“My iPhone keeps downloading all old mail. I would like to find a way to stop my old mail messages from being loaded when I delete the newer messages on iPhone.”

If you have this trouble and want to prevent iPhone from downloading too many old emails onto your iPhone, then this iPhone email guide is right for you. There are different ways to prevent a ton of messages from cluttering up your mail inboxes on iPhone. The instructions below can also help you stop iPad downloading old emails from Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo mail, AOL mail, Outlook mail and any other email services.

#1. Stop iPhone Downloading Old Emails from Gmail – Move Emails to New Label

If you are an Gmail user, you can create a new label in your Gmail account, then move emails from different tabs within the Inbox folder into new Gmail label. This can prevent the Mail app for iOS downloading them to your iPhone.

Step 1. Select Emails in Gmail Inbox Folder

Your iPhone will download emails from your Inbox folder, so you can move these emails or messages to somewhere else to prevent them from being downloaded to iPhone. Log on your Gmail account from a web browser on your computer. You will find Gmail now groups your Inbox into different categories, Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, Forums. These categories can be enabled to be display as the tabs, as shown in below screenshot. You can browse to each Gmail category or tab, select the emails in one page or select all emails in one category or tab.
select-emails-from-inbox-tabs-gmail

Step 2. Create new label in Gmail

In the Gmail Inbox page, you can find a tool bar above the email messages. Click on the Label icon to expand the drop-down menu list. Now you should see a list of all existing labels for your Gmail account. Click the Create new item at the bottom of this list menu to create a new label in Gmail. In this demo, we will create a new label titled ‘myoldmails’. See below screenshot.
create new gmail label

Step 3. Move emails from Inbox folder to label in Gmail

We have selected the emails in step 1 above and created a new label named ‘myoldmails’ in step 2. Now click the Folder icon from Gmail toolbar, again you will see a jump-down menu, select the new label we have created to move all selected emails from Gmail Inbox folder to the new label.
move emails to new label in gmail

You can repeat above steps to select and move more or all emails from your Gmail Inbox folder to new label. After that when you trying to set up the Gmail account on an iPhone or iPad, those emails moved to the new label will not be synced or downloaded to your iPhone or iPad.

#2. Stop iPhone Downloading Old Emails – Limit emails to a certain amount

iphone email tips and tricks

Note: since iOS 7, this feature was not available any more!

From iPhone, if you go to your mail boxes through the default Mail app, you will see the update date of the current email account at the bottom. But if you have more messages available on your mail server that can be downloaded and viewed, you can scroll all the way down to the bottom of the inbox, there will be a Load More Messages … link you can tap to load more emails from server to your iPhone.

For example,

Load More Messages …

270 messages total, 210 unread.

It shows that more emails are available to download, the number of all emails and how many of them you have not read on your iPhone. You can click the load more messages button to download more messages.

You can only show a certain number of emails to display on iPhone. To set it up or change the settings, go to Settings >> Mail, Contacts, Calendars >> Mail >> Show, tap on it and you can select how many recent messages that you want the iPhone to display. The minimum is 50 most recent messages, then 100, 200, 500, 1000, etc. If you restrict to show the 50 most recent messages, your iPhone will only download 50 emails from server. Unless you delete some downloaded emails and no new incoming emails, will the Mail app start downloading old email from the mail server. This is a way to make iPhone stop downloading all old email from the mail server.

#3. Stop iPhone Downloading Old Emails from Gmail – Set up Gmail on POP protocol

If you have a Gmail account and do not want to download old Emails from Gmail server to your iPhone, you can also follow below two steps:

1. Log on Gmail and enable POP for mail that arrives from now on

Log on your Gmail from the web mail interface on a computer, go to its Settings page, you will find a tab named “Forwarding and POP/IMAP”. Click to open this tab, under the POP Download, section you should find options as below:
enable pop download for new emails in Gmail that arrives from now on

Status: POP is enabled for all mail that has arrived since ….
Enable POP for all mail (even mail that’s already been downloaded)
Enable POP for mail that arrives from now on
Disable POP

You can click to enable the POP for mail that arrives from now on, so when you add Gmail to iPhone as POP other than IMAP, your iPhone should Not download existing emails from Gmail.

However by setting up email as POP, you may actually download more content onto your cellphone in the long run, as it will download a whole copy of your emails from web mail server. Thus you need to delete emails regularly on iPhone if you want to save more storage space for other data. Unlike the IMAP protocol, each time you open an email, it will contact the email server to download the whole message, it save only a small part of the email on your local device.

