How to Move or Delete iPhone Emails in Bulk

Delete old iPhone Mail emails or move read messages at any time

Illustration of red email envelope in garbage can

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Delete emails on your iPhone to declutter and restore storage space. Moving emails is also an option in the Mail app. Maybe you have lots of newsletters you don't want to read or old emails that you've already looked at. Moving and deleting these messages in bulk is the best way to deal with several at once. Both tasks are easy to do, but moving and deleting emails in bulk is slightly different than doing so one by one.

Instructions in this article apply to iOS versions 12, 11, 10, as well as older ones such as iOS 9.

Move or Delete Emails in Bulk on an iPhone

To relocate or remove several emails at once from an iPhone, select the messages then choose what to do with them.

  1. Go to the Inbox and select Edit.

  2. Tap each message you want to delete or move. A blue check mark appears next to each selected email.

    To deselect an email, tap it once more to remove the check mark.

    You can scroll through the folder while keeping emails selected, but don't tap the Cancel button or you'll lose the selection.

  3. Choose Move or Archive depending on what you want to do with the emails.

    To delete emails rather than archive the emails, tap and hold Archive, then select Trash Selected Messages. Deleted emails are moved to the Trash folder.

    iOS 9.0.2 includes a Trash All button for some folders, but the feature was removed in iOS 10 and newer.

    Three screens showing Edit, Archive, and Trash Selected Messages buttons in iOS Mail app
  4. If you chose to move the emails, select a folder to put them in. Place them in the spam folder to mark them as junk.

Delete Every Email in a Folder

You can delete every email in a folder if don't want to spend time selecting each of them. However, not all iOS versions support this, and neither do all email folders.

Select all emails option in Gmail

The best way to remove all emails from a folder is to log in to the email provider's website and do it there. Another option is to connect your email to an email client on your computer, then empty the folders.

Move or Delete Email Automatically

Delete or move emails automatically if you find yourself managing messages from the same sender each time you get them. For example, to move an email from your brother into a Family folder or your online purchase confirmations into a Receipts folder.

Gmail filter to delete emails from sender

To automatically manage emails, use email filters and rules, which the iOS Mail app doesn't support. However, some email providers do, in which case you can set up the email filters from a web browser through the webmail service. As long as you use IMAP on your iPhone to access the emails, the filters will apply on your phone, too.

Using IMAP from your phone is the same as loading the emails from the mail server. When emails on the server are moved or deleted through filters, the same folders are affected on your iPhone.

The technique for setting up email rules is different for each email provider, but it's usually self-explanatory. For example, creating email rules in Gmail isn't the same as filtering emails in Yahoo Mail.