Anonymous

    I have a question for a friend;
    She claims that everytime she opens her Computer and checks emails, they either aren’t sent to the iPhone, or are deleted.

    And If she checks them on the iPhone, they’re not sent to the computer or either deleted aswell.

    Is it possible to have them sent to both? Is that feature automatic, but she might have disabled something?.. to break it down, its ideal if emails would be sent to both, and not deleted until manually deleted. She needs copies on both iPhone and Computer. Any help would be nice, please reply or email to;

    Thank you,


    • Rylan,

      Sounds like she’s using POP3. She’d be much better off using IMAP, if it’s supported by her email provider – or at least changing the POP3 settings on her phone to leave a copy of the email on the server.

      If it were me, I’d create a GMail account and sync the iPhone using Google Sync (http://www.google.com/mobile/sync/). If it’s not possible to use Google Sync (the user may already have an Exchange account configured) then they can still use IMAP, which is way better than POP3. You can then configure GMail to retrieve emails from the old email account using POP3, and then label them so that you know they’ve come via the old email address.

      Hope that helps.


  • Anonymous

    when I delete e-mail on my computer how do I make it delete the same e-mail on my i phone

  • Anonymous

    this is a good way to delete emails, but i also used to hit the garbage can and it would delete an open message. all of a sudden the garbage can doesn’t work anymore – how can i make it work again? help – thanks

  • Anonymous

    i used to be able to delete an open email by hitting the garbage can on the iphone. all of a sudden it stopped doing this when i hit the garbage can. any suggestions as to how i can get this working again? thx

  • Anonymous

    how do i delete my phone number history one by one on my iphone

  • mark

    Exceptional. I just got my iphone and needed to do this. Brilliant!

  • Anonymous

    i delete messages on my iphone and then they come back. as i delete the number just keeps getting higher as they just keep coming back. feel like bruce almighty fgs. how do i permanently delete so they stay away for good.

  • Anonymous

    I had no problem deleteing all my email on my iphone except for two from the same person. it keeps saying not able to move Message The message could not be moved to the mailbox Trash. I believe this is a virus from some Canadian Pharmacy people. I opened the email because it was from my friends name with no subject. When I opened it, it was selling pills. Help me delete this someone.

  • Jonathan

    how do i delete the email on the iphone…but keep it in my mailbox on my cpu?

    • Anonymous

      Jonathon – did you ever figure this out? Just got an iPhone, deleted some emails and the disappeared from my MacBook.

  • mine will not show a minus sign when I press edit and then select a message. It only shows a checkmark. No delete icon appears

  • Rweebers

    I received some empty messages without a subject. I understand these messages could be poorly written spamm. I would like to ignore these messages and delete them, but I can’t. I can’t open them, or via edit > select message > delete, delete them.
    Dragging to delete the file doesn’t help either. Anyone have a suggestion?

    • Nigel Peacock

      Right, I assume as no one has actually answered the bulk delete question it can’t be done?

      After Apple messed up my 3GS today by giving me the wrong info about back ups, I have over 4000 emails comning through…

      Can they be stopped, can they be mass deleted?

      please help me ….

    • I have the same problem on my iphone 4. Emails are dated 12/31/69 and 12/31/00. When I hit edit, there is no circle to mark to delete. HELP!

      • john

        Did you ever get this resolved?? I am getting the same thing!

      • Darren

        same with me same two dates and I can’t delet them!

        • Jeff

          Same here. I turn the phone off, and when I turn it back on the mails are gone. iphone 3GS after update to ios4. None the last 3 days or so.

  • Vclayton5

    I have more than 786 emails on my iphone. I have synced it but they still don’t get deleted. I do not have that many on my computer so why do they stay on my iphone and how do I get them deleted without having to do it one at a time?

    • Jeff

      Same here after update 3GS to ios4.

    • Cayce311

      Has anyone from the iPhone people addressed this problem?
      I have messages that have no content no subject and will not delete. What do we do?

  • Darren

    I have the new iPhone 4 and now have 6 or so messages that say
    “(No Sender), (No Subject), This message has no content…”
    and when i press edit, no little circle shows up to delete them..Plus when I slide my finger acroos nothing and there still there? WTF???
    DM, Ojai CA

    • I have this problem too! Have yo fixed it yet?

    • Just managed to fix it. When I was closing down mail, it was still running in the background. If you competely shut down mail either using SBsettings or shutting down your phone, and restart it, the message does not even appear.

    • Rstoky

      I have this problem for the first time. Amazingly it only showed upon my G4 i-Phone. It did not show up on my i-Pad or on my gmail on my computer. Any help?

  • 1993

    My email does not have a red minus key – now what?

  • Michael

    I just signed up for a Gmail account and it turns out that when I delete an email from my iPhone it removes it from my Gmail account. When I did this with my COmcast account it left the emails on Comcast. Is there a setting to help me with this ?

