How to Retrieve Deleted Mail on an iPhone: A Step-by-Step Guide

Accidentally deleting an important email can be a distressing experience, especially when it’s something you can’t afford to lose. However, if you’re an iPhone user, there’s no need to panic just yet. The Mail app on iPhone has a safety net in place for such situations. By navigating to the “Trash” folder, you can retrieve deleted mail with just a few taps. And if you’ve cleared the trash? Don’t worry; there are still ways to recover those emails. Let’s dive into the specifics.

After you retrieve your deleted mail, it will be restored to its original location, whether that’s your inbox or a specific folder. From there, you can interact with it just like any other email, whether that’s responding, forwarding, or filing it away for future reference.


In our digital age, emails have become a crucial part of our daily lives. Whether it’s for work, school, or personal matters, the information they hold can be critical. However, amidst the constant flood of messages, it’s easy to make a mistake and delete something important. If you’re an iPhone user, fear not—there’s a solution that can save you from the distress of permanently losing that crucial email. Understanding how to retrieve deleted mail on your iPhone can save you from potential headaches and keep your digital life running smoothly.

This topic is not only relevant to anyone who uses email on their phone but also essential knowledge in an increasingly paperless world where important documents and correspondences are often stored electronically. Losing an email can mean losing a contract, a contact, or an irreplaceable memory. Let’s ensure that doesn’t happen to you.

How to Retrieve Deleted Mail on an iPhone

Before we dive into the step-by-step process, it’s important to understand what these steps will achieve. By following them, you’ll be able to recover emails that you’ve accidentally deleted, as long as they haven’t been permanently removed from the Mail app’s trash folder.

Step 1: Open the Mail App

Open the Mail app on your iPhone where you originally deleted the email.

Once you’re in the Mail app, navigate to the main screen where you can see all your mailboxes. If you accidentally swiped and deleted an email, this is where you’ll begin the recovery process.

Step 2: Go to the “Trash” Folder

Navigate to the “Trash” folder in the Mail app.

In the “Trash” folder, you’ll find all the emails you’ve deleted within the last 30 days. This is your first stop for recovering a deleted email. Just tap on the folder to view its contents.

Step 3: Locate the Deleted Mail

Find the email you want to retrieve in the “Trash” folder.

Scroll through the emails in the “Trash” folder until you locate the one you want to recover. If you remember the sender or subject, you can use the search function to find it more quickly.

Step 4: Move the Email Back to the Inbox

Select the email, then tap “Move” and choose “Inbox” to restore it.

After you find the email, tap “Edit” in the top right corner, select the email, then tap “Move” at the bottom of the screen. Choose “Inbox” or whichever folder you want to move it to, and your email will be back where it belongs.


Ease of UseThe Mail app on iPhone is designed with user-friendliness in mind. Recovering deleted emails is a straightforward process that requires no technical expertise, making it accessible for people of all ages and tech-savviness.
Quick ProcessRetrieving a deleted email is a quick process that takes only a few seconds to complete, ensuring that you can get back to what you were doing without much interruption.
No Additional Software NeededUnlike some email recovery solutions that require third-party software or services, the Mail app’s recovery feature is self-contained, eliminating the need for external tools.


Time LimitEmails can only be recovered from the “Trash” folder within 30 days of deletion; after that, they are permanently removed and cannot be retrieved.
Permanent DeletionIf you manually empty the “Trash” folder before the 30-day period is up, those emails are permanently deleted and cannot be recovered through the Mail app.
Limited to Mail AppThis recovery process is specific to the Mail app on the iPhone and doesn’t apply to third-party email apps or services that may have different recovery methods or limitations.

Additional Information

Understanding the ins and outs of email recovery on your iPhone can be a lifesaver, but there are a few more things you should know. For example, if you use an email service like Gmail or Yahoo, they may have their own trash or recovery systems that operate independently of the iPhone’s Mail app. Checking their individual settings and recovery options can be beneficial in case the Mail app’s trash folder doesn’t have the email you’re looking for.

Additionally, regularly backing up your iPhone’s data to iCloud or your computer can provide an extra layer of security for your emails and other important data. Remember that while the Mail app provides a simple recovery solution, it’s always better to double-check before deleting anything you might need later.


  1. Open the Mail app on your iPhone
  2. Go to the “Trash” folder
  3. Locate the deleted mail
  4. Move the email back to the inbox

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I can’t find the deleted email in the “Trash” folder?

If the email isn’t in the “Trash” folder, it might have been deleted more than 30 days ago, or the folder might have been emptied manually. Check if your email service has its own trash or recovery system.

Can I retrieve emails that were deleted a long time ago?

Typically, no. The Mail app on iPhone only retains deleted emails for 30 days. However, check with your email service provider as they might have different retention policies.

What happens if I accidentally empty the “Trash” folder?

Unfortunately, emails deleted from the “Trash” folder are permanently removed and cannot be recovered through the Mail app.

Can I recover emails deleted from a third-party email app on my iPhone?

The recovery process might differ for third-party apps. Check the app’s documentation or support resources for specific recovery instructions.

Do email recovery methods differ based on the email service I use?

Yes, different email services have their own recovery methods and limitations. It’s best to consult the help resources of the specific service you use.


Knowing how to retrieve deleted mail on an iPhone is a valuable skill that can prevent unnecessary stress and loss of important information. While the Mail app offers an easy and straightforward recovery process, it’s not without its limitations. Being mindful of the time constraints and making regular backups can further secure your data.

Remember, it’s always better to be cautious when deleting emails, but if you do make a mistake, you now have the knowledge and tools to rectify it. Keep this guide handy, and you’ll never have to worry about losing an important email again.