iOS 10: How to Delete All Mail?

Sep 27, 2016 - 103 Comments

iOS Mail

If you have updated to iOS 10 you may have noticed that the Mail app “Trash All” option is missing on the iPhone and iPad. This is unfortunate because the ability to delete all email in iOS is easily one of the more useful features to managing a busy email inbox. The lack of a “Delete All” button in Mail for iOS 10.0, iOS 10.0.1, and iOS 10.0.2 could just be a bug or mishap, but in the meantime if you’re looking to regain that trash all functionality we’ll show you a workaround that accomplishes a similar “Delete All” mail ability.

By the way, it’s not just “Trash All” that is missing in iOS 10 Mail, it’s also any ability to bulk select all emails in general. For now the workaround involves a lot of tapping and manually selecting emails and then trashing them, it’s a bit cumbersome but it gets the job done on iPhone and iPad.

How to “Delete All” Mail in iOS 10

  1. Open the Mail app in iOS 10
  2. Go to the inbox or mailbox folder you want to delete all emails from
  3. Tap on the “Edit” button in the upper right corner
  4. How to delete all email in iOS 10

  5. Now manually tap on every single email you want to delete, as signified by having a blue check mark next to the email message
  6. Now choose “Trash” in the corner
  7. Select emails and then choose Trash

  8. Confirm that you want to delete all selected emails by choosing “Trash Selected Messages”
  9. Confirm to delete all emails in iOS 10

  10. Repeat with other folders and emails as necessary

Quite a bit more hands on than before, but it works the same.

Losing a feature is rather unusual with an iOS software update, which suggests the removal of Trash All in Mail may be inadvertent. It remains to be seen if future releases of iOS 10.x will regain the ability, but hopefully we’ll regain the same ability to delete all emails on iPhone and iPad that existed in prior iOS software releases before 10.0.

Workaround to Delete ALL eMail in iOS 10

Another workaround allows deleting all emails in iOS 10 as well, but it should be stressed this is indeed a workaround and it is nonspecific in that literally every single email will be deleted from the iPhone or iPad in the process.

Do not attempt this without a backup or unless you are absolutely certain you never want those emails again, every single email will be deleted from the device whether it is read or unread:

  1. Open the inbox and then tap on “Edit”
  2. Tap on any message on screen so the checkbox appears next to it
  3. Now press and hold the “Move” button with one finger, and while holding the “Move” button, uncheck the message you previously checked
  4. Now release the “Move” button
  5. You’ll now be at the Inbox selection screen, at the top of the screen will show how many emails are selected, choose the “Trash” icon to move them all to trash and permanently delete them

This is an old workaround to delete every single email from Mail from long ago that continues to work with iOS 10 on iPhone and iPad. It is unforgiving and literally deletes every email from every account on the iPhone so be certain you wish to do that.

Know of another way to delete all email in iOS 10 on an iPhone or iPad? Let us know in the comments.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Taffy says:

    Awesome 👏 thanks 🙏

  2. Will says:

    We all run iOS9 so we have batch delete at our company. Our tech services department said we are close to moving to Samsung/Android. They set up our phones and the couple of approved wifi servers to block the 3x daily reminders to update to iOS10 so nice not to see that annoying update reminder. Apple has truly lost their way since Steve passed.

  3. Cole says:

    No way I’m tapping every single email. I have over 7 thousand

  4. Eve says:

    I meant emails not messages

  5. Eve says:

    My iPhone doesn’t give me the option to delete all messages at once. I go to the mail app then edit, try to mark all but only “flags” and “unread” come up.

  6. Zoe says:

    I have over 17,000 emails and ffs they’re all junk! I don’t have time to wipe that all off of my phone! I’m young, none of my emails are actually useful or important and I’d like to just wipe them all at once but apparently I can’t do that smh.

  7. John c says:

    “It is unforgiving and literally deletes every email from every account on the iPhone”
    This isn’t accurate.
    Only messages from the CURRENT inbox are deleted.