POP mails on mobile will not be in sync with your email account on the mail server. You can delete any read emails on your iPhone while leave the copy on mail server intact.

2. set up Gmail as POP mail on iPhone.

Normally we recommend you to set up all email account on iPhone via IMAP than POP. As IMAP can help you email synced across different devices. You can find details about IMAP and POP mail differences here. If you want to set up Gmail via POP on iPhone, you can find Gmail POP settings here.

#4. Stop iPhone Downloading Old Emails from Hotmail – Archive emails or move emails to folder

Stop downloading Hotmail emails to iPhone by archiving emails

Log on your Hotmail account from a web browser on your computer. Open your Inbox email folder, select the emails that you do not download to iPhone. Then click the Archive button from the top tools bar. You will then be prompted to create a Archive folder and move the selected emails to it. If you have created folder before, your selected emails will be sent there without any further notification.
archive emails in hotmail account

Stop downloading Hotmail emails to iPhone by moving emails

You can also create a new folder and transfer the emails you do not want to be synced to iPhone from your Hotmail Inbox folder to the new folder. Select the photos from your Inbox folder, then click Move to from the toolbar at the top, you will get a jump-down menu list. Select an existing folder to move emails to it, or click New folder item from the lower section of this list to enter a folder name and save the selected emails from Hotmail Inbox folder to the new folder.
move hotmail emails to a new folder

#5. Stop iPhone Downloading Old Emails from Hotmail – Limit Mail Days to Sync on iPhone

This is another way you can stop downloading old emails from Hotmail to iPhone. When you have just set up Hotmail account on iPhone from Settings. Do not hurry to open the mail app to check your email. Go to iPhone Settings >> Mail, Contacts, Calendars, select your Hotmail account which you have just added to iPhone, you will get a new screen as below.
limit mail days to sync from hotmail to iphone
From the above screenshot, you can easily change Hotmail mail days to sync to 1 day, 3 days, 1 week, 2 week, 1 month or No Limit. If you choose 1 day to sycn email from Hotmail to iPhone, you download only existing emails within the last 24 hours without downloading more old emails from Hotmail server.

#6. Stop iPhone Downloading Old Emails from AOL – Move old emails to folder

If you do not want to download old emails from AOL account to iPhone, you can log on your AOL email account from a web browser on computer, then move any existing emails you do not want to sync from AOL to iPhone to a new folder other than the Inbox folder.
move aol emails to folder on mail server
Open your Inbox folder in the AOL mail account, then select any or all emails in this folder, click ACTION button from the top section you will see a drop-down menu list. From the lower section of this list, you can find a Move to sub-section. You choose click the Saved Mail item to move all selected AOL emails to this folder. You can also click New Folder at the bottom of this list to create a new folder and move all AOL email to it. By moving emails from AOL Inbox folder to other folders, you can also prevent downloading these email from AOL Mail server to iPhone.

#7. Stop Downloading Old Emails to iPhone – create new folder to save old emails on mail server

You can actually create new folders on your mail server, such as Yahoo Mail, your self-hosted emails, then move all old or read emails to the new folder and leave only those unread emails in the Inbox folder. So when you set up the email account on iPhone, your iPhone download those unread new emails from your mail server to local Inbox folder of Mail app on iPhone. When the non-inbox folder and emails under it downloaded, you know you have read them, so you can simply ignore them on your iPhone.

Please note, other folders and emails beneath them can also be downloaded on to your iPhone, but your iPhone will not calculate them as unread in the inbox. Best of all, email folders other than the inbox will not download new emails automatically unless you have enable push for them manually. By default iPhone will only enable push for the inbox folder. So emails from other folders will be downloaded from mail server to iPhone only when you open this specific folder in the Mail app for iOS.

Also if like you can also mark all emails as read on a folder on iPhone. See the tips at the bottom page for the instructions.

