Message Could Not Be Moved To Mailbox Trash: How To Fix It Fast (On iPhone and iPad)

iPhone Message Could Not Be Moved To Mailbox Trash

I was using my iPhone to check my email when I deleted a message and got an error message that said “Unable to Move Message. The message could not be moved to the mailbox Trash”.

One of the most annoying thing when trying to delete messages in iOS is when a pop up appears saying it has failed. So I did some research to find out why this happens, and how to fix it. I found that there are 3 main reasons why the messages can’t be removed from your iPhone or iPad:

  1. The IMAP path is incorrect within the settings of your device
  2. There is a temporary ‘glitch’ with your WiFi or cellular connection
  3. The email account settings have become corrupt and you need to delete and re-add them

Of the 3 reasons listed the most common is actually the wrong path, which is why I suggest you try this method first.

Lets investigate how we can resolve each of these issues with simple step-by-step instructions showing what you need to do.

Who does this issue apply to?

If you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and you use IMAP to access your email then you can suffer from this bug.

If you use POP3 to access your email server then the issues covered in this article do not apply to you because POP3 connects to your email server in a completely different way.

So if you are using POP3 then this article will not help you with your issue.

But how can you tell if you use IMAP or POP3?

Well, IMAP tends to be used in corporate email accounts and are ran on Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft Office 365.

In addition, you can tell you are using IMAP if you are able to read, reply, or delete messages on your computer and when you look at your phone the same messages are read, replied to, or deleted automatically.

In other words, your phone and computer email accounts are synchronized.

3 ways to try and fix this issue

The same fix will work for all of these iOS based devices so feel free to follow the same procedure if you use:

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • iPod Touch

The repair methods:

Method 1: Change the IMAP Path

iphone unable to move message to trashThe IMAP Path prefix instructs your email program where to put deleted messages.

By default, Apple sets this as a backslash / which means ‘root’. However many email programs do not actually store the messages in the root or don’t have permission to do so which results in the error.

To fix it you need to provide the correct prefix path that allows your email program to move the message from your inbox into the deleted messages folder.

If you always have the error popping up and you can never manage to erase emails from your phone then this is the best fix for you.

This video shows how to change the IMAP path prefix, alternatively, you can use the easy to follow steps which describe the process in more detail underneath.

1. Press the Home button and choose Settings.

iphone settings

2. Scroll down and click Mail, Contacts, Calendars.

3. Tap your email account.

4. Scroll to the bottom and click Advanced.

iphone mail advanced

5. Scroll to the bottom and tap the empty IMAP Path Prefix.

iphone imap prefix

6. Enter INBOX in capitals, then click ‘Accounts’ at the top left and click ‘Done’ at the top right twice to close the settings.

iphone imap prefix fixed

7. Press the Home button and then re-open Mail.

8. You will now be able to delete or move your emails on your iPhone.

Are you a hotmail, or user?

This fix does not work for hotmail,, or because Microsoft does not use IMAP, it uses Exchange Active Link (EAS).

To fix this error you can use POP3 to access your email account.

It should work if you use Microsoft Exchange services such as Office365.

Method 2: Toggle from Wi-Fi to cellular data (or vice versa)

Another common reason for being unable to delete messages is having a poor quality WiFi or cellular connection to the internet.

You need a good quality connection so your phone can instruct your email server to move the message.

If the connection is dropped whilst attempting to do this then the message won’t delete and you will get an error message.

This solution is more suitable if you have an intermittent problem deleting emails.

If sometimes it works OK, and others it doesn’t then you should type the instructions below:

1. Tap Settings

iOS9 upgrade - settings

2. Tap Wi-Fi

icloud settings

3. Turn Wi-Fi off and then back on again using the switch at the top

This will ensure you have a good quality Wi-Fi signal that allows communications with your email.

Method 3: Delete email account and add it again

This fix is a last resort when all else fails. If you have tried the other methods and you are still struggling then it may be that your email account on your phone has become corrupt.

