Moving, Deleting, Marking Messages in iPhone Mail

Manage your inbox using the stock Mail app on your iPhone or iPad

Women using iPhone in cafe

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The Mail app that comes built into the iPhone supports standard mail-management functions such as deleting messages, flagging them, or marking them as junk.

The information that follows has been tested on iOS 12, although the procedure works for all currently supported versions of iOS.

Deleting Emails on the iPhone

The simplest way to delete an email on the iPhone is to swipe from right to left across the message you want to delete. Either swipe all the way from one side of the screen to the other to delete the email or swipe part way and tap Trash.

To delete more than one email at the same time, follow these steps:

  1. Tap the Edit button at the top right corner of the Inbox.

  2. Tap each email you want to delete so that a check mark appears to its left.

  3. After you select all the emails you want to delete, tap Trash at the bottom of the screen.

    Edit button, Trash link button in iOS Mail

The deletions are immediate. There is no confirmation screen.

How to Flag, Mark as Read, or Move to Junk in iPhone Mail

One of the key things about effectively managing your email on the iPhone is to sort through all your messages to ensure you deal with the important ones:

  1. Tap the Edit button in the top right corner. Tap each message you want to mark. A check mark appears next to each selected email.

  2. Tap the Mark button at the bottom.

  3. In the menu that pops up, choose either FlagMark as Read (you can also mark a message that you've already read as Unread in this menu), or Move to Junk.

Flag adds an orange dot next to the message to indicate that it's important to you.

Mark as Read removes the blue dot next to the message that indicates that it's unread and reduces the number of messages shown on the Mail app icon on the home screen.

Mark as Unread puts the blue dot next to the message again as if it were new and had never been opened.

Move to Junk indicates that the message is spam and moves the message to the junk mail or spam folder for that account.

The Mark as Read and Mark as Unread options appear contextually. For example, if all the messages you marked are currently unread, you won't see a mark-unread option.

Edit button, Mark button, Move to Junk button on iOS

To undo any of the first three choices, select the messages again, tap Mark and choose from the menu that pops up.

Use swipe gestures to perform many of these tasks, such as:

  • Flag: Swipe right to left a short distance to reveal three buttons on the right side. One of these is Flag (or Unflag, depending on the message's status). Tap it.
  • Mark as Read: Swipe right to left a short distance to reveal the three buttons and tap More. Then tap Mark and Mark as Read
  • Mark as Unread: Swipe left to right a short distance to reveal the Unread button at the left side. Tap it.
  • Move to Junk: Swipe right to left a short distance and tap More. Then tap Mark and then Move to Junk.

Setting iPhone Email Reply Notifications

If there's a particularly important email discussion going on, set your iPhone to send you a notification any time a new message is added to that discussion:

  1. Open the discussion you want to be notified about then tap the flag icon in the bottom left.

  2. Tap Notify Me.

  3. Tap Notify Me in the new pop-up menu. You'll see a grey bell icon in the message folder signifying that notifications are enabled for that thread.

    Flag, Notify Me..., Notify Me buttons in iOS Mail

Moving Emails to New Folders on iPhone

All emails are stored in the main inbox of each email account when they arrive. To move them to different folders:

  1. When viewing messages in any mailbox, tap the Edit button in the top right corner.

  2. Select the message or messages you want to move by tapping them. A check mark appears next to the messages you have selected.

  3. Tap the Move button at the bottom of the screen.

  4. Select the folder you want to move the messages to. To do this, tap the Accounts button at the top left and select the correct email account.

  5. Tap the folder to move the messages to and they'll be moved.

    Three iOS screens showing Save New Mailbox button, Edit Inbox button and Move email button in Mail app

Running into problems using email on the iPhone? Find out what could be causing them and how to fix them in what to do when your iPhone email is not working.