How to Set the Mail App to Delete Gmail Instead of Archive

Delete Instead Archive Gmail Featured

Many of us are Gmail users as well as iPhone and iPad owners, so it is no surprise that we are using the default Apple Mail app to check our Gmail inbox. As good as it is, certain aspects of this app can be somewhat confusing, especially if you’re customizing its behavior. Many of you may be wondering if it’s possible to get the Mail app to delete Gmail messages instead of archiving them. The answer is it’s entirely possible.

Delete vs. Archive in Gmail – What’s the Difference?

Before we dive deeper into this process, let’s cover the basics. Deleting and archiving Gmail messages are two separate things. While they both get rid of emails in your inbox, they are different fundamentally.

When you archive an email (which happens by default in the Mail app), you move that email into Gmail’s “All Mail” folder. Those messages are not deleted, and you can retrieve them at any point. More precisely, Gmail retrieves them and moves them into your inbox if a reply appears, reactivating the entire thread.

When you delete an email, you move that email to the Trash. You can empty the trash folder at any moment, but your emails will be automatically deleted after 30 days anyway.

How to Set the Mail App to Delete Instead of Archive Gmail Messages

Go through the following steps to set the Mail app on your iPhone or iPad to delete your Gmail messages instead of archiving them.

1. Open the Settings app on your device, then scroll down until you see the “Mail” item. This is where you can customize the Mail app in many different ways. Select this option.

Delete Instead Archive Gmail Settings App Iphone

2. Tap on “Accounts,” which should be available in the upper half of your device’s screen. This will list all your email accounts. Select your Gmail account.

3. Select the account whose settings you’d like to adjust. If you have only one Gmail account on your device, you’ll see a single entry here. Tap on it.

Delete Instead Archive Gmail Mail App Settings Iphone

4. Using the newly opened pop-up window, tap on “Advanced.” That’s where you can fine-tune how your inbox behaves, and we’ll take advantage of that.

Delete Instead Archive Gmail Advanced Settings Iphone

5. Tap on “Deleted Mail” just beneath “Move Discarded Messages To.”

6. Lastly, tap on “Account” in the top-left corner (to go one step back), then tap on Done in the top-right corner. That’s it. Feel free to exit the Settings app and try the new option in the Mail app.

Delete Instead Archive Gmail New Swipe Actions Mail App

We’d also like to share one more tip. Now that you’ve set the Mail app to delete emails instead of archiving them, you’ve unlocked another feature. When you swipe to the left (while holding your finger over an email in the Mail app), your email messages will now be deleted instead of archived.


Other than setting the Mail app to delete instead of archive Gmail messages, you can also add file attachments to your emails and check the differences between pushing and fetching email, which is one of the core features of any email app.

Isaac Norman
Isaac Norman

Isaac is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience covering the latest technological innovations. Mainly focused on Apple-related software and hardware systems, his aspiration is to explore all the ways today's digital world intertwines with our everyday life.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox