Learn to Quickly Archive or Delete Messages in iOS Mail

Using iPhone in car

The quickest way to archive or delete email messages from the Mail app on an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad is to use a swipe motion. Below are detailed instructions on how to set up swipe to delete or swipe to archive.

The reason swiping is quicker than most methods of deleting or archiving email is that it takes just one quick motion from the left to right, or right to left, to immediately trigger the action. Normally, you'd have to enter the message and delete it from there or use the Edit button to select which messages should be removed or archived.

Archiving means to send the message to the account's archiving folder, which is away from the Inbox but not in the Trash folder (you can still get it later). However, trashing an email sends it to the Trash folder.

How to Set up Swipe Delete/Archive

Here's how to get the delete or archive button to show up when you swipe emails in the Mail app:

Swipe to Archive

The Mail app is automatically configured to support swipe to archive when you swipe a message to the left. Put your finger down on the far right side of the message and then swipe all the way across to the left side. You'll see a few options show up on the right, one of which is Archive, which you can tap to activate.

If this isn't working for you, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Settings app on your device.

  2. Open the Mail option.

  3. Scroll down to the MESSAGE LIST section and tap Swipe Options.

  4. On the bottom where it says Swipe Right, tap the option next to it and choose Archive.

You should now be able to swipe all the way from the right to the left, and immediately archive that email.

Swipe to Delete

If you followed the steps above, you can swipe right (from the left to the right) to instantly send any message to the Trash folder with the Trash option. Notice that this is the opposite motion to archiving an email.

Don't see the Trash option when you swipe a message? Return to the settings mentioned above and make sure Archive is chosen so that the Trash option is shown when you swipe in the opposite direction.

More Information on Managing iOS Emails

You can also delete or archive an email on your phone or tablet by hitting the Edit button.

Just select which messages you want to manage and then tap Archive to archive them.

If you want the Archive button to be the Delete button instead, so that messages are deleted instead of archived, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Settings app.

  2. Navigate to Accounts & Passwords.

  3. Choose your email account from the list and then tap it once more on the next screen.

  4. Go into the Advanced menu for that mailbox.

  5. Choose Deleted Mailbox instead of Archive Mailbox under the MOVE DISCARDED MESSAGES INTO section