Mail App Message Not Downloaded from Server: 7 Troubleshooting Tips

Has your Mail app given you an error message that says, "this message has not been downloaded from the server"? If you're asking yourself, "Why am I not getting emails on my iPhone?" read on. There are multiple reasons you might be getting this error, and we'll show you several different fixes.

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

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Check Internet Connection

The first thing you'll want to do if you get an error that says "This message has not been downloaded from the server" is to check your internet connection and cellular service. If you are not connected to the internet and don't have a cell signal (or are out of data), your Mail app won't be able to connect to the server and cannot download messages. Here's how to check your internet connection and reconnect if possible:

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Look in the upper-right corner of your iPhone screen to see the Wi-Fi signal icon. If you see this icon, it means you're connected to the internet, though your signal still might not be strong.

Wi-Fi symbol

If you don't see the Wi-Fi signal but instead see a cellular data icon (like 5G, 4G, or LTE), you're not connected to Wi-Fi. Check your cell signal to see if you have bars.

Data symbol

If you are not connected to the internet, read our article on what to do if your phone won't connect to Wi-Fi.

Update iOS

Sometimes running an out-of-date iOS on your iPhone can cause issues and glitches in apps like Mail. Here's how to check if you're running the latest version of iOS:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Tap General.

  3. Tap Software Update.

    Software Update
  4. If there is an update available for you, you'll see it on this screen.

    Software update available

To learn more about how to update to the most recent OS, check out our article on how to update your iPhone to the latest Apple software. Then, sign up for our Tip of the Day newsletter to learn all about the new features available to you after you upgrade.

Close & Relaunch Mail App

For many different iPhone bugs and glitches, closing and relaunching the affected app can often fix the problem. It runs on the same logic of turning something off and on again to get it working. An old trick but a good one! Here's how to close and relaunch the Mail app to fix problems with messages not being downloaded from the server:

  1. Open the Mail app and swipe halfway up the screen to open the App Switcher.

    Swipe up to open App Switcher
  2. Swipe up on the Mail app to close it completely.

    Close Mail app
  3. Tap on the screen outside of the App Switcher to close it.
  4. Reopen the Mail app to see if your messages have been downloaded.

    Open Mail app

Restart iPhone

This tip, like the last, operates on the "Have you tried turning it off and on again?" model of tech support. Like restarting the Mail app, restarting your iPhone can sometimes fix a glitch when you don't know what else to try.

Check out this article on how to restart your iPhone X or later or this article on how to restart your iPhone 8 or earlier.

Check Push & Fetch Settings

Push and fetch settings determine how the Mail app retrieves emails from the server. When you have push enabled, your Mail app will automatically receive all of your messages from the email server. When you use fetch instead of push, the Mail app will check for new messages at intervals you set. If there is a problem with either of these settings, changing them may fix the problem. Here's how to change your push and fetch settings:

  1. Open Settings and tap Mail.

    Tap Mail
  2. Tap Accounts.

    Tap Accounts
  3. Tap Fetch New Data.

    Tap Fetch New Data
  4. If push is on, try toggling it off. If it's on, toggle it off.

    Toggle push off or on
  5. If you turn push off, configure how often you would like your iPhone to fetch new data.

    Fetch settings

Keep in mind that fetching data more frequently will use more battery. Your iPhone will only fetch data in the background (that is, when you're not using the Mail app) when plugged into a power source and when connected to the internet.

Remove & Re-Add Email Account

If you are having trouble with your Mail app, sometimes removing your email account from the app and re-adding it can reset and fix any persistent problems with the account. Here's how to do it:

  1. Open Settings and tap Mail.

    Tap Mail
  2. Tap Accounts.

    Tap Accounts
  3. Select the account you want to delete and re-add.

    Select your account
  4. Tap Delete Account.

    Delete account
  5. Confirm Delete from My iPhone.

    Confirm delete
  6. Wait for the account to be deleted.
  7. You may need to restart your phone before re-adding your account or you may get an error message.
  8. Return to Mail in Settings and tap Accounts.

    Tap Accounts
  9. Tap Add Account.

    Add account
  10. Select the email client for the account you'd like to add.

    Select email provider
  11. Tap Continue if you see the pop-up shown below.

  12. Sign in to your email account as normal.

    Sign into email
  13. Configure the settings for your account.

    Configure settings
  14. Tap Save.


Now your email account should be re-added to the Mail app. Check the Mail app to see if your issue with the error message "this message has not been downloaded from the server" has been resolved.

Reset Network Settings

Resetting your network settings is a slightly more drastic step because you'll need to reconfigure your preferred settings after you reset them, and you'll have to reenter any saved Wi-Fi passcodes and re-pair Bluetooth devices. But if you are having persistent internet connectivity issues that affect messages being delivered to your Mail app, this may be a fix you want to try. We have an article that will walk you through how to reset your network settings.

We hope that one of these tips has solved your problem with the "this message has not been downloaded from the server" error message in the Mail app. If you have another tip that's worked for you, let us know in the comments!

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Author Details

Elisabeth Garry's picture

Author Details

Elisabeth Garry

Elisabeth Garry is an Associate Editor for iPhone Life. Formerly of Gartner and Software Advice, they have six years of experience writing about technology for everyday users, specializing in iPhones, HomePods, and Apple TV. As a former college writing instructor, they are passionate about effective, accessible communication, which is perhaps why they love helping readers master the strongest communication tools they have available: their iPhones. They have a degree in Russian Literature and Language from Reed College.

When they’re not writing for iPhone Life, they’re reading about maritime disasters, writing fiction, rock climbing, or walking their adorable dog, Moosh.