Settings That Affect Checking and Viewing E-mail on Your iPhone

By Edward C. Baig, Bob LeVitus

Several settings affect the way you check and view e-mail on your iPhone. You might want to modify one or more, so here are descriptions of what they do and where to find them:

  • To specify how often the iPhone checks for new messages: On the Home screen, tap Settings→Mail, Contacts, Calendars→Fetch New Data. You’re entering the world of fetching and pushing.

    If your e-mail program supports push and you have it turned on (the On button is showing), fresh messages are sent to your iPhone automatically as soon as they reach the server. If you turned off push (Off is showing) or your e-mail program doesn’t support it, the iPhone fetches data instead (that is, messages are batched before they are sent). Choices for fetching are Every 15 Minutes, Every 30 Minutes, Hourly, and Manually. Tap the one you prefer.


    To determine these push and fetch settings for each account, tap Advanced at the bottom of the screen. Then tap the account in question. Push is shown as an option only if the e-mail account you tapped supports the feature.

  • To hear an alert sound when you receive a new message: Tap the Sounds option on the main Settings screen and then turn on the New Mail setting. Again, you can choose from a variety of sound effects. The Ding sound is the default.

  • To set the number of recent messages that appear in your inbox: On the Home screen, tap Settings→Mail, Contacts, Calendars→Show. Your choices are 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 recent messages. Tap the number you prefer.

    You can see more messages in your inbox regardless of this setting by scrolling all the way to the bottom and tapping Load More Messages.

  • To set the number of lines of each message to be displayed in the message list: On the Home screen, tap Settings→Mail, Contacts, Calendars→Preview, and then choose a number. Your choices are 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 lines of text. The more lines of text you display in the list, the fewer messages you can see at a time without scrolling. Think before you choose 4 or 5.

  • To specify whether the iPhone shows the To and Cc labels in message lists: On the Home screen, tap Settings→Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and then turn on or off the Show To/Cc Label setting.

  • To turn on or off the Ask before Deleting warning: On the Home screen, tap Settings→Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and then turn on or off the Ask before Deleting setting. If this setting is turned on, you need to tap the trash can icon at the bottom of the screen and then tap the red Delete button to confirm the deletion. When the setting is turned off, tapping the trash can icon deletes the message and you never see a red Delete button.

  • To archive messages rather than delete them: Tap an e-mail account that presents this option — Gmail is one — and slide the switch so that On is showing. If selected, the trash can icon that you’d normally see in an e-mail is replaced by an icon showing an arrow pointing downward into what looks like a little file cabinet.

  • To specify whether the phone will automatically load remote images: Tap Load Remote Images so that the On button is showing. If it’s off, you can still manually load remote images.