Moving, Deleting, Marking Messages in iPhone Mail

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

Person 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 messages, or marking messages as junk.

Information in this article applies to iOS 12, although the directions work for all currently supported versions of iOS.

Delete 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:

  1. Go to the Inbox, then tap Edit.

  2. Tap each email you want to delete to display a check mark next t it.

  3. Tap Trash.

    Edit button, Trash link button in iOS Mail
  4. The email messages are deleted from the Inbox.

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

One way to effectively manage email on the iPhone is to sort through your messages to ensure you deal with the important ones.

Messages can be marked so that certain actions are associated with the message. The options are:

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

To mark a message or multiple messages:

  1. Go to the Inbox, then tap Edit.

  2. Tap each message you want to mark. A check mark appears next to the selected emails.

  3. Tap Mark.

  4. Choose either FlagMark as Read (or mark a read message as Unread), or Move to Junk.

    Edit button, Mark button, Move to Junk button on iOS
  5. To undo a flag, mark as read, or mark as unread, select the messages, tap Mark, then choose that option.

The Mark as Read and Mark as Unread options appear contextually. For example, if the selected messages are unread, the Mark as Unread option does not display.

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 status).
  • Mark as Read: Swipe right to left a short distance to reveal the three buttons. Tap More, tap Mark, then tap Mark as Read
  • Mark as Unread: Swipe left to right a short distance, then tap the Unread button.
  • Move to Junk: Swipe right to left a short distance, tap More, tap Mark, then tap Move to Junk.

Set iPhone Email Reply Notifications

If there's an important email discussion going on, set your iPhone to send 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.

  2. Tap Notify Me.

  3. Tap Notify Me.

    Flag, Notify Me..., Notify Me buttons in iOS Mail
  4. A grey bell icon appears in the message folder signifying that notifications are enabled for that thread.

Move Emails to New Folders on iPhone

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

  1. In any mailbox, tap Edit.

  2. Tap the message or messages you want to move. A check mark appears next to the selected messages.

  3. Tap Move.

    Three iOS screens showing Save New Mailbox button, Edit Inbox button and Move email button in Mail app
  4. Select the folder you want to move the messages to.

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.