Stop iPad Downloading Old Emails


“My iPad 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 iPad.”

Do you have this trouble? How can you stop this? There are different ways to prevent a ton of messages from cluttering up your mail inboxes on iPad or iPhone.

Instructions below are not up to date. Please refer to this updated guide instead:

How to Stop iPhone iPad Downloading all Old Emails?

#1. Stop iPad Downloading Old Emails – Limit emails to a certain amount

Apple removed this feature since iOS 7!

From iPad, 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 iPad.

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 iPad. You can click the load more messages button to download more messages.

You can only show a certain number of emails to display on iPad. 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 iPad 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 iPad 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 my iPad stop downloading all of my old email from the mail server.

Stop iPad Downloading Old Emails

#2. Stop iPad Downloading Old Emails to Inbox – create folders for old emails on mail server

You can actually create new folders on your mail server, then move all 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 iPad, your iPad download those unread new emails from your mail server to the mail inbox folder on iPad. When the non-inbox folder and emails under it downloaded, you know you have read them, so you can simply ignore them on your iPad.

Please note, other folders and emails beneath them can also be downloaded on to your iPad, but your iPad will not calculate them as unread in the inboxes.

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

#3. Stop iPad Downloading Old Emails to Inbox – set up as IMAP other than POP3

When set up a new email account on iPad, you can choose to set it up on the IMAP protocol. See this page set up IMAP mail on iPad.

IMAP allows you to only retrieve the headers rather than the entire message from the e-mail server to your iPad. 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.

#3. Stop iPad Downloading Old Emails from Gmail – set up as POP other than IMAP

IMAP is good to keep your email account synced among different devices, like PC, Mac, mobile phone, iPhone and so on. However if you do not want to download old emails from Gmail server to iPhone, you can set up your Google mail account on iPhone as POP account other than the default IMAP account, and from the web mail server interface there will be an option to only download new emails to POP account. 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:

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 iPad as POP other than IMAP, your iPad should only download new emails from your Google account. And you will have the freedom to delete any downloaded emails from iPad without removing it from your Gmail account.

iPad email tips:

  • 1. If you have already read the emails on your desktop or another device, your iPad may still download them as new unread emails. There is a trick here shows how to mark all emails as read on iPad quickly?
  • 2. This guide applies to different email service providers, such as gmail, yahoo mail, hotmail, AOL mail, etc.

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2 thoughts on “Stop iPad Downloading Old Emails”

  1. Old emails from as long as 6 months keep comming thur I delet them and then more keeping coming back it keeps down loading 560 at a time

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