To fix it you need to remove your email account, then add it back again.

Don’t panic you are not going to delete all your email messages. You are simply removing them from your phone.

When you recreate your email account on your phone it will sync all the content from your mailbox giving you access to all your old messages.

To remove your email account from your device do the following:

1. Tap ‘Settings’

iOS9 upgrade - settings

2. Tap ‘Passwords and Accounts’

3. Tap the email account that has the issue

4. At the very bottom tap ‘Delete Account’. Don’t worry, deleting your account from your iPhone or iPad does not delete all the email’s within the mailbox.

5. Reboot your iPhone or iPad

6. Add the account back again by clicking ‘Settings’

7. Click Passwords and Accounts’

8. Tap ‘Add Account’

9. Use the on-screen wizard to add your email account to the iPhone or iPad again.

Closing thoughts

Apple has worked hard on the Mail App on the latest release of iOS, with the method to access the settings changed. It is likely that they have also addressed this issue too as the number of people affected by this seems to have reduced steadily in the recent past.

However, many people are ‘stuck’ on older releases of iOS so it may be a problem for those with older iPhone’s and iPad’s.

Oddly, this issue has been around for a long time and it appears that it has taken Apple 5 or 6 years to finally get round to fixing it properly.

If you are using iOS 12 and still receive this error message and you have tried this fix then please leave a comment. I’d love to know if it is still valid with the latest version of iOS.

Did you find this article helpful?

If you found this article helpful please take a moment to tweet, like, or share this article by using the buttons at the top or bottom of this page. I’d really appreciate it. 🙂

Also, if you are feeling really generous after having your issue solved please leave some encouraging feedback in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

I love getting feedback from visitors. It encourages me to find further solutions to those awkward little iPhone, iPad, MacBook, and Mac problems that we all suffer from.




