A new swipe-left feature to delete emails was promised to us in iOS 8 for the Mail application. And yet, when I swipe left, it only shows More, Flag and Archive. That is beyond disappointing.

How can I get it to show Delete instead of archive from the inbox?

I need a fast way to delete mails so they go straight to the Trash. And so far, the only time I see Delete when I swipe left is if I'm actually in the Trash folder.

Note: This is for a Gmail account.

5 Answers 5

  1. Go to SettingsMail, Contacts, Calendars.

  2. Select the Gmail account in question.

  3. Select AccountAdvanced.

  4. In the second section called "Move Discarded messages into" change Archive Mailbox to Deleted Mailbox.

    The messages will then be deleted instead of archived.

Apple KB Article: Archive your Gmail messages

  • 1
    Omg they put this in a not-so-obvious area.. Thank you so much! Worked!
    – Yes Barry
    Sep 18, 2014 at 21:04
  • Doesnt seem to work on GMAIL iOs App. Swiping still only shows "archive" option. Also swiping the lock screen notification still only shows "archive" option.
    – haemse
    Apr 27, 2016 at 1:09
  • @haemse what's your gmail account set up as, the online web account settings? Gmail started off with the intention you don't need to delete, only archive from the inbox. I think you can change this to delete. Apr 27, 2016 at 6:01
  • @haemse just to recap, the Gmail app has completely different setting for mail accounts. Ask about the Gmail App in a new question - but I think it's not supported, but 'Inbox by Google' CAN delete emails. Apr 27, 2016 at 15:58
  • Tested on iOS 13.4 - Go into Passwords & Accounts; select Gmail; select your account; select Advanced; there you can choose Delete rather than Archive Mar 31, 2020 at 17:28

While searching for a solution I accidentally noticed that if you set the default "Swipe Right" to "Archive" it will show this message below: "Accounts that include Archive as a default action for swiping left will offer Trash for swiping right".

I checked and now I get the Trash option as well! (even though the message doesn't make sense, we are setting the Swipe Right and not the Swipe Left as Archive).

  • Hi, I think that as this question was posted the next day after iOS 8 was released that's worth while noting that your answer applies to iOS 8 ?(I've not got gmail set up on iOS 8, so cannot confirm it myself) Sep 22, 2014 at 18:56

You're in luck - it's there. You just need to swipe faster and further to the left. Make it a "full sweep" from right to left.

This'll result in immediately deleting the mail message. In case you'll accidentally delete a message - which is imminent #imho - you simply "shake" your iPhone to ask you if you want to undo it.

In case something is not working as expected, you can verify the settings through Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Swipe Options to see if the common actions are up to your standard.

  • With a Gmail email account the default is not to deleted an email, but to remove it from the inbox, and leave it in the 'All' Mail folder. Thus the swipe Faster and Further will still only Archive the email and not delete it. Sep 18, 2014 at 20:53
  • 1
    That's peculiar. I've tested it with a POP3, Office365 and Hotmail account. All having the same behaviour. I guess it's a misassumption on my part in thinking that Gmail would act the same.
    – Moriarty
    Sep 18, 2014 at 20:58
  • Yes Gmail is very different in many ways. Also I would delete your answer as it implies that the 'quick' swipe in fact is the method needed to delete, and when the email user finally looks in their all mail folder there are going to be disappointed to see that the emails they spent time deleting are not deleted. Sep 19, 2014 at 7:48
  • As of iOS 11: Settings > Accounts & Passwords > Account > Advanced. Select "Deleted Mailbox" for the heading "Move Discarded Messages Into:" Mar 22, 2018 at 21:45

When you archive a message, it moves to the All Mail folder. It does not delete the message from the Gmail account. You can learn more about the Gmail archive feature in Gmail Help. Archive replaces all delete options when you use a Gmail account, including tapping the Trash icon while you view a message and selecting Edit to manage multiple messages.

You can disable this feature in Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Gmail Account > Account > Advanced > Move Discarded Messages Into:


As pointed out by Yariv Nissim above, there is a hidden preference in the iOS options that will give you BOTH delete and archive as swipe options.

Go to Mail > Preferences > Swipe Options, and select “Archive”. You will then see a message below that says “Accounts that include Archive as a default action for swiping left will offer Delete for swiping right”. I can confirm that this still works in iOS 13. Five years later and Apple still haven’t made the preference any more obvious.

I have posted this as a separate answer in order to be able to include a screenshot. Please give your upvotes to Yariv!

Screenshot of hidden swipe option

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