Ways to Reduce iPhone Email Storage

Animated mailman illustrating how to reduce iPhone email by eliminating spam.

Fanatic Studio/Getty Images 

For many iPhone users, the amount of storage space they have available on their devices is at a premium. With so many apps, photos, songs, and games on everyone's phone, it's easy to bump up against your storage limits—especially in you have an 8GB or 16GB phone

In that situation, you may find yourself without enough room to do what you want and need to free up some memory. Have you considered your email?

Having all your mail right at your fingertips on your iPhone is great, but email can also take up a lot of storage space and if you need all the free space you can get, it's a good place to consider making some changes. 

Here are three ways to make email take up less space on your iPhone.

Don't Load Remote Images

Most of us get a lot of emails with images in them, whether its newsletters, advertisements, confirmations of purchases, or spam. Either way, in order to display the images embedded in each email, your iPhone has to download every image. And since images take up a lot more storage space than text, that can add up to a lot of memory used.

If you're OK with your email being a little plain, you can block your iPhone from downloading any of these images. To do that:

  1. Tap Settings

  2. Tap Mail, Contacts, Calendar

  3. Scroll to the Mail section

  4. Move the Load Remote Images slider to Off/white.

Even though you're blocking remote images (i.e., images stored on someone else's web server), you'll still be able to see images sent to you as attachments.

Since you're not downloading as many images, it takes less data to get your mail which means it will take longer to hit your monthly data limit!

Delete Emails Sooner

When you tap the trash can icon when reading email, or swipe across your inbox and tap Delete, you may think you're deleting the mail, but you're not. What you're actually telling your iPhone is "the next time you empty my trash, make sure to delete this one." You don't delete email immediately because there are iPhone email settings that control how often the iPhone empties its trash.

Of course, all the things waiting to be deleted still take up space on your phone, so if you delete them sooner you'll free up space faster. To change that setting:

  1. Tap Settings from your home screen.

  2. Tap Mail, Contacts, Calendar

  3. Tap the email account whose setting you want to change

  4. Tap Account

  5. Tap Advanced

  6. Tap the Deleted Messages menu

  7. Tap your selection. We'd recommend After one day. When you do that, emails that you mark to be deleted will be removed from your phone every day.

Not every email account supports this setting, so you'll have to experiment to see which you can use this tip with.

Don't Download Any Email at All

If you want to get really extreme, or just really want to use your storage space for something else, don't set up any email accounts on your iPhone at all. That way, email will be taking up 0 MB of your precious storage.

If you don't set up email accounts, that doesn't mean you won't be able to use email on your phone. Instead of using the Mail app, you'll instead go to the website for your email account (say, Gmail or Yahoo! Mail) in your web browser and log in that way. When you use webmail, no email gets downloaded to your phone.