  1. Jules
  2. Melonie
  3. Danielle
  4. Michael W Part
  5. iPhone Repair
  6. Akshay Sharma
  7. MS office Support
  8. Winnie Fanelli
  9. Dagny
  10. Mick m
  11. Sally
  12. One of them too
  13. Cls Amg
  14. bluef1n
  15. rx
  16. Emil
  17. LouAnn - ScrapCraze
  18. Aaron Tap
  19. Beth "Freshie" Lawrence
  20. Chele
  21. Rob
  22. Andrew Dallons
  23. Aaron
  24. Julia
  25. Julia
  26. Chillin
  27. Chillin
  28. Simon
  29. Simon
  30. Rob
  31. Rob
  32. salar nazar
  33. salar nazar
  34. Randy in BE
  35. Randy in BE
  36. Nicholas
  37. Nicholas
  38. Lorraine
  39. Lorraine
  40. Malcolm
  41. Malcolm
  42. Monty
  43. Monty
  44. Allan Siegert
  45. Allan Siegert
  46. Allan Siegert
  47. videojg
  48. videojg
  49. Gackiem
  50. Gackiem
  51. kit060154
  52. kit060154
  53. Cathy
  54. Cathy
  55. Brian
  56. Brian
  57. michael
  58. Emma D
  59. Lafe Dutton
  60. Keith
  61. GMan
  62. Dirk
  63. John
  64. Angela
  65. Anna Bui
  66. Terry
  67. Michael Rupkalvis
  68. Kiri Wagstaff
  69. Pippa
  70. Jessie
  71. Richard Hazell
    • Nick
  72. Bill Bradshaw
  73. Lilis Su
  74. Helen
  75. John Johnson
  76. rickey gold
  77. Raju
  78. susan neuhaus
  79. billy
  80. Katie
  81. Jason Rafferty
  82. Laura
  83. Anne
  84. Kk
  85. Chris
  86. simon
  87. Stephen
  88. Mark Astle
  89. Matteo Rossi
  90. tamara
  91. monica
  92. bryce hoover
    • chris jurgens
  93. peter zimm
  94. paul
  95. adam
  96. Hil Tokyo
  97. Shuaib Mohammed
  98. Bryce
  99. Brad
  100. paul velleman
    • Scott Rosenthal
  101. Elliot
  102. Luke
  103. Mike Selman
  104. john
  105. Herman
  106. peter
  107. GILL
  108. Aziz M. Bey
    • jon
      • julie
  109. RDesroc
  110. ojenyc
  111. judy
  112. Alison
  113. alex
  114. Jim
  115. Soha
  116. Sizscesia
  117. steve
  118. Joel
    • Kevin Craighead
      • Tiffany @ No Ordinary Homestead
      • James
      • lieven
  119. Luc Perreault
  120. Spanners
  121. Chuck Tucker
  122. Hemant Malik
  123. Mimms
    • TP
  124. Susan Davis
  125. christy
  126. Faheem
  127. Naomi
  128. Meagan
  129. Daniel
  130. Didier
  131. Melody
  132. mtayloruk
  133. Preston
  134. Adrian
  135. Rachel Vallis
    • Kevin Craighead
  136. Eman
  137. B
  138. Sophia Mason
  139. Shona
  140. Sam Ndichu
  141. Wilbur Shenk
  142. Kevin
  143. Pete Gee
    • Bill Woloszyn
      • Kevin Craighead
  144. Randman
  145. Anne
  146. stephanie
  147. Kristine
  148. Puneet Rao
  149. Amy
  150. John
  151. Kelly Allen
  152. phil
    • Kevin Craighead
      • Bill
        • Sean
          • Rick
  153. Karl
  154. Huseyin
    • Kevin Craighead
  155. Carol
  156. jan
  157. Heymanth
  158. Nick Schlickenmayer
  159. Paul
  160. Ian Baker Photography
    • Bryan Hodges
  161. Bob
    • Melissa
    • Joan Quinlan
  162. Michael
  163. Victoria Day
  164. anna
  165. Mk
  166. Meischan
  167. Fil Booth
  168. Rach
    • Loni
  170. Marcia
  171. Lindy
  172. Marie
  173. Gay Sherlock
  174. John T
  175. jayeola
  176. John S.
  177. Will Halls
  178. lance
  179. Lizzie
  180. George Goldberg
  181. Sean Q.
  182. bob p
  183. Chris
  184. Pam Ringo
  185. Dan
  186. Scott Franklin
  187. MoreThanDanny
  188. Deltady
  189. Jim
  190. daz
  191. Russell
  192. Michelle
  193. Adam
    • sheila
  194. DS
  195. Rich Frainier
  196. Curtis
  197. Dianne
  198. Brian marks
    • James Kahn
    • mickthemiller
      • deb
  199. Michelle LeGault
  200. AS
  201. MBR
  202. Dan H
  203. Matt Kohls
    • HK Carbon
  204. KD
  205. Caswil
  206. Michael
  207. Graeme Bellis
    • Kevin Craighead
    • bilart
  208. Heidi
  209. Ann
  210. Inge
  211. D B
  212. Alice
  213. John
  214. Angela
  215. msfidget
  216. Judi Allen
  217. brian
    • Kevin Craighead
  218. david
  219. Terri Youngblood
  220. Des
  221. Michael Cahoon
  222. Tom
  223. Tom
  224. Cody
  225. Craig Hirshberg
  226. Martin
  227. Doug Lodge
  228. Charbel
  229. Jeremy
  230. Karen VanEmbden
    • Kevin Craighead
  231. Mike
    • Kevin Craighead
  232. Triumph
    • Kevin Craighead
  233. David
  234. Ken
    • Dawn Wackerman Schottmiller
  235. Mike
  236. Peter
  237. Ted
  238. cheri
  239. sam
  240. Joas
  241. article
  242. Skg
  243. Dave
  244. Mohammed
  245. Mohammed
  246. Craig George
    • Craig George
    • Kevin Craighead
      • Craig
  247. Randell Rowe
    • Kevin Craighead

Leave a Reply