Help For Using Gmail in iOS

Apple doesn’t always play well with others, and when it comes to the mobile operating system iOS, it can be even worse. Their relationship, or lack thereof, with Adobe and their flash video is well documented. Another entity that doesn’t get along with the system is GMail. It works, but it’s hindered in some ways by using the Mail app.

The most noticeable way in which GMail doesn’t work well in the iOS system is with the Trash. There is no “Trash” visible in the mail app like there is with other email domains. Something as simple as deleting an email suddenly gets more complicated. The good news is there is help for this issue. There are a few different ways to go about deleting your email, and and there’s a way to set up your Gmail in iOS through Google Sync, if your Gmail is set up through Google Apps.


While the screencap I used here is for my email with the domain, it’s still based off of the Gmail system and works in all the same ways Gmail does. It’s set up through Google Apps. There isn’t the familiar “Trashcan” in the options on the top right, when viewing an individual email, and when you select one or more emails to edit, it only gives you options to Archive, Move, or Mark. Delete isn’t one of the options. It just seems frustrating to not have such a basic function available.


I actually had a similar problem with my email hosted on a separate domain. While I had a Delete option and a Trashcan, it would give me an error message afterward and would stay on the server. It had an easy fix. I went into the Settings app and selected “Mail, Contacts, Calendars,” then clicked on the email domain I wanted to change. After clicking on the Account name, then “Advanced” at the bottom of the resulting screen, I then clicked on “Deleted Mailbox” which allowed me to change the folder I wanted the deleted emails to go into. By default it was set on “Trash” on my iPad, but once I changed it to “Trash” on the server, it resulted in the emails being deleted correctly. However, making this change to the Gmail settings didn’t solve the issue there.


The easiest way to solve the Trash problem for Gmail is to to just move the desired files into the Trash folder. If you click on edit in the email list pane, check off the emails you want deleted, then hit “Move.” This brings up a list of the folders on the server, including the Trash folder. There is also a Google app for iOS. It includes all the Google apps within it, such as Calendar, Docs, Google+, and Gmail. Using the mail here emulates the way it works online, including being able to delete unwanted email. You can also keep multiple Gmail accounts “open” at once. There’s also always the option, of course, to just keep up with the Gmail via whatever browser you are using by signing into your account there.


If you’re using Gmail that is set up for you through an organization or business that uses Google Apps, the administrator can choose to have Google Sync enabled for the email. If this is done, when you set your Gmail account in settings, instead of setting it up as a Gmail account, set it up as Microsoft Exchange. This will not only Sync folders, such as Trash, but will also sync your Google Calendars.

I still use the iOS Mail app, but that’s only because I like to have all my mail in one spot, and my Gmail accounts are more my secondary accounts. It’s only a minor irritation to have to move my deleted emails to the Trash. Hence the reason I don’t bother to delete them often. What iOS needs is more options for using Mail on the system. While there are multiple different browsers other than Safari, there’s only one Mail app, with no third party apps available, and this is what causes users to have to come up with alternate solutions such as these.

Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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