How to Move or Delete iPhone Emails in Bulk

Delete old emails or move read messages at any time

Illustration of red email envelope in garbage can

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You can delete emails on your iPhone to declutter and restore storage space. Moving emails is also an option in the Mail app. Both tasks are easy to do, but moving and deleting emails in bulk is slightly different than doing so one by one.

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.

Move or Delete Emails in Bulk on an iPhone

Relocating or removing several emails at once from an iPhone is as easy as selecting the messages and then choosing what to do with them.

  1. Select Edit at the top right of the screen.

  2. Tap each message you want to be deleted or moved. A blue check mark appears next to each selected email.

    To deselect an email you've already tapped on, just tap it once more to remove the check mark.

    You can scroll through the folder while keeping emails selected, but be sure to avoid tapping the Cancel button or you'll lose the selection.

  3. Choose Move, Archive, or Trash from the bottom of the screen depending on what you want to do with the emails.

    If you tap-and-hold the Archive button, you'll find a Trash Selected Messages option if you want to do that rather than archive the emails.

    Three screens showing Edit, Archive, and Trash Selected Messages buttons in iOS Mail app
  4. If you deleted the emails, they'll appear in the Trash folder. If you decided to move the emails, choose which folder to put them in; you can even place them in the spam folder to mark them as junk.

Deleting Every Email in a Folder

Select all emails option in Gmail

You can delete every single email in a folder if you'd rather not spend time selecting each of them. However, not all iOS versions support this, and neither do all email folders.

The best option for removing 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 and then empty the folders.

How to Move or Delete Email Automatically

Gmail filter to delete emails from sender

Deleting or moving emails automatically is ideal if you find yourself managing messages from the same sender each time you get them. For example, maybe you always move an email from your brother into a "Family" folder or your Amazon purchase confirmations into an "Amazon" folder.

Auto-managing emails in this way is done through email filters/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're using IMAP on your iPhone to access the emails, the filters will apply on your phone, too.

Utilizing IMAP from your phone is basically the same as loading the exact same emails from the mail server, so if the emails on the server are being moved or deleted through filters, the same folders will be affected on your iPhone, too.

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