  8. Rick says:

    Thank you very much. Your entry was perfect.

  9. John says:

    So I have to select 7000 emails one at a time. Pathetic

  10. Chaim Meiersdorf says:

    I used the workaround and the inbox is empty. But my iphone 5s still says 20412 messages in inbox though nothing is there. How do I reset the counter?

  11. Joe W Hiller Jr says:

    I think Apple removed the “delete all” feature on purpose just to sell more icloud storage subscriptions. If you can’t get rid of your emails then you have to subscribe to more icloud storage in order to function! If I didn’t have so much invested in IOS technology, I’d dump the system.
    I’m certainly looking for an alternative now. This is a gross error in my humble opinion.

  12. Morris Floyd says:

    I use a certain email address to put in when I fear it will subject me to a lot of junk emails. I used to be able to delete them in bulk and was disappointed when this feature was deleted, leading to thousands of emails stored because I look at it quickly daily but don’t usually take the time to delete the unwanted ones, which are 99.9% of them. I found another way to handle it: On my iPhone, I simply deleted the relevant email account (Settings:Mail), which deletes all the messages in that account. Then I make sure all those emails have also been deleted from the email server. Then I can add the account back again and that mailbox is empty. Voila!

  13. Dave e says:

    I havs 13k to go through i have moved from android were rhia option has alaaya beeen available rut rur apple nor a food start i have shelled out cash for a beand new apple pgone i expect better with tour price rags of £599.99

  14. Vivian says:

    I have tried these various work arounds for more than two weeks, and the emails just keep on returning. So none of the methods work on my older phone with the new IOS. I have tried Alex’s “new way to delete emails” twice now on my accounts this evening but the emails than increased so that now I have 20,044 emails and the phone screen keeps freezing up. Help!

    • Morris Floyd says:

      What’s probably happening is that each time you try this unsuccessfully you end up with the old emails coming back into your account again. See my comment below.

  15. Alex says:


    As like many others if you I am not thrilled with the mail on IOS. However there is a way. Go into settings, mail, accounts. Once you get into accounts, select the account that has the emails you want to delete. Delete the account. Next, add the account back into your mail. After you do this exit settings, go to mail, and look in your mailbox that is linked to the email you just deleted and added back on. Your mailbox should be empty.

  16. John Paul says:

    First I want to say, thank you to this website for helping us out with something that should be straight forward but its not… thanks to ios10.

    Secondly, Apple WTH??? Why would you do this? Arent you trying to simplify things, my elderly mother got your phone after I recommended it to her for ease of use, but this is a joke. Please fix this as its really frustrating to do something which should be one command.
    If this is how youre trying to be important, then youve failed.

  17. judi says:

    Want to thank for your tips, insights, etc.Very much appreciate. I took your advice about:
    “iOS 10: How to Delete All Mail?” from Sept 27, 2016

    Great tip & it worked but a few minutes later all the deleted emails returned to the inbox. I don’t get it. I have been trying to delete about 12,000 emails & can’t unless I would do one at a time….no no no.

    What can you suggest or advise that causes this?

  18. Nicole Duran says:

    When I did the work around, it did work, but it deleted all the message from the server as well. I’m going to look at the settings to see if I can fix this. Fortunately, they’re still in the trash file when I access the email account on my computer.

  19. Peter says:

    Move to the All Trash folder that appears in the delete account.

  20. Peter says:

    I found another workaround. You need two mail accounts. I have a primary account where I receive all my mail. I have a second delete account. To dump your mail, do the old move mail trick but move all the mail to the All Trash folder (which you need to enable). Then go to the All Trash folder and select Delete All. Gone. Hope this helps.

  21. Kelly says:

    I have done the workaround MULTIPLE times and all of my mail continues to show up in my inbox. That is 9,000+ of emails that will NOT GO AWAY. I have tried deleting them immediately after trashing them over and over and they still show up. What am I doing wrong???