More iPhone iPad email tips:

  1. This guide applies to different email service providers, such as gmail, yahoo mail, hotmail, AOL mail, etc.
  2. You can follow above instructions to stop downloading old emails to iPhone or prevent iPad downloading old emails from mail server.
  3. You can mark all emails as read on iPhone quickly.
  4. In fact, setting up your email accounts as IMAP other than POP3 can help you stop downloading full emails to iPhone or iPad. IMAP allows you to only retrieve the headers rather than the entire message from the e-mail server to your iPhone. So if you have a ton of new messages, retrieving only the headers allows you to sort through them very quickly. It synchronizes with two or more applications or devices. If you delete one email from an device, such as iPhone, iPad, Blackberry or desktop, it delete the email from the mail server and other email clients and devices as well.What’s more once a message is marked as read on one client, that message gets marked as read with all other clients. This eliminates the need to “clean up” several inboxes every time new messages come in.

iPhone iPad email setup tutorials:

When set up a new email account on iPhone or iPad, your email will be set up on the IMAP protocol by default. See some step-by-step guide to set up mail on iPhone iPad below.

Stop iPhone Downloading All Old Emails
4 votes, 2.00 avg. rating (49% score)

18 thoughts on “Stop iPhone Downloading All Old Emails

  1. Marcial Melendez

    How can I stop from having my old email popping up even though I deleted them

    • Matt

      Hi Marcial Melendez,
      Which email service are you using? Did you delete the old emails from your web mail interface on a web browser or within the Mail app on iPhone? Normally when you set up the email through IMAP, you should keep emails in sync with different devices, when you delete an email from computer or iPhone, it should disappear from all other devices as well.

  2. Hannah

    Thanks for this article.
    I have a 4s.I also have 3 email accounts on my phone, all gmail. I have followed your directions but when I tap on “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” it does not give me option to select how many recent messages to retrieve. Are you able to help?? What’s the story?? Thanks!!!!

    • Matt

      Thanks for your comment.
      Apple removed this feature since iOS 7.

    • Matt

      For Gmail specifically, there is an option to download only new emails. Log on your Gmail account from any web browser on computer, then go to its Settings page, you will find a tab named “Forwarding and POP/IMAP”. Click to open this tab, under the POP Download, section you should find options as below:
      1. Status: POP is enabled for all mail that has arrived since ….
      Enable POP for all mail (even mail that’s already been downloaded)
      Enable POP for mail that arrives from now on
      Disable POP
      You can click to enable the POP for mail that arrives from now on, so when you add Gmail to iPhone as POP other than IMAP, your iPhone should not download existing emails from your Google account.

      However by setting up email as POP, you will actually download more content onto your cellphone in the long run unless you will manually delete those read emails from time to time, as it will download a whole copy of your emails from web mail server. Unlike the IMAP protocol, each time you open an email, it will contact the email server to download the whole message, it save only a small part of the email on your local device.

  3. Hannah

    Thank you, Matt! This worked like a charm.
    I thought I had to do this from my cell phone.
    Thanks for clarifying!
    Be well…!

    Hannah

    • Matt

      You are welcome.
      It is great to know the solution works for you.
      Cheers!

  4. jasmine

    Hi there,
    how can Iimit the number of emails on the ISO 8?

    • Matt

      No, it was a feature on iOS 6 or older versions. it seems apple has removed this feature since iOS 7.

  5. Carly

    Currently I have nearly 2,000 emails, and they’re starting to date all the way back to 2013!! As soon as I delete for example 100, another 100 old emails reload into my email. SO frustrating. I don’t have a Gmail account, I have surewest. Please help!! I’m worried my email will crash with this many messages in it.

    • Matt

      It should be fine. the mail app on iPhone will download only a very small part of the emails until you open the message manually.

  6. Kathy

    I am having the same issues…download. Delete and sure enough…ipad and iPhone both…as fast as I delete, another 80-100 start downloading! I don’t want them or I would let have deleted them! Now what?
    Thanks!
    K

    • Matt

      If you do not want the old emails any more, you can log on your email account from web browser on a computer, then delete them from its web mail interface. So you can get rid of those old emails when you configure the email account on iPhone or iPad.

  7. Ahmad

    Hi,

    i have also same problem, i have different email accounts on my mobile and i deleted many already but suddenly its start downloading all old emails back from all email account. and those are not gmail, hotmail or yahoo but those are from different domains or companies.

    Please any one help me to sort this out.

    • Matt

      You can try to log on your email from a web browser, then create a new folder and move old emails to it.

      • Ahmad

        Hi Matt, but those some of accounts are using by some another people also in different countries, and if i move all old emails into the new folder then it will still sync to the all those people who are using the imap.

        • Matt

          yes. you are right. this change on mail server will affect all other users who share the same email account.
          unfortunately, current iOS version does not have an option to limit the email downloading by date or any filters.
          You may do a search see if any third party mail apps for iOS can do that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

clear formSubmit