How to Delete Email on the iPad

Screenshot of iPad

Whether you like to keep your life organized and your inbox clean, or you simply don't like junk mail clogging up your inbox, it is important to know how to delete email on the iPad. Luckily, Apple made this task very simple. There are three different ways to delete email, each with their own uses.

Note: If you use the Yahoo Mail or Gmail app instead of the iPad's Email app, you should skip to the bottom where specific instructions are included for those popular apps.

Method 1: Tap the Trashcan

Perhaps the easiest way to delete a single message on the iPad and definitely the most old school method is to tap the Trashcan. This will delete the mail message you currently have open in the Mail app. The Trashcan button can be located in the middle of a row of icons at the top-right corner of the screen.

This method will delete the email without confirmation, so be sure you are on the right message. However, most email systems like Yahoo and Gmail have a way of retrieving deleted email messages.

Method 2: Swipe the Message Away

If you have more than one email message to delete, or if you want to delete a message without opening it, you can use the swipe method. If you swipe from right to left on a message in the Inbox, you will reveal three buttons: a Trash button, a Flag button and a More button. Tapping the Trash button will delete the email.

And if you are in a hurry, you don't even need to tap the Trash button. If you continue swiping all the way to the left edge of the screen, the email message will automatically be deleted. You can use this method to delete several emails very quickly without even opening them.

Method 3: How to Delete Multiple Email Messages

Want to delete more than a few email messages? Swiping to delete is fine if you want to get rid of a couple of emails, but if you need to do a serious cleaning of your inbox, there's an even quicker way.

  • At the top of the Inbox is an Edit button. This button is just above the Search bar. If you tap the Edit button, you can select multiple email messages.
  • After you have selected the email messages you want to delete, you can tap the Trash button at the bottom of the screen to delete them.
  • You can also use this method to move them to a folder, mark them as Read or Unread, or move them to your Junk folder.

Where Do Deleted Emails Go? Can I Recover Them If I Make a Mistake?

This is a common question, and unfortunately, the answer depends on what service you use for email. Most common email services like Yahoo and Gmail have a Trash folder that contains deleted email. In order to view the trash folder and undelete any messages, you will need to navigate back to the Mailboxes screen.

  • The iPad's screen should read Mailboxes at the top-left. If it does not, there will be a navigation link with a left arrow head to guide you back to the main mailbox menu. For example, if you are in Yahoo mail, the link will read < Yahoo!. Click this link to return to the main mailbox.
  • Scroll down the Mailboxes menu until you locate the section for your mail. Yahoo, Gmail and other mail services will be labeled with a gray bar. You can open or close the folders associated with that service by tapping the gray bar. You should also see the Trash folder, which you can open by tapping on it.
  • In order to undelete a mail message, you must move it from the trash folder to back to the inbox. Select the message you wish to undelete and tap the Move button. This is the button at the top of the screen that looks like a folder. It is right next to the trash can.
  • After tapping the Move button, you will be prompted to choose a destination folder. Simply tap the Inbox folder and the message will be safe.

    How to Delete an Email From the Gmail App

    If you use Google's Gmail app for your inbox, you can delete messages using the Trashcan method explained above. Google's Trashcan button looks slightly different than the one in Apple's Email app, but it is easily located at the top of the screen. You can delete multiple messages by first selecting each message by tapping the empty box to the left of the message in the Inbox section of the app.

    You can also archive messages, which will remove them from the inbox without deleting them. You can archive a message by swiping from left to right on the message in the inbox. This will show the Archive button.

    • Make a mistake? In the upper-left corner of the screen is a button with three lines. Tapping this button will bring up the Gmail menu.
    • Tap More at the bottom of this list and then scroll down until you locate Trash.
    • After tapping Trash, you can select the message you want to undelete and then tap the triangle button in the upper-right corner of the screen to drop down a menu. This menu will let you move the message back to the Inbox.

    How to Delete an Email Message in Yahoo Mail

    The official Yahoo Mail app makes it simple to delete a message. Simply slide your finger from the right side of the message to the left to reveal the Delete button. You can also tap the message in the Inbox and locate the Trashcan button at the bottom of the screen. The trashcan is in the middle of the menu bar. Tapping this button will also delete the highlighted email message.

    • You can undelete a message by tapping the button with the three lines in the upper-left corner of the screen. This will let you choose a different folder.
    • Scroll down until you locate Trash. (Don't be confused by the Deleted Messages folder—you need to go to the Trash folder.)
    • In the Trash folder, tap the message you want to undelete and then tap the button that looks like a folder with an arrow pointing up. This button is on the menu bar at the bottom of the screen. When you tap the button, a pop-up menu will appear allowing you to move the message to a new folder. Choosing Inbox effectively undeletes the message.