After several years with an Android phone, I have an iPhone again.

I have a few Gmail accounts, as well as an iCloud account (from years ago).

I connected one Gmail account, and the iCloud account is connected automatically.

However, immediately the Apple Mail app started downloading thousands of emails. It seems to have downloaded the entire iCloud mail history, as well as all the Gmail emails. In addition, it loaded thousands of Gmail emails into "spam", even though they weren't marked as spam before. I tried to move all of the Gmail emails from spam to the Inbox, which means, of course, that I may have moved some actual spam emails to. But today when I go to my Gmail inbox, I have no emails for the last year -- they are there, in "All Mail", but not in "Inbox" nor in "Spam".

Understandably I'm a bit frustrated. Not sure where things are going wrong, but any help would be appreciated.

To start, I'd really appreciate being able to limit the emails in my iPhone to a reasonable limit -- the last month, for example. Is there any way to do this? I was told to look for "days to sync", but I cannot find this for iCloud or Gmail email accounts -- I click on account settings, and don't see anything. The phone is running iOS 16, so I don't know if they've moved it/removed it.

If I find a way to limit the number of emails downloaded, what do I need to do to remove the thousands already downloaded? Do I need to remove the Gmail account and add it again? And for the iCloud account? (If I just delete the emails on my iPhone, unfortunately they'll be deleted everywhere, which isn't what I want).

  • When you say 'messages' are you referring to Apple Mail (email) or Messages (text messages)? I'm a little confused because the title states Mail but the body states messages.
    – fsb
    Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 12:26
  • 1
    Sorry, I meant emails -- I edited the original post to reflect that.
    – Cerulean
    Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 12:57

1 Answer 1


I think the 'Mail Days to Sync' setting is only available for Exchange accounts such as M365. IMAP accounts such as iCloud and Gmail don't have this option.

  • I’ve confirmed that Exchange and Outlook.com have the ability to select an amount if time to sync mail. GMail and Yahoo! Do not have this option.
    – Allan
    Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 20:01

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