How to Delete an Email Account on an iPhone

Remove an email address and all messages or just disable an account

iPhone screen showing option for deleting email account
iStock

People's phone numbers changed regularly until pretty recently. Every time you moved or changed service providers, you'd receive a new number that would lead you to contact everyone you know to make them aware of the change.

Today, email addresses are much the same. Maybe you've landed a new job or changed email providers. Whatever the reason, you occasionally need to remove the email account you're accessing with your iPhone. It's a fairly straightforward process.

Follow this basic procedure to remove an email account from your iPhone's Mail app:

  1. ​Open Settings.
  2. Tap Passwords & Accounts. In earlier versions of iOS, this might be called ​Mail or Mail, Contacts, Calendars. If you're not using the current iOS version, you might also have to then open Accounts.
  3. Select the email account you wish to remove.
  4. Tap ​Delete Account at the bottom of the list.
Passwords & Accounts, Gmail and Delete Account buttons in iOS Settings

Confirm by tapping Delete Account or, in some cases, ​Delete from My iPhone.

Deleting an Email Account Removes All Emails From the iPhone

This is true for all account types: IMAP, POP, and Exchange as well as accounts configured with automatic settings (such as Gmail, Outlook.com, and iCloud Mail). iOS Mail will remove all emails and folders listed and created under the account.

​​In other words, you'll no longer see messages in the Mail app. The messages may not be wiped from the phone immediately, though, so it might be possible to recover a portion using forensic data recovery.

Deleting an Email Account From the iPhone Doesn't Delete the Account Itself

When you delete an email account from your iPhone, the email account and address remain unchanged. You can still receive and send emails on the web or in other email programs set up to use the email account.

Deleting an Email Account Doesn't Delete the Emails From the Server

For IMAP and Exchange accounts, nothing changes on the server or in any other email program set up to access the same account. iPhone Mail simply stops accessing the messages and folders, and you are no longer be able to send email from the account using that app. Nothing changes for POP accounts either.

If you use POP, the iPhone might be the only place where your emails are stored. This is the case if you've set up iOS Mail to delete emails from the server after downloading them and the same messages have not been saved anywhere else before.

Calendars and Other Features of Your Account

Deleting an email account from an iPhone also removes calendars, notes, to-do items, and contacts that use this account. ​If you still want access to those features, you can disable only email for the account (see below).

If You Want to Send Emails Using the Account's Email Address

Having an email account set up on an iPhone is not necessary to send messages using its address in the From line. Simply add the address as an alias to an account you do use on the iPhone:

  1. From the Settings app, open Passwords & Accounts. If you're not using the current iOS version, you might need to go into Mail > Accounts, POP Account Information > Email.
  2. Choose an email account from the list.
  3. Tap the email address next to Account.
  4. Tap the address again, this time the one next to Email.
  5. Tap ​Add Another Email.
  6. Enter the email address you want to use for sending, and then tap Return.
  7. Return to the previous screen with the Account button, or Return if you're using an older iOS version.
  8. Tap ​Done​.

Adding alias addresses works only with vanilla IMAP and POP accounts. With Exchange accounts and those using Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and other account types with automatic settings, adding alias addresses for sending is not possible on the iPhone.

You might be able to send from such addresses if you add them to the respective service for sending using their web interface, though. If you add an alias address to an Outlook.com account, for instance, it would be available for use in iOS Mail for sending as well — and automatically.

In the same vein, if you add a sending alias to a POP or IMAP account, make sure the account's outgoing mail server lets you send using the alias address.

Disabling Instead of Deleting

You need not delete an email account from the iPhone entirely to remove or hide emails. To turn off an email account on the iPhone while still being able to access the same account's calendar, for example:

  1. ​In the Settings app, open Passwords & Accounts, or Mail > Accounts if your phone isn't using the newest iOS version.
  2. Choose an email account from the list.
  3. Disable the email account by toggling the button to off instead of on (i.e., the bubble will be white instead of green to indicate that it's disabled). Make sure ​Mail​ is turned off for IMAP and Exchange accounts. For POP email accounts, make sure ​Account​ is turned off on the same screen.
Passwords & Accounts, Gmail, Mail toggle to OFF in iOS Settings

You have to tap Done if you're using an older iOS version. If you don't see that button, you can assume that the changes have been saved, and you can exit the settings.

Turning Off Notifications Only

Of course, you could also disable automatic mail checking or notifications for the account. Then you can still receive and send messages from the account, but it remains hidden from obvious sight and conveniently out of the way.

To turn off automatic mail check for an account on an iPhone:

  1. From the Settings app, go to Passwords & Accounts. Some older versions of iOS don't have that menu item. Instead, tap Mail > Accounts.
  2. Open Fetch New Data.
  3. Tap the desired email account.
  4. Make sure Manual is selected. You can find the Manual option on older versions of iOS through the Select Schedule menu.
Passwords & Accounts, Fetch New Data, Manually buttons in iOS Settings

To disable only the notifications for new messages you receive at an iPhone email account, while the messages are still downloaded automatically and ready once you open Mail:

  1. From the Settings app, open Notifications.
  2. Scroll until you find Mail, and then open it.
  3. Select the account for which you want to disable new mail notifications.
  4. Disable the notifications for that email account by toggling the Allow Notifications button to off (so that it turns white instead of green).
Notifications, Mail, and Allow Notifications toggle to OFF in iOS Settings

Some older versions of iOS have different settings. If you don't see the above, go instead to Alert style when unlocked and make sure None is selected. Also, see that ​Show in Notification Center and ​Show on Lock Screen are both turned off. You can disable the ​Badge App Icon, too.

To hide an account's inbox from the top of Mail's Mailboxes screen:

  1. From the Mail app, swipe left to go to the Mailboxes screen.
  2. Tap Edit.
  3. Make sure the account is off in the top section by removing the check in the bubble. You can also move an inbox or account farther down by grabbing the three-bar icon () next to it.
  4. Tap Done to save the changes.
Edit, Checkbox, and Done button in iOS Mailboxes screen

To open an account's inbox at any time, tap Inbox under its name on the Mailboxes screen.

You will still receive notifications for emails from VIP senders. Notifications for these messages are handled separately; you receive them even if you have notifications turned off for an account. To change the VIP notification settings, go to ​Notifications​ > ​Mail​ > ​VIP​ and make changes analogous to the ones for the email account.

The same applies to thread notifications. If you have told iOS Mail to alert you to replies you receive in a conversation, the settings for thread notifications will apply instead of those for the account where you receive the email. You can change these alert settings under Notifications > Mail > Thread Notifications in the Settings app.