How to quickly trash all emails on iPhone and iPad

By , Nov 6, 2015

iOS 8 Mail iPhone 6 screenshot 001

Apple Mail in iOS 9 brings out a trio of major enhancements making the app more useful than ever: document attachments, intelligent searching with Proactive and enhanced multitasking features on the iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4 and iPad Pro.

Aside from these headline enhancements, Mail in iOS 9 includes a couple nice-to-haves, among them an easily overlooked feature to quickly delete all your emails in an inbox with just a few taps. This can save you a lot of time and help tame your inbox.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to trash all your messages in Mail in one go.

How to trash all emails in Apple Mail for iOS 9

Step 1: Launch Mail on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad with iOS 9 or later.

Step 2: In the inbox list, tap on an inbox you’d like to wipe clean. In my example, I’m going to select my iDownloadBlog work account. I’m overwhelmed with these emails on a daily basis and have decided I want to see them vanished.

iOS 9 Mail Trash All iPhone screenshot 001

Step 3: Hit the Edit button.

Step 4: Three buttons should now appear alongside the bottom: Mark All, Move All and Trash All. Select Trash All to continue.

iOS 9 Mail Trash All iPhone screenshot 003

Tip: Depending on your iOS email settings, you may instead see a button labeled Archive All, but more on that further below.

Step 5: You shall now be presented with a warning asking you to confirm that you really wish to delete all the messages in that particular inbox.

iOS 9 Mail Trash All iPhone screenshot 002

Step 6: Tap Delete All to confirm.

That’s it, you’ve now reached inbox zero!

Does this trash all messages in my email account?

No, just your inbox messages. If some of your emails are sorted in folders, you’ll have to select each folder in Mail to remove messages within it.

Where did my messages go?

Deleting one or more messages by default moves them to the Trash or Archive folder on the server, depending on your choice in Settings → Mail, Contacts, Calendars.

To choose where trashed emails are archived or moved to a special mailbox on the server, tap on your email account name in Settings → Mail, Contacts, Calendars and then Account to access options. Now hit Advanced at the bottom and choose Deleted Mailbox or Archive Mailbox under the heading “Move discarded messages into”.

iOS 9 Mail Trash All iPhone screenshot 004

By default, trashed messages go into a dedicated server folder named Trash, Deleted Messages or some such. Archived emails are typically saved inside a folder titled All Mail, Archive or similar, depending on your email provider.

To select a custom folder (on your device or email server) for trashed and archived emails, make your choices under the Mailbox Behaviors heading on this screen.

iOS 9 Mail Trash All iPhone screenshot 009

Can I get my trashed emails back?

Depending on your email provider and device settings, you should be able to undelete trashed emails. Start by selecting your email account under the Accounts heading in Mail, then tap on your deleted messages folder, such as Trash.

iOS 9 Mail Trash All iPhone screenshot 006

Now hit Edit, select the messages you wish to recover, tap on Move and choose the inbox where you’d like to moved them to. For some email services, such as iCloud, iOS’s Settings app lets you choose a period of time after which trashed emails get wiped from the server for good.

Can I move all messages in one go?

Yes. After tapping Edit, just choose Move All instead of Trash All.

iOS 9 Mail Trash All iPhone screenshot 007

Can I delete all messages permanently?

As mentioned, trashed emails are moved into a special server folder before they’re permanently wiped after a preset period of time (the default is usually 30 days).

iOS 9 Mail Trash All iPhone screenshot 008

If you open your trash folder in Mail, you can select any previously deleted email and tap on Delete to immediately remove it from both the folder and the email server, permanently.

Can I mark all messages as read?

Sure you can. Go to your inbox, tap Edit and choose Mark All. You’ll be given options to flag the selected emails or mark them as read.

Hopefully you’ve learned a few new tricks to help you master your emails and bring order to your inbox, using Mail in iOS 9.

If you like this how-to, do share it on social media and pass it along to your friends. If you want, you can submit you own tutorial ideas at tips@iDownloadBlog.com.

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  • To this day there is not an option to select/delete all mail after you perform a search in the iOS mail app. Why?

    • André Le Comte

      Apple sux. We need to jailbreak and use tweaks like AllMail for these basic options.

      • J™

        if Apple sux why are u still using their products then?

      • Most likely because one bad app or its lack of functionality isn’t enough to switch to android or windows lol.

      • André Le Comte

        If jailbreaking becomes too difficult then I will stop using Apple products.

      • Does a tweak that does this work on iOS 9 yet?

  • Lordrootman

    I will be more than happy if Apple make it easy to block all emails like the ways it’s on calls

    • Lillian Ford

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  • André Le Comte

    Finally! I’ve waited eight years for this basic feature. The AllMail tweak was a good reason to jailbreak.

  • Mr_Coldharbour

    About bloody time a Delete All feature was brought to the table. Only been dwelling about this basic feature since the very beginning of the Mail app for iOS. Apple has this thought or belief that we all have the luxury of time to one-by-one select emails/messages, etc and wait for their fade in and fade out animations, almost as if time is abundant entity.

  • Steve

    There is basic flaw with this “tip” … the writer assumes that when you select trash the email goes to the trash folder on the server. If you have set up your email as POP account, this is not true. When you trash your email on your iPhone or iPad it will go to the trash folder on your device. Not on the server. Only IMAP accounts will duplicate the action on the server.

    And, has anyone trashed all their emails only to have them re-appear the next time you open email. Many have, as I have.

    • Howard Milstein

      If you want to delete your emails from any or all accounts to TRASH.. there is one important thing that must be done or else, the mail will come back saying ” unable to move to trash”
      In settings under the account name, tap it. Then… Go to advanced settings. ( tap)
      Under the MOVE DISCARDED MESSAGES INTO: uncheck archive; CHECK : Deleted Mailbox. Go back, save it and for once ; this problem is vanquished!! ( then delete your trash when you want. Nobody explained this for years and now , at least in iOS 9.1 and above; it finally….. Works!

  • iPhoneWINS

    yay