Mail app

How to Set Gmail to Delete Instead of Archive in Mail App for iPhone and iPad

Do you use a Gmail account with the Stock Mail app on your iPhone or iPad? If so, you might have noticed that whenever you try to delete an email or send it to trash using the left swipe gesture, you get an “Archive” option at instead with Gmail accounts. If you prefer to delete these Gmail emails in Mail app, you can change Gmail settings to solve this problem on iPhone and iPad.

Gmail is Google’s free email service that many iPhone and iPad users link to the Apple Mail app. For some reason, Gmail only allows users to archive emails by default. This can be frustrating for users who want to quickly delete emails rather than just storing them in the archived folder of their Gmail account. If this speaks to you, there’s a hidden and buried option in the email settings that lets you change the location of those deleted emails.

Remember, we’re talking about using Gmail in the default Mail app here, not the Gmail app itself. If you are using the Gmail app as the default email app on the iPhone or iPad, changing these settings will have no impact on email behavior.

Let’s see how you can change the default “archive” of Mail app for iPhone and iPad to “trash” so that you can easily delete emails. It will work the same on iPhone and iPad.

How to Change Gmail to “Trash” Instead of “Archive” in Mail App on iPhone and iPad

The following steps apply regardless of your device’s iOS/iPadOS version, as these settings have been available for some time. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go to “Settings” from the home screen of your iPhone or iPad.

    iOS settings icon

  2. In the settings menu, scroll down and select the Mail app to change your mail settings.

    How to Set Gmail to Delete Instead of Archive in Mail App on iPhone and iPad

  3. Here, tap on “Accounts” to configure the settings of the email account linked to the Mail app.

    How to Set Gmail to Delete Instead of Archive in Mail App on iPhone and iPad

  4. If you have multiple emails related to the app, you’ll see all of your different accounts here. Select the Gmail option located under Accounts to continue.

    How to Set Gmail to Delete Instead of Archive in Mail App on iPhone and iPad

  5. Now tap on your email address next to Account in order to proceed to the next step.

    How to Set Gmail to Delete Instead of Archive in Mail App on iPhone and iPad

  6. Next, tap “Advanced” to access all the options you have for your Gmail account, including mailbox configuration.

    How to Set Gmail to Delete Instead of Archive in Mail App on iPhone and iPad

  7. Here you will see that “Archive Mailbox” is selected by default for deleted messages. Just tap “Deleted Mailbox” to change this setting and you’re good to go.

    How to Set Gmail to Delete Instead of Archive in Mail App on iPhone and iPad

It was the last step. You no longer have to worry about default archiving in the Mail app.

From now on, when you swipe left on an email and choose to delete it, the message will be moved to the deleted mailbox rather than the archived mailbox.

One of the problems with the archive mailbox is that when you view “All Mail” in the Mail app, it also includes archived emails. This setting change will prevent this from happening, as instead of archiving swiped emails, they will be sent to the Gmail trash instead.

If you are using another email service provider that defaults to archiving instead of deletion, you can follow the same procedure to change your mailbox for deleted messages, for example if you use Outlook that defaults to the recycle bin rather than the archive, you can reverse that if you feel for it. All you need to do is select your email provider instead of Gmail and head to the Advanced Settings menu.

Likewise, if you’re using the Gmail app for iOS or iPadOS instead of Apple’s default Mail app, you’ll also need to change the settings, as the default swipe actions are set to archive your emails. This process is a bit different because it uses settings from the Gmail app, so we’ll cover that separately.

I hope you were finally able to get the Mail app to actually delete your emails from Gmail rather than just archiving them. What do you think of this hidden setting? Should this particular option be more easily accessible to users? Feel free to share your personal opinions and don’t forget to leave your valuable comments.