How to Delete Emails & Stop Default Archive on Your iPhone

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

Do you swipe on emails to trash them only to see they've been archived instead of deleted? Here's how to delete emails on your iPhone, by changing the default swipe action from archive to delete. Below I'll show you how to change these settings for two different email apps. The Apple Mail app will need to have its settings changed from your iPhone's Settings app, while the Gmail app settings will be adjusted from within the Gmail app. If you use another third-party email app like Yahoo! and your emails are archived by default, try opening its settings within the app similar to the instructions below for Gmail. Another solution for inbox overwhelm is learning how to delete all emails on your iPhone, or mass delete emails.

Related: How to Set Up Out of Office Auto Reply for Outlook, Gmail, iCloud & More

To turn off default archiving for the Apple Mail app:

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Tap Passwords & Accounts.
  • Select the email account you want to change. On the next screen, select the same email account under Accounts.
  • Tap Advanced.
  • Under Move Discarded Messages Into, tap Deleted Mailbox.
  • Tap Account in the upper left corner to return to the former screen.
  • Tap Done in the upper right to save changes.
  • Repeat these steps for every email account you want to change. Now when you swipe all the way left on an email in the Mail app, the email will be moved to Trash.

To turn of default archiving in the Gmail app:

  • Open the Gmail app.
  • Tap the three horizontal lines in the upper left corner. 
  • Select Settings.
  • Tap Swipe actions.
  • You can choose to change either the right or left swipe action.
  • On the next screen, select Trash.
  • This will change the swipe action for all email accounts in the Gmail app.
  • Now when you swipe in the chosen direction on an email from any account in the Gmail app, it will be deleted to Trash.

With your emails sent to Trash instead of archive by default, you'll save on storage as emails in Trash are typically erased after 30 days.

Top image credit: ImYanis /

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Author Details

Hallei Halter's picture

Author Details

Hallei Halter

Hallei is a 2018 graduate of Maharishi University of Management with a BFA in Creative & Professional Writing. She's currently working on a novel about people using witchcraft to clean their houses.