Friday, September 16, 2011

Gmail and iOS: When I say DELETE I mean DELETE

I thought I had this figured out long ago. When I deleted an email from my iPhone, it would be deleted from my "Exchange" (ActiveSync) GMail account.

I was wrong. It works that way for my corporate ActiveSync account but not for Gmail. The iPhone button said "DELETE" but the messages were being sent to "All Mail". My "All Mail" archive was infested with spam.

I thought this was a matter of some fiddling with Gmail or iOS Settings. That's wrong too. At this time if you use ActiveSync (Exchange Server) to sync Gmail with your iOS delete on the iPhone will always Archive in Gmail - regardless of what the UI indicates.

This doesn't seem to be documented. There's (misleading and confusing) documentation on iOS IMAP behavior, but I couldn't find anything official. There is, however, a long old thread in Google's forums about this, degenerating at times as to whether this is a bug and, if so, whose bug it is. (IMHO - Google's bug.)

The only fix is to stop using ActiveSync for email and return to Apple's default IMAP based Gmail account setup. In that mode there's an iOS settings control to change Gmail Archive behavior. That works.

I suspect I solved this back when I used Apple's preferred iