How to Avoid Permanently Deleting Mail by Accident on Your iPhone

* This post is part of iPhone Life's Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

Are you someone who finds themselves poring back through their deleted emails, searching for that 20% off promo code you thought you weren't going to use? If you think you might want an extra step of precaution before emails are permanently deleted from your trash folder, consider turning on the Mail app's Ask Before Deleting feature.

Related: Mail App Disappeared from iPhone? How to Find & Restore It (2022)

iPhone Life
Discover your iPhone's hidden features
Get a daily tip (with screenshots and clear instructions) so you can master your iPhone in just one minute a day.

Why You'll Love This Tip

  • Avoid accidentally permanently deleting an important email.
  • Ensure that you are slowly and deliberately deleting emails from your trash folder to avoid careless mistakes.

To Turn On Ask Before Deleting in Mail App

You can turn this feature on in Settings on the iPhone. For more tips about using your iPhone, be sure to sign up for our Tip of the Day newsletter! Here’s how to avoid accidentally deleting mail in Apple's native Mail app.

  1. Open Settings.

    Open settings to access mail settings
  2. Tap Mail.

    go to mail settings on iphone
  3. Under Messages, toggle on Ask Before Deleting. It will be green when enabled.

    turn on ask before deleting
  4. Now, after you've moved an email into the trash folder in the Mail app, open the Mail app's Trash folder.

    Navigate to trash
  5. Open a message you'd like to delete.

    Open email
  6. Tap the Trash icon.

    delete item in trash can in mail app
  7. Then, click Delete Message to confirm and delete your email.

    ask before deleting email in trash in mail app

And that's all there is to it! This extra precautionary step has allowed me to avoid permanently erasing emails when I was quickly trying to empty my trash folder. I don't like the idea that with just one click of a button, something might be permanently gone. This soothes my anxiety, and maybe it will make you feel more comfortable about clearing out all the pesky junk mail in your inbox too!

If you have the opposite problem, and you want to get rid of all your junk messages quickly, you can set up your trashcan to clear automatically within your Mail settings on your iPhone.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.


Author Details

Conner Carey's picture

Author Details

Conner Carey

Conner Carey's writing can be found at She is currently writing a book, creating lots of content, and writing poetry via @conpoet on Instagram. She lives in an RV full-time with her mom, Jan and dog, Jodi as they slow-travel around the country.