iPhone/iPod Touch: How to Delete Gmail Messages Instead of Just Archiving Them

   Posted July 13, 2012 by David Kirk in Apple iPhone


If you use the Mail client to manage your Gmail messages, then you have found that instead of being able to delete them, the default settings only allow you to archive them. Here’s how to delete the messages completely.

When managing a gmail account through your iOS device, you may notice that you do not have the option to delete messages. If you only see the Archive option, you can change it through these steps.

1. Open Settings.

2. Select Mail, Contacts, Calendars.

3. Under Accounts, select the Gmail account you want to switch from archive to delete.

4. Go to Archive Messages and set it to OFF.

disable archive messages

Now go to the Mail app and try to remove a message.


archive gmail email


Google wants to encourage users to archive emails instead of deleting them completely. This has been an emphasis in gmail since it was established. Which is better or worse is a worthy debate, but at least you know how to do either.

These instructions have been confirmed on iOS 4, iOS 5, and iOS 6.


About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
View more articles by David Kirk

The Conversation

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  • How do you do this if you setup Gmail using exchange? I was excited for multiple exchange accounts on iOS4 so I could push gmail messages to my phone. It’s sort of a bummer that in return I can’t delete messages easily.

    • rangan

      > in iphone all the calls log get deleted the moment it croses some 50 calls iw ould like to increase it further so that i can see all the calls i made and all the calls i recd over amoth also since i have suuficient space why i cannot exploit is there any way .i should be able to give space to ech one depending on my usage for mail or calls or music or so on

  • Chadice

    Great article! Thanks!!

  • Freo

    Thanks very much, a google search sent me straight here and it’s so simple 🙂

  • Nancy

    I had to turn my email off and back on again before this would work – otherwise, perfect solution! Thanks!

  • Calla104

    So helpful, thanks

  • V Bomer

    Great, was annoyed by this since the day the changed it!

  • Veronica

    Brilliant! That has been bugging me for months. Thank you!!

  • Isabel

    How do I delete recently contacted email addresses from my iPod touch??

  • Ashish

    Great info. I was looking for the exact information/steps 🙂

    Thanks a ton!!