  22. zerge says:

    does not seem to work anymore in latest iOS. Trash option does not appear anymore

  23. Bill Di says:

    I actually thought the workaround was a joke – individually select the emails!?!?! That’s what we have been doing, and why we wanted a “Trash All” feature. Jeez!!

  24. Jeremy M says:

    The dumbest no most inconvenient way to delete your emails so if I have 100 emails I have to individually delete them twice you can’t tell me your happy with that

  25. DJ Frustration says:

    No mention of whether they fixed this issue in 10.2. Until they do, I refuse to update my iOS from 9.3.1. No reason to lose functionality that I DEPEND on.

  26. Kevin Wilson says:

    Dumbest thing I’ve read all day!

  27. Maria Trucios says:

    I have over 12000 emails and it’s not working. It keeps freezing. I’m going to the Apple site to leave a “suggestion.”

  28. tom says:

    What arrogance—they probably don’t even care they “nuked” that feature

  29. joh says:

    deleting multiple emails was one of the best features of the mail app…why this is gone is mind boggling.

  30. Gordon says:

    Found a brilliant way to do this place iPhone on road and drive forward and reverse over said phone no more problems

  31. William says:

    I remember a glorious time in Silicon Valley during the late 80’s and 90’s where ideas where a plenty and some even made it to production. But if what you made was not well received by both the industry and public, independent magazine writers and publishers would be ringing your phone of the hook. I respected those writers as they where techno junkies and they where blunt if the product was a flop or generally useless and haphazard but if it was good then they where your most vocal champion. Not so much anymore. I can only think of one logical reason for removing the delete all button. I shared my thoughts with Tyler Durden and he agreed.

  32. JS says:

    Oh and just to add, iTunes has become a laughing stock joke also.

  33. Wendy says:

    For the love of god I hope they put this back. I use it ALL THE TIME and it’s the first thing I noticed after the update. Whatever idiot thought it was a good idea to take away the select all / move to trash option should be fired immediately!

  34. Jack says:

    One by one takes too long I can’t believe they screwed that up. Emails are annoying at best now phone is overloaded with them. Fix it Apple please.

  35. julio says:

    So my iPhone is full and I’m desperate to open up space, and I can no longer off-load photos to my old iOS 10.6.8 computers. So, on my recently updated iPhone 5s, I mass deleted about 10,000 emails from inbox using the “hold finger on Move while tapping the selected messages, then the window showing those 10,000 emails appears, with options below. I hit “Delete Messages”, then went back to Mailboxes, selected All Trash, hit Delete All. Now I am in trouble. My account still shows 10,000 emails in the Mailboxes window, but when I hit that account, the iPhone shows that account as No Mail. Also, the All Trash number of emails, in Mailboxes, jumps around from 5,000, to 1400, etc. . I hit Delete All, after selecting All Trash, and it takes a while for the 1400, or whatever the amount at the time, to disappear. My inbox is still at 10,000, the Trash is at zero. Wonder if my iPhone 5s is gagging on too many emails trashed at same time? All comments and help welcome!

  36. rssoul says:

    i tried method one to free storage. now mail storage takes twice as much space. not happy. thanks for nothing

  37. Marietta Bartoletti says:

    I just purchased my first smart phone, an iPhone 7. When I clicked “mail”, all 26,000+ emails I’ve ever received were loaded to my phone without any option (that i could find) to select a date or to say “only new emails.” Since I already have copies on my MacBook Pro, I don’t need them on my phone. I will try to do the acrobatic finger strokes described to move them to the trash, but it sounds cumbersome. Not the simple Apple design I was expecting, especially after using Apple products at home and work for many years.

  38. jim says:

    Not only that you updated my phone without my approval, but you took features away that were very useful!! Whoever made that decision must not use their phone for e-mails !!!

    • imasahm says:

      Precisely, Jim. I have made it a point to not plug my iPad in at night so it would not update, until I knew whether I would like the newest IOS or not. I do NOT like, in fact, I HATE IT. So I absent-mindedly plugged it in the other night and guess what? That’s something else we need to raise a raucus over – APPLE SHOULD NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO FORCE UP TO UPDATE!! These are OUR iPhones and iPads that WE paid big bucks for and WE are entitled to our privacy and to say “yea” or “nay” as to what goes into and out of them.

  39. Brenda says:

    So upset you took away trash all, what are you thinking? Also, don’t like all the pot ups before I unlock my screen and harder to open with my thumb print, if I don’t do it just right I get Seri. Make our phones easier not harder!

  40. Gene says:

    not very helpful….

  41. Kelley says:

    C’mon Apple; don’t get so caught up in big splashy changes that you forget the small but important things that people want to keep and will actually use. And if I don’t want to update don’t nag me incessantly. My poor old 5s doesn’t want to be something that it’s not. Of course, making it easy for someone to keep using their old phone is not consistent with your monetary goals. Well, paying a ridiculous amount of money every couple of years for your latest offering is not consistent with mine.

  42. J Green says:

    Did iOS 10 update and now it says I have 9808 emails. !, when I go into my emails there is nothing there !!! How do I fix this problem

  43. Coen Schaap says:

    The ability to trash all was only added a short while ago. Bit now its gone, once again. @#$%!
    I have hundreds to delete each day! This is impossible!

  44. Laura says:

    My edit button is now a done button so I can’t use this workaround. Suggestions to get the edit button back??

    • Danny Pinkerton says:

      Laura, follow the instructions. The “Edit” button turns into the “Done” button after you select emails to delete. It is how you complete the action. Tap on Done. Then start over.

  45. Bob says:

    I have removed purged mail on server. Wonder if deleting account and resetting up would work?

    • Linda says:

      Yes, it would. If you delete the account, it will delete all the email. When you set it up again, it will go to the server to download your email, but if you have purged them from the server, it will have nothing to download. Then the trick is to delete mail daily so it doesn’t pile up again! (I’m still working on that one, having limited success) I could kill Apple for eliminating the trash all function, if they don’t bring it back soon, I swear I’m selling my iPhone and iPad and going Android. Apple must be losing it.

  46. Bob says:

    An update would be nice

  47. Bob says:

    Now 8051 emails to delete. I guess every email I ever had is going to load

  48. Bob says:

    Interesting work around – doesn’t work for me. Unfortunately had to replace iPhone 6P after updating to 10.0.2. Carrier took care of most of cost. Not at all sure it was hardware. Immediately phone not working after update NOW I have 7000 emails that reloaded from server and NO mass delete. Serious issue – taping and selecting trash is not going to work. Need help

  49. Jim says:

    Until it’s fixed in an update, I’ve switched to Microsoft’s Outlook email app for iOS, where you *can* select all to Delete.

  50. Mike says:

    It has long been a problem for users to delete multiple inbox mail messages–not a minor issue considering the amount of junk we receive. To select hundreds or thousands of messages for deletion one at a time is cruel and unusual punishment!! The prior Apple solution was to “select all” messages you want to delete and move them to your Trash bin. It seemed to work–at least until the messages came back. With IOS 9, Apple added a single button to trash all messages, providing a ray of hope. While the button removed all messages, once again they eventually came back. Now, with IOS 10, Apple has removed any ability to move or delete multiple messages, indicating that the fix didn’t work. That is curious since we can delete all messages in Trash with one click and they are gone for good. What bugs me is that Apple says it removed the functionality to protect us from accidentally removing messages instead of admitting it didn’t work.

  51. Ashley says:

    When I delete all of my emails as suggested by Vivian, it appears to work, but then the next time I open my mailbox, all of the emails are still there! This is so freaking annoying, why can’t Apple fix this issue?!?! I have over 6000 emails!

