Deleting Emails from iPhone Inboxes

Small iPhone niggle solved!

Down The PlugholeFollowing on from last week’s blog about blocking unwanted phone calls, I have finally had a look at a problem with iPads and iPhones when attempting to delete emails from the inbox.

When I open my iPhone Mail app I like to be able to see the option to view all emails that have come in today. Clicking on the “Today” option will reveal a pile of emails coming into all my accounts – including real, urgent, dealt-with, spam, unwanted etc. It can be quite therapeutic (as well as “administratively sound”) to go through these, deleting all of those that don’t need my attention. Like most people, I only use my phone and tablet to keep abreast of new stuff and to deal with anything that needs dealing with immediately. Therefore, I’m not at all interested in long-term storage or filing of emails on these devices. I either need to keep them in the inbox for now or they can be deleted.

Unable to Move Message
Look familiar? Read on…
So, here comes the irritating problem. You ought to be able to delete an email by sliding the message leftwards. The message will be replaced by a red bar and the word “delete”. Remove your finger from the screen (at the end of the leftward swipe motion) and the message should be despatched to data heaven. Quite often, though, it doesn’t. Instead, a message pops up declaring “Unable to Move Message. The message could not be moved to the mailbox Trash”.

This is one of those small computer niggles that’s just important enough to create a scintilla of annoyance, but not important enough to bother investigating. Well, this time I thought “no more, I’m going to get to the bottom of this one”.

I have found that the problem happens when you connect to an email account on your IOS device (iPhone or iPad) via the IMAP method and the account settings on the device need a slight tweak to tell the app where your incoming message are kept. The solution (for an iPhone running IOS version 8.1.3) is as follows:

  • Go to “Settings”
  • Scroll down to “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” and tap on it
  • Tap on the account that is displaying the behaviour you wish to change
  • Under the heading “IMAP”, tap on the account name
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and tap on “Advanced”
  • Scroll down until you see the item called “IMAP path prefix”
  • Tap on the item and replace the contents (“probably a “/”) with the word “INPUT” (in capitals, no quotation marks)
  • Tap on “< Account" at the top lefthand corner of the screen
  • Tap on “done” and close the “settings” app in the normal way.

Do be aware that, since this is an IMAP connection, deleting any messages from your iphone/iPad will also cause the message to be deleted from the server.

iPhone Mail Preferences
Tap on a circle to select or unselect that option (you would need to scroll down to see the “Today” option)
I started this blog by saying that I like to open the “Today” screen in my emails – showing all emails that have come in to all accounts today. You can choose which items are displayed when you open the Mail app by opening the Mail App and then tapping on the “Edit” option at the top righthand corner of the screen. Then just tap on any “empty” circle to replace it with a tick. That item will then be displayed when you open the Mail app. As you would expect, this is a “toggle” switch, so tapping on it again will change its state back again (ie ticked to not ticked and vice versa). Tap on the “Done” option at the top right when you have finished changing selections.

For the most part, I like to avoid computer jargon but it’s probably worth knowing what a “toggle switch” is since there are lots of them in computer software. A toggle switch (in computer terms) is just a switch that can be in one of two or even three or more positions and changing between the positions is achieved by operating the same switch in the same way so that you “cycle” through the available settings and stop when you’ve reached the setting you want. In other words, it’s not analogous to a light switch that you flick down for “on” and up for “off” but it is analagous to a light switch on a cord where you pull the cord down in the same manner whether you are going from on to off or off to on.