Can't Delete Email from iPad or iPhone?

By Ben Greiner | February 15, 2017
Ben is the founder of Forget Computers, an award-winning Apple-focused technology consulting company, that is now part of the Ntiva family.

Are you having trouble deleting email from your Apple iPad or iPhone? Here's a quick fix if you're getting an error message every time you try! 

NOTE: This is an old — and popular — article related to a common problem with iOS 9, 10 and 11. If you're running iOS 12 or newer (today we recommend running iOS 14 or newer) and experiencing this issue, try checking Settings > Mail > Accounts, select the appropriate account. Select “Re-Enter Password” and then enter the password for that account.
Are you seeing this error message when trying to delete a message from iPad or iPhone?
Unable to move message . The message could not be moved to the Trash. 

If yes, we have the solution for you!


Note: This fix does not work with Hotmail account. Hotmail is NOT IMAP, it used EAS and does not offer these options. To fix Hotmail the account needs to be removed fully and then setup as an "" email in the iOS Mail setup.


How to delete email from iPad or iPhone - Instructions:

Navigate to your email account's settings

  • Go To Settings (Gear icon). 
  • iOS 9 and earlier: Tap Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
  • iOS 10: Tap Mail.
  • iOS 11: Tap Accounts and Passwords.
  • Select your email account.
  • Tap the "Account" line to pull up the settings sheet.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and tap Advanced (At the very bottom. You may need to hide the keyboard to see this.)

Set up Mailbox Behaviors to store message in the correct folders "On The Server"

  • Under the "Mailbox Behaviors" section, select "Drafts Mailbox" 
  • In the new window, select the "Drafts" folder from the "On the Server" section. You should see a check mark next to this folder. Do NOT check the "On My iPhone" "Drafts" selection at the top. 
  • Tap the "Advanced" button on the top left to go back to the advanced page. 
  • Repeat this process for the "Deleted Mailbox" and "Sent Mailbox",  selecting the corresponding "On The Server" mailboxes. With Gmail accounts, you will also have the ability to map an "Archive Mailbox", which can be linked to the "All Mail" mailbox. 
Back Out to Complete the Changes
  • Tap the "Advanced" button on the top left. 
  • Tap on "Account Info". 
  • Tap "DONE" (do not tap Cancel).

You may need to then completely shut down, and then turn your iPhone back on.


Watch our video "How To Configure Mailbox Behaviors" to learn more about how to manage your email on your iPhone!




Tags: Apple