Make Your iPhone Delete or Keep POP Mail

Force Email From POP Servers to Stay or Get Deleted From Your Account

A delete button close up picture of a keyboard
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If you're using POP for your email and you delete messages from your phone, they might still be in your account when you access it from a computer or some other device. You can stop this from happening by changing the settings associated with that account.

Unlike IMAP, which lets you delete messages from your account no matter where you're logged in at, POP only lets you download those messages. To delete them, you have to either manually go through them again from a computer or make a setting change that alters them automatically.

Note: These instructions apply to Gmail accounts specifically, but similar steps can be taken for Outlook, Yahoo, and other email providers.

Keep or Delete Mail From POP Servers

To stop seeing mail you've already deleted from your phone, or to do the opposite and make sure they aren't deleted when you delete them from your phone, do the following:

  1. From your Gmail account, choose the gear settings icon to the right, above your mail.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Open the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.
  4. Go into the POP Download section.
  5. For Step 2 on that page, select an appropriate action:
    Keep Gmail's copy in the Inbox: When you delete email from your phone, the messages will be removed from that device but will stay in your account so that you can still access them from a computer.
    Mark Gmail's copy as reading: Just like with the previous option, the email will stay put in your online account when you remove them from your phone but instead of remaining untouched, they will be marked as read the moment they're downloaded to your phone. That way, when you open the mail on your computer, you can still have all the messages you downloaded; they'll just be marked as reading.
    Archive Gmail's copy: Similar to the other two options, the messages in your account will remain there when you download or delete them from your device. However, instead of remaining in the Inbox folder, they'll be put away elsewhere to clean up the Inbox.
    Delete Gmail's copy: Use this option if you want Gmail to remove all the email you download to your phone. To be clear, this means that the moment you see the email download to your phone or another email client, Gmail will delete the message from the server. The mail will remain on the device so long as you don't delete it there, but it will not be available online when you log on to Gmail from a computer.