Ballyboughal, Fingal North Co Dublin. Est Feb '08

Stopping iPhone from getting old Gmail messages


I started having problems accessing my work email from my iPhone so I decided to connect to Gmail which I use to mack up my mail.  The setup on the iPhone was very straight forward and simple.

However, annoyingly when I read my mail my iPhone would start to download all my recent emails.  Since Gmail is used at back up mail, it had over 6000 unread emails 🙁

Stage 1 – Archive all old unread email

Here’s a simple four-step way to doing this.

First, select all the messages currently on-screen by clicking the “All” selection option either above or below the message list.

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Gmail will now tick the checkbox on all the messages currently on screen. However, you might still have thousands not covered by the current view. Gmail will ask you if you want to select all the conversations, including those out of view.

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Click the link, and Gmail will now select everything, including message threads outside of the current screen.

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Next step would be to click the “Archive” button to send all the selected conversations outside of “Inbox view.”

Wait, that’s just three steps, not four! I guess the fourth step would be to repeat the sequence regularly for maintenance, or whenever you get overwhelmed by thousands of messages in your inbox.

Stage 2 – Stopping iPhone getting old messages

I picked this solution up on MacRumors.  First of all, make sure you have Recent Mode turned on. Now set your mail settings to 200 Most Recent. In your advanced settings make sure you have the “Delete Messages: Remove” setting to anything other than “Never”… I used “After One Day” (BE SURE NOT TO CHANGE THE “DELETE FROM SERVER” setting, though… otherwise you will lose your messages for real!!!).

When your Gmail updates it will only download the first 50 messages. Now delete them all (or at least whichever ones you don’t want/need anymore. More than likely this will be enough for it to realize you don’t want any more messages, or the recent setting somehow discriminates how old a message cna be to be sent to your iPhone, because once this happened I didn’t get any more messages. In fact, there was a “Get 50 More Messages” button in my inbox, but clicking it didn’t get me any more messages, it actually just caused that button to go away after a reboot!! If you find that more messages DO come in, just delete those too, you probably just have more “recent” messages than I did !!

I know this is a pain, but I am 90% sure it will work ! Now I only get new messages to my iPhone… In summary:

01)Settings>Mail>Gmail>Advanced>Deleted Messages: Remove After One Day
02)Settings>Mail>Gmail>Advanced>Delete From Server: Never
03)Settings>Mail>Gmail>Advanced>Use Recent Mode: On
04)Settings>Mail>Messages>Show: 200 Recent Messages
05)Mail>Gmail>Inbox… Update and download messages
06)Delete all the messages
07)If/when you see “Get More Messages…” click it
08)If more messages come delete them too
09)That should do it!!!

This worked well for me.  Hope it works for you too 🙂


  1. As a Newbie, I am always searching online for articles that can help me. Thank you

  2. I use Gmail on my iphone 3g..and it always worked fine, until all of a sudden it stopped working. It would not update my email and just say “connecting….” and then “cannot connect to”. It was so frustrating! I tried several things, none of which worked. Finally I got a tip from someone online to just go into gmail on my computer and change my password to something more secure. Up until then my password had just been a simple word, but after changing it to something with a number and longer word in it, gmail worked on my phone again. But gosh it was so frustrating when it wasn’t working.

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