By Demi / Last update August 4, 2021

Unable to move message

I get the “Unable to Move Message. The message could not be moved to the mailbox Trash” whenever I try deleting from my iPad. I am unable to delete from Trash. Help!

- Question from Apple Community

It’s a good habit to clean your mailbox to free space regularly on your iPad or iPhone. However, when you manage to move mail messages to Trash, you suddenly get a message, saying “Unable to Move Message” on iPad or iPhone. You will not be alone if you encounter this issue. Keep reading, causes and 7 solutions to iPad error unable to move message to Trash are shown below to help you out of this issue.

Unable To Move Message

Part 1. Causes of iPad says unable to move message to Trash

There are a variety of reasons why you fail to move message to Trash. The main reasons are as follow.

Poor network condition. A weak or problematic network can make your mail app fail to connect to email server, so that you can’t move message to Trash on iPad.
Mail app system or account issue. There might be something wrong with mail app system or the account, which makes mail app doesn’t respond to your deletion action.
An incorrect IMAP path. IMAP may be set up incorrectly within the settings of your iPad or iPhone.
Some other unknown reasons. Besides the three most common causes above, some other unknown reasons hide secretly that stop you from moving messages to Trash.

Part 2. 7 solutions to fix unable to move the message to Trash on iPad/iPhone

You can get more specific solutions if you figure out why the iPad says “unable move message to Trash”. If you don’t know the causes for sure, hope you can solve the problem after trying these solutions.

Solution 1. Move the message to Junk

Besides moving the message to Trash, actually, you are also able to move the message to Junk directly to free up space. However, you'd better backup iPad to computer to avoid data loss before the following steps. Follow the instructions below to make it.

Open your Mail app > Locate the message you want to delete and swipe it to the left > Tap on More > Move Message... > Junk.

Move Message To Junk

Note: Steps above are base on the built-in Mail app on iPad and iPhone. Steps may be slightly different from other third-party mail apps.

Solution 2. Force emails sync with account

You can try to force emails sync with your Mail account to get out of this issue. Sometimes, the slow sync with your iPad or iPhone can make message laggy, which can make you fail to move message to Trash.

Make it with simple steps. Go to Mail app > Swipe down until you can see a spinning circle, which indicate the mails are syncing. When the spinning circle disappears, a message will popup and say “Updated Just Now”. Then, you can try to move the message to the Trash again.

Solution 3. Change network connection on iPad/iPhone

As we mentioned before, the mail server cannot work well under a weak or problematic network. Hence, you will be unable to move message to Trash on iPad or iPhone. You can try the following methods to change network connection.

• Move to another area where the network is stable and strong.

• Turn off Wi-Fi or cellular connection and turn it on again.

• Change Wi-Fi to cellular connection and vice versa.

• You can also try to reset network settings on iPad and iPhone. Go to Settings > Reset > Reset Network Settings to fix it.

Reset Network Settings

Solution 4. Change the IMAP path

The process of sending and receiving emails depends on IMAP settings. To move messages to Trash, the advanced settings from IMAP should be correct. Tutorials are as follow.

Step 1. On your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > Password & Accounts (iOS 12 and later) or Mail, Contacts, Calendars (iOS 11 and before) > Tap the problematic email account > Hit your email address > Scroll down to choose Advanced.

Mail Advanced Settings

Step 2. Find IMAP Path Prefix > Type INBOX in capital letter.

Change Mail Imap Inbox

Note: In step 2, you need to check two settings.
❶ Under MOVE DISCARD MESSAGES INTO, select Deleted Mailbox.
❷ Enable mailbox behavior is in Trash. Under MAILBOX BEHAVIORS, select Deleted Mailbox > Enable Trash under ON THE SERVER.

Mailbox

Solution 5. Re-add Email account

You can also delete and add the email account again on iPad or iPhone to have a try, because sometimes your email account may encounter problems temporarily.

To delete email account, go to Settings > Password & Accounts (for iOS 12 and later) or Mail, Contacts, Calendars (for iOS 11 and before) > Tap the problematic email account > Select Delete Account.

Delete Mail Account

You can repeat the steps to add your mail account again. Deleting the mail account will not delete the mail messages on your device. Therefore, there’s no need to worry about any data loss.

Solution 6. Delete the Mail app and restore it

Does the issue still exist? If it does, there might be something wrong with the software within the Mail app. Try to delete the Mail app and restore it to get rid of this error. The procedures are pretty easy.

Hold the Mail app until it starts to jiggle > Tap the cross to delete Mail app. Go to App Store and install Mail again.

Go back to Settings > Passwords & Account or Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Add Accounts to re-configure the mail accounts. Then you can open Mail app and have a try.

Add Mail Account

Solution 7. Force restart iPad/iPhone

Your iPad and iPhone may get stuck for no reason which can also make you unable to move message to Trash. Force restart iPad or iPhone is the simplest way to fix any software error on your devices.

▶ To force restart iPad.
For iPad with a Home button, press and hold the top button until the power-off slider appears > Drag the slider to turn off iPad.
For iPad without a Home button, press and hold either the volume up or down button and the top button until the power-off slider appears > Drag the slider to turn off iPad.

To force restart iPhone.
iPhone 8 or later: Press and quick release the volume + button > Press and quick release the volume - button > Press the power button until you see the logo of Apple.
iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus: Press both the power button and volume - button for seconds until you see the logo of Apple.
iPhone 6s or earlier: Press both the power button and the Home button for seconds until you see the logo of Apple.

Reset Iphone

Conclusion

The causes and 7 solutions to "unable to move message to Trash" issue on iPad and iPhone have been elaborated in detail. Hopefully, these methods above can help you when you are unable to move message to Trash on iPad or iPhone. For more queries and feedback, feel free to contact us or leave your comments.