How to Swipe to Delete (or Archive) Gmail Messages on iPhone

Quickly delete or archive Gmail messages with a swipe

Smartphone touch

 John Lamb / Getty Images

Swiping to delete or archive an email makes managing your Gmail messages way easier in the Mail app for iPhone. After changing a simple setting on your phone, you can make a Trash or Archive option show up when you swipe messages.

You'll want to get the trash option on your iPhone if you want to actually delete emails instead of just archive them. Or, if you want emails to be kept when swiping them, but not remain in the Inbox folder, switch the swipe option to perform an archive.

These directions are relevant for iOS 12 but might also work in older versions of iOS.

How to Enable Swipe to Delete or Archive Emails

Here's how to turn on the option to delete or archive emails with a swipe:

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Go to Passwords & Accounts (formerly Accounts & Passwords).

  3. Pick an email account from the list.

    Three iOS screens showing Settings app icon, Passwords & Accounts, and a Gmail account
  4. Tap the email address again where it says Account.

  5. Scroll to the very bottom and select Advanced.

  6. Choose either Deleted Mailbox or Archive Mailbox in the section titled Move Discarded Messages Into. This will determine whether you see a Delete button or an Archive button when you swipe in Mail.

    Three iOS screens showing Account, Advanced, and Deleted Mailbox buttons

    At the top of this screen, confirm that Deleted Mailbox redirects to Trash if you want to swipe to delete emails. When you set swiping to Archive instead of delete, set the Archive Mailbox to All Mail. With archiving set as the action for discarding mail, you can still delete from the archiving button but not by swiping; you have to select More > Move Message, and then select Trash.

  7. Tap Account at the top of the screen, or swipe in from the left edge, to return to the previous screen. Finish by selecting Done.

    Two iOS screens showing Account and Done buttons

How to Swipe Email Messages

When you're in the Mail app and you're viewing the emails from the account you edited above, swipe from right to left on an email to see either a Trash or an Archive option (depending on your settings), a Flag option, and a More option.

Tap Trash (or Archive) to process the email. If you've set the option to Trash instead of Archive, and you want to archive a particular message, go to More > Move Message > All Mail.

Swipe for trash on iPhone