Why can’t I delete emails from the inbox of my new iPhone 4S?

I was given an iPhone 4S and I love it. My boyfriend set up the email program to download messages from my Gmail account and that seems to work well. However, we are both confused as to why I seem unable to delete messages from my inbox? When a friend swipes left on her iPhone 3GS to delete a message a red Delete button appears; but when I do the same on my, the same button is labelled ‘Archive’. If I tap this the message disappears from my iPhone’s inbox but, when I log in via Gmail’s webmail interface, the message still exists in the All Mail folder (though I can’t see it in the inbox). I simply want to delete messages from my iPhone, not archive them. Why can my friend do this on her iPhone? Is there some technical difference between the 3GS and 4S models?


There are numerous technical differences between the iPhone 3GS and 4S models but none is the cause of your problem. In fact, the issue is related to the fact that emails stored in a Gmail inbox can be either deleted or given an ‘Archive’ label, which removes it from the inbox view but means it is still available when you select the All Mail option.

When you set up a Gmail account on an iPhone, there’s the option to disable this Archive feature so messages are deleted – but that’s not the default. To change it, tap Settings followed by Mail, Contacts, Calendars then tap the relevant Gmail account in the Accounts list.

Now tap to switch the Archive Message slider to the Off position and, when you next swipe left to delete a message from the iPhone’s inbox, the red button will be Delete. There you go, you don’t even have to get ceramic switch plate covers for the phone 😉

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