  52. Ashley says:

    When I delete all of my emails as suggested by Vivian, it appears to work, but then the next time I open my mailbox, all of the emails are still there! This is so freaking annoying, why can’t Apple fix this issue?!?!

  53. Dee says:

    Worked like a charm!!!

  54. DavidB says:

    School boy programming mistake in dropping ‘delete all’.

  55. Cheryl says:

    How can you delete message that keep coming back saying they cannot be moved to the trash in iOS 10?

  56. Vicki Hayes says:

    It works but it’s very very consuming when you have a busy email box. Hoping they correct this

  57. Natali says:

    Great tip, Vivian! I just deleted all 700+ emails in my inbox in a snap. A few extra steps than the “trash all” option but so much better than individually tapping and deleting each email :)

  58. Nick says:

    I have seen an option on another phone to remove yourself directly from a subscription based email, but do not have that option on mine. Any thoughts?

  59. Tammy says:

    Thanks so much Vivian for your post on September 27 on how to remove bulk mail from the mailbox on iOS 10!! It’s so much easier than checking each box seperately to delete!! Thank you!! 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼

  60. Tom says:

    It’s a shame but I’ve switched to the app called email it’s very similar to mail and syncs with all your devices. It has many great features including delete all but other cool features as well good luck 👍👍

  61. Sandy says:

    These instructions for older iOS version work…..
    It takes two hands – Go to Inbox – Select “Edit”- Button at top right – Select the first email in your folder – Release that finger – Press the Move button at bottom and keep it pressed – While still holding the Move button, deselect the first email using first finger – Now release both fingers and wait a few seconds – Now Mail should prompt you where to move all of your emails – Select the trash folder – From the trash folder, you can delete all items at once

  62. Tank says:

    Its crap like this that makes me question why I keep going with apple. My wife’s phone is not a trendy iPhone, costs less, and has more better/useful features.

  63. mike sanders says:

    I used the “new”method and inadvertently deleted 200+ emails that I cannot retrieve a very serious mistake for me, any thoughts on retrieval would be welcome.

    • iMike says:

      Try using Shake to Undo, literally shake the phone to see if you can undo the delete action.

      Otherwise look in the “Trash” mailbox folder and see if they are in there.

  64. Thanks says:

    I delete all mail in trash the same as before and I have 10.0.2

  65. Walt Seng says:

    I keep getting repeats of deleted mail coming back into my inbox on my iPhone. How do I stop this?

  66. Edge says:

    This is one that baffles me. I understand Apple changes stuff, but it took them until iOS 9 to introduce that, despite having it on an Android phone for a long time, then they got rid of it. I’d like to strangle the person who thought they should get rid of that feature.

    The also eliminated the ability to order items in the Notification Center by app. Now it’s only time-based. Bit regression as far as I’m concerned.

    Doesn’t OSXDaily have some pull with Apple on these?????

    • imasahm says:

      FYI, today is 10/24/2016, time is 1:20pm. I just spoke with Apple rep and he informed me that the “Delete All” feature is no longer offered…period! I’m about ready to learn a new system and dump Apple, both phone and iPad!

      The rep’s advise is to go to the Apple site and submit a comment. He said that is how the “Delete All” feature was added in the first place.

  67. Pete says:

    No delete all feature in Mail now? And no slide to unlock? And the terrible Messages mess?

    I guess I don’t understand iOS 10 or macOS Sierra. They both removed a ton of features and added a ton of problems. What is the point of these updates?

    I wish I had never updated, I do not want to regress when I update software. That makes no sense at all.

  68. Vivian says:

    Someone on the Apple site wrote the following and while it’s cumbersome, it worked for me.

    “Go to your inbox, Tap Edit, then Mark All, and then Mark All as Read. This will then close the Edit mode.

    Tap Edit again, and tap the top message in the inbox. Press and hold the Move button with your thumb.

    While holding the Move button, uncheck the top message, and then release the Move button.

