How to Pick Folders to Push in iPhone Mail

Sync specific email folders to your iPhone

When you initially set up your email accounts on your iPhone, you may have chosen to push all email folders from the server to your phone. What if you don't want every folder pushed?

If you have an IMAP or Exchange account set up, you have control over which folders are pushed to the Mail app. Changes made to those folders on the server are pushed to your iPhone. In addition, you can select the folders you want to push to your iPhone from your iCloud email account, and set up a schedule for fetching those you don't need to have pushed.

The information in this article applies to iPhones with iOS 14 through iOS 11.

Push Specific Folders With iCloud Mail

When you set up the Mail app on your iPhone, your first mail account was probably iCloud Mail. You can make changes to the folders you have pushed to the phone at any time. Here's how:

  1. Tap the Settings icon on the iPhone Home screen.

  2. Select Mail > Accounts in iOS 14. In earlier versions of the iOS, tap Passwords & Accounts or Mail, Contacts, Calendars to open the Account list.

    iPhone showing path to mail accounts in iOS 14
  3. Select Fetch New Data at the bottom of the Accounts screen.

  4. Tap the iCloud mail account in the list of accounts.

  5. Select Push in the Select Schedule section.

  6. Place a check mark next to each of the folders in the Pushed Mailboxes section that you want to automatically push to the iPhone. Remove the check mark next to any folder you don't need to be pushed.

    iPhone Mail showing Fetch New Data options for iCloud account

The folders you checked sync promptly with the iPhone. You can set the rest of the folders to sync every 15 or 30 minutes, hourly, or manually in the Fetch New Data screen. These folders sync in the background when the iPhone is powered up and has a Wi-Fi connection.

Push Specific Folders With an Exchange Account

If you have an Exchange account set up on your iPhone, you can choose which folders to push to your device from the settings.

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Go to Passwords & Accounts, or Mail, Contacts, Calendars on some older devices. In iOS 14 and later, the path is Mail > Accounts.

  3. Select Fetch New Data at the bottom.

  4. Turn on the slider next to Push at the top of the screen and choose the Exchange account you want to edit.

    iPhone Settings path to Fetch New Data for Exchange account
  5. Select the folders whose changes you want to be pushed to iPhone Mail automatically. Deselect any folders you don't want pushed to the Mail app.

Make sure the folders you want have a check mark next to them. You can't uncheck Inbox.

Push Folders for IMAP Accounts

For you to sync specific email folders on an IMAP account, your email provider must support the feature. Gmail, for example, lets you pick which labels to show in IMAP accounts, meaning that if you hide those labels, they won't show up on your iPhone.

However, you can't do this from your phone. Using Gmail as an example, log in to your account in a web browser and access the Labels area of the settings. From there, uncheck labels to prevent those folders from syncing to the Mail app on your phone.

Gmail Settings showing the Show in IMAP option for labels
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