Tip: How to Delete Gmail Messages on Your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch

One of the annoying things if you use the Mail app on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch for Gmail or Google Apps account is that when you delete the email, by default Gmail will archive the message instead of sending it to the Trash folder.

Yesterday, Google tweeted that you can finally configure Google Sync to delete messages on your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

You can follow these simple steps to enable the “Delete Email as Trash” feature in Google Sync:

  • Go to m.google.com/sync (update: please note that the Google Sync features are only available only if you’ve setup your Gmail account as a Microsoft Exchange account)
  • Here you should see a list of your iOS devices that are configured to use Gmail
  • Tap on the relevant iOS device.
  • You should now see an option to Enable “Delete Email as Trash”, tap to select this option.
  • Then tap on the save button.

That’s it, now when you tap on the Delete button in the Mail app on that iOS device, Gmail should send the email to the Trash folder instead of archiving it.


If you’re thought you already had this feature. You had probably set up your email account as a Gmail account rather than Microsoft Exchange account.

Google Sync features are available only via Microsoft Exchange. Google Sync via Microsoft Exchange includes features such as push, which means that the emails will be delivered to your iOS device as soon as it arrives, unlike the regular Gmail account, which retrieves emails at the frequency of every x minutes.

[via @gmail]

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  • Machado

    I don’t know about iphone and ipad users but I still getting the information “device not supported”.

    I don’t know if it’s relevant but I receive that information in portuguese, altough I have the english language on my iOS 5.0.1.

    It’s sad, it’s a feature I’ve been waiting for so long and still dont work on my iPod Touch 4.

    • We tested it on an iPhone, but there should be no reason why it shouldn’t work on the iPod touch as Google has mentioned it as well (assuming of course your iPod touch is running on iOS 4 or later and you’ve setup your Gmail or Google apps account as a Microsoft Exchange account).

    • Rafael

      Clique em alterar idioma, e coloca em Ingles!

  • t

    do you need to use exchange in order to configure this?

    • Yup, Google Sync features are available when you set your Gmail or Google apps account (assuming your administrator has enabled it) as an Exchange account.

  • Um, hasn’t this always been possible by going to Settings >> Mail >> Gmail account >> Turn Archive messages to “off”?

    • Kurt

      I have tried doing it this way and even though I have set that feature to “off” my messages are still archived and not trashed.

  • Sorry, if that changed with iOS 5. I’m still on 4 and that’s how I did it there.

  • Mathew Tomlinson

    @Simone – No it’s always been the case – Turn Achieve Message Off and hey presto it deletes instead of achieve. Did nobody know this – including Google?

    • Gargamel

      You’re right, if you you configured your account using the regular Gmail configuration. The only drawback I see in this way is the lack of push notifications and download for new emails, it only supports periodic sync.

      If you’re setting up your gmail account as an Exchange account you have the benefit of push notifications for new emails, and using the above info – the ability to delete instead of archive emails.

  • Samsung suck

    Or with this pathetic step ; use “move” option instead “delete”…and throw them to the trash…

  • Axe

    You can alway change the gmail settings via pc to delete not archive. Then your iPhone will be able to delete gmail msg. I’ve been using this for a very long time.

  • Jason

    So I enabled this feature and now my gmail doesn’t push to either of my devices. I have tried deleting the account and setting it up again to no avail. Is anyone else having an issue?

    • Are you sure you’ve setup Gmail as a Microsoft Exchange account? As push won’t work if you’ve set it up as a Gmail account on your iOS devices.

  • Jason

    Absolutely. I have had them set as exchange accounts on both devices for months and have never had a problem.

    • That’s really strange. It didn’t cause any issue for us.

  • amena

    if we go to mail setting , there is an option Archive Messages which if you turn it off, that makes you allow to delete the mail in Gmail.

  • Beast

    There is a lot of people missing the boat here. If you have your gmail setup as exchange and try an delete it before this fix it would not go to trash but instead just take the label off of it. This is a welcome fix for someone who has had to go into all mail and find a custom search string to delete all mail without labels. Thank you google for finally addressing this issue!

  • fester420

    I have always had gmail on my iphone and never had this issue

    • Beast

      Then you don’t have it setup as exchange or you never looked in your all mail folder.

  • Amy

    just to be clear, the Archive Messages option is on your iPad in Settings/Mail,Contacts,Calendars/Gmail Account/Archive Messages. It works for iPad3!

  • This is exactly what I was looking for and it worked perfectly on my iPhone 4 and iPad2… Thanks so much for posting this!!

  • many thanks for tips 😀

  • good, i really need this tips.