    You will then be on a screen with a trash icon, click it and your emails are deleted.”

    • Di Keller says:

      That is what we had to do before, shame we are going backwards.

    • GailS says:

      Thanks for posting this! I’m newer to Apple and didn’t know about this trick. Worked great though I am very disappointed that the Delete All function is gone. Bring it back!!

    • Lisa Ressie says:

      THANK YOU! This is the best workaround that I’ve seen. I was so upset to lose the Trash All functionality because that’s been the only way I can manage the hundreds of emails I get daily. Clicking on each email individually and sending to Trash was not a viable option so this workaround that you’ve mentioned is the most reasonable one I can find. Thanks again!

    • DJ Frustration says:

      That there needs to be a multi-step workaround to do the same things as a single button press in the previous is evidence of bad design. Jobs is probably rolling over in his grave.

    • Emma says:

      OMG! Can’t they went backwards. Thank you SO much for this info. Saves so much time over having to to mark the 100s of emails I get a day.

    • Ross says:

      Thank you Vivian. These megalomaniacal companies expect people like you to fix their problems without reimbursement. They suggest that it’s about letting the public join in on their development and make the world a better place, ‘We listen to you.’ especially when it helps fix their shoddy work. Thanks again.

    • Tc says:

      Thanks! That worked for me. I hope they put the “Move all” button back in the next bug fix update.

    • Rogerio says:

      Vivian, thank you for sharing this information. I had over 800 emails. Now everyone in the trash.

    • Kelley says:

      Thanks Vivian! That worked for me. I would rather do this little dance than repeatedly select emails.

    • Curtis says:

      Thanks for the tip. But what a pain. I have my security cameras on their own email for movement notifications. I can get a thousand a day. I don’t get the loss of a useful Trash All function.

    • Sarah Cohen says:

      Thank you lots – I just did this and it worked – but an hour later all the emails I had deleted from my inbox – and it had said it was empty – had come back again – all 12000 of them. Thank you for sharing your knowledge so generously – do you have any more advice. My phone storage is getting full with 2GB of emails I don’t want and can’t get rid of!

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you Vivian! This was an awesome fix… 10,000 emails g-o-n-e, just like that!

    • Steve says:

      I didn’t see a Trash icon- just Inbox…until I’d manually deleted one email. then the Trash icon appeared.

      • Bob says:

        Yup, me too. I suspect they noticed this workaround and removed it in one of the updates. Looks like Apple REALY does not want to have a delete all function. Maybe they had some sort of problem – unhappy users losing everything, etc?

    • Brooke says:

      It works but when I reboot the app all my mail is back. I’ve done this 5-6 times, shutting down the iphone and reloading the app. Help?

  69. Graham says:

    The option to delete email from lock screen notifications has also gone.. 🤔 Not appreciated.

    • Pete says:

      Mail management on the lock screen is a mess. The new lock screen is a disaster, I hate it. It reveals tons of personal information without even entering a passcode.

      • RBD says:

        This makes me want to dump Apple; can’t believe they took the feature away – WHAT IS GOING ON WITH APPLE??

      • Ann says:

        I’m ready to lose my mind with the unlock function having to press and double press to put my password in. I’ve always hated the iphone for not letting you delete all on messages and finally get it as a feature and have to deal with it going away. I have over 6000 messages I don’t have the time to clean up one by one and the banner now which was easy to read above my apps now covers whatever I’m doing and is constantly getting in my way and the notifications center shows all my personal information. I wish I never upgraded.

        • Bart says:

          All you have to do is go into settings > general >accessibility > home button > then toggle the option for “rest finger to open” to on. This will let the phone unlock the way it used to be with just your finger print and no click.

          Hope it helps!

          • Mark Power says:

            Recently updated to OS10 to my regret. Each update is worse than its predecessor. Doesn’t Apple have a human testing these things in real time instead of computers and algorithms? Anyway, my home button setting does not have a ‘rest finger to open’ setting.

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