How to Delete All Your Emails at Once on Your iPhone or iPad (Updated for iOS 13)

How to Delete All Your Unread Emails at Once

Need iPad and iPhone help? Sign up for iPhone Life Insider, and I’ll help you with all of your iPhone troubleshooting and iOS-related issues. Here’s a question from an Insider who wants to know how to mass delete emails on their iPhone. In my answer, I cover how to delete all emails, or just all unread email on an iPhone or iPad.

Related: How to Delete Most Frequently Visited Sites on iPhone

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Hey Sarah, 

How do I delete ALL 17,000 of my UNREAD emails at once?

Sincerely,

Inbox 17,000

Dear Inbox,

Apple doesn't offer a Select All option for unread emails in the Mail app, although this option is available for all emails in a particular inbox. Mail users must individually select unread emails and then tap Trash in order to delete all their emails at once on their iPhone or iPad. Most iOS users find this to be a tedious waste of time. Fortunately, there is a hidden workaround to delete all emails, or just all unread emails quickly. Apple may eventually eliminate this workaround for mass deleting emails on the iPhone with the next iOS update; but for now, it works as a way to get rid of all your emails at once, whether they're in your Yahoo, Gmail, or other email account associated with your Mail app.

How to Delete All Unread Emails Quickly on Your iPhone & iPad

  1. In All Inboxes, if you only want to delete all unread emails on your iPhone or another subset of emails, such as flagged emails, tap the filter icon in the lower left of your screen. Unread is the default Mail filter, but it’s easy to change
  2. When you are sure only emails you want to delete are in the inbox, then tap Edit in the upper right corner.

    tap the filter icon in the mail apptap edit in the mail app
     
  3. Select an email (doesn’t matter which) by tapping and holding the empty circle to the left of it, then begin swiping up the page with your thumb.
  4. You'll see all the circles become highlighted in blue as your finger passes over them, and the number of emails you've selected at the top of the page.

    tap a circle to the left of an email in the mail appswipe up with your thumb while keeping your finger on the screen
     
  5. Once you've selected all the emails you'd like to delete, tap Trash.
  6. As you can see, before I started this process, I had over four thousand unread emails in my Inbox.

    tap trash to discard your highlighted emailsunread emails in mail app
     
  7. Here, after less than a minute of swiping, I deleted over a thousand unread emails in my Mail app!

    mass delete emails in the mail app

If you realize at this point that you’ve messed up and don’t want to delete everything, after all, don’t panic. Undo the mass deletion by using Shake to Undo. Just give your iPhone a shake and then tap Undo. It may take a while to restore the emails.

How to Delete All Emails in the Mail App on Your iPhone & iPad

If you not only want to delete unread emails but all the emails in a particular Mailbox, it's very easy to do. 

  1. First, tap the Mailbox you'd like to empty.
  2. Tap Edit.

    choose the inbox in the mail apptap edit to begin deleting emails
     
  3. Tap Select All.
  4. Now, tap Trash, and all the emails in the Mailbox will be deleted.

    tap select all
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Sarah Kingsbury's picture

Sarah Kingsbury is the Senior Web Editor and SEO Content Manager at iPhone Life. She manages the web editorial team and oversees all web and newsletter content. A long-time Apple enthusiast, Sarah can't live without her iPhone, Macbook Air, HomePod, Apple TV, or Apple Watch. As the original contributor to the iPhone Life Tip of the Day Newsletter, she wrote hundreds of iPhone how-tos to help users master their iPhones. It's safe to say that she has written or edited every tip published on iPhoneLife.com! Since 2013 she has co-hosted the iPhone Life Podcast, written an iPhone advice column and countless gear reviews and feature articles for iPhone Life magazine, and provided one-on-one iPhone-related assistance for our premium subscribers. In her 20 years of editing and writing, Sarah has done everything from working as the associate editor of the Iowa Source magazine to developing recipes and reviewing cookbooks for a vegetarian cooking website. But teaching people how to use their Apple devices is her favorite job so far. In her free time, she loves walking her dogs, painting, baking bread, and catching Pokémon. Sarah holds a BA in French from Minnesota State University, Mankato.