  • Rita Norton1

    My iphone will not let me delete instead it says archive

  • Dbblaw

    Withe a pop account I get the message Unable to move messages. “The message could not be moved to the mailbox trash”
    Any ideas?

  • Judi Gomez

    how do i delete the email on the iphone…but keep it in my mailbox on my cpu … POP3 settings on her phone to leave a copy of the email on the server. …

  • Richard

    did like you said and it says unable to move msg. whats the problem

  • Sgjones

    How can i delete the email from my iphone 4 and it still remain on my computer at work?

  • jdouglas

    Is there a way to delete bulk e-mail, in the bulk mail folder, with out checking off each individual e-mail and then deleting. Several hundred a day makes it rather arduous

  • I’m having a similar issue before. Whenever I try to delete emails in my hotmail, the screen will turn black and returns to the icon window. and when i checked, the emails I tried to delete are still there. i also tried to do it one by one but still it didn’t work. so what i did was checked the settings, checked (mail,contacts,calendar), then my account, then advanced and finally deleted mailbox. the trash check box was checked by default, so I tried to uncheck it. then tried to check it again…and this seemed to fix the glitch.

  • Gina

    The DELETE icon changed to an ARCHIVE icon. Where is the ability to DELETE? If I click this button or swipe the message for delete it stays in my email and later I have to DELETE it AGAIN from my computer. I am using GMail Apps.

  • smurph
  • Gltrprinczz

    How can you erase an email that I never used that I accidently typed in. It keeps popping up?

  • DeniseyarboughSmithh

    I never use the computer anymore. Is there a way to delete my hotmail messages that are on the computer from my phone? For example I delete a message using the mail app that came with the phone, but then when I get on the computer. I see the same message still in my inbox unread. I worry that because I don’t get on the computer often enough that my hotmail account is going to fill up.

  • Thanhnguyentan

    I accidentally deleted an important voice memo, how can I recover it again?

  • Thanhnguyentan

    in iphone 4, I accidentally deleted an important voice memo, how can I recover it again?

  • Michelle

    Is there a way to delete message from the iphone but retain them on my computer?

  • carol

    My Gmail won’t let me delete mail anymore. It will only archive. so my phone is filling up with junk. so AOL and Gmail are doing the same thing.

  • Chelsey

    Hey Everyone,

    Okay, awesome advice, but there is one problem that I cannot find the solution to in this thread. When I delete email messages from my iPhone and then close out they reload when my phone is checking for messages. Any solutions?

  • Carlos

    Dear sur,
    I would Like to érase Mail from my iPhone 4s, but i would Like fiesta to copy ThE mail to a file. Something Like the DOS commands
    Mail >> file.txt
    Érase mail

    Do You have any ideas?

  • Ashna

    Yeah i have a gmail but can only archive not delete, why?>

  • Ashika

    Is there an any way to remove/clear “recent other” in messages on iPhone?
    And I’m not talking about to remove the messages but when you go to the pen thing (where you can send new messages) in that you search the name for people to send the message in that when I search the name from start with M, someone’s email come in there even I didn’t save it in my phone or in someone’s contact. And that person send me message from her email and I didn’t save it still it comes!! Please help me to get rid off of that email..?

  • Ashika

    Is there any way to get rid off of the RECENT OTHER in messages in iPhone?
    Like someone text me on my phoen from his email. And I texted him back too. But I didn’t save his email in my phone or in my contact and when I go to the new message and I typed the name and his email still come with it says Recent } and his email address.
    Other }
    Please help me to get rid off if it.

  • Val

    Going back to the issue of deleting from the IPhone but NOT from the computer. I tried the Airplane mode and lo and behold it worked, however, as soon as I turned Airplane mofe OFF, all the email I had deleted from my phone got deleted from my computer…………any thoughtrs.



    I use I phone 5. I want to deleta email. I go to email, click Edit, choose red minus key, but I can not find the delete key on the bottom of the screen. Please help.

  • Jennifer

    Question I’m trying to delete old emails but they’re just transferring back and forth from junk to trash. How do I completely delete them from my iPhone

    • Jennifer

      Have iPhone 4 trying to erase old emails but they just keep transferring from junk to trash . How do I erase them from my phone completely?

  • kerry

    THe trash icon and reply to sender arrows etc have dissappeared from bottom of screen on my i phone anyone know how to re instate them ???

  • Beau Toxx

    You can bulk delete emails. Here’s how:
    1. Open your email account and tap EDIT
    2. Select a single email to delete by taping the button to the left of the email
    3. Tap and hold the MOVE at the bottom center of the screen
    4. While holding the MOVE button, deselect the email in step #2 by tapping again
    5. Release holding the MOVE button
    6. You get transferred to the TRASH page (You will see the number of messages to trash)
    7. Tap the TRASH can and all messages are moved into the trash (now you can bulk delete)
    8. Open the TRASH and select REMOVE ALL.