Make Your iPhone Delete or Keep POP Mail

A delete button close up picture of a keyboard
Filograph / Getty Images

If you're using POP for your email and you delete messages from your phone, those emails 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.

IMAP synchronizes the email on your phone with that on the email server; in contrast, POP has your phone download messages but leaves copies on the server. The upshot is that you have to either manually go through them again from a computer or change your phone's settings to allow you to delete mail from the server when you delete it from your phone.

Note: These instructions apply to Gmail accounts specifically, but you can take similar steps 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 on other computers or in the mail provider's web interface (or to make sure they aren't deleted when you delete them from your phone), do the following:

  1. From your Gmail account on your computer, choose the gear settings icon to the right, above your mail.

  2. Click or tap Settings.

  3. Open the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.

  4. Go into the POP Download section.

For step 2 on that page, select an appropriate action:

    1. 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.
    2. Mark Gmail's copy as read: Just like with the previous option, the email will stay put in your online account when you remove it from your phone — but instead of remaining untouched, it will be marked as read the moment it's 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 read.
    3. 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. Instead of remaining in the Inbox folder, however, they'll be put away elsewhere to clean up the inbox.
    4. 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 or any other device that has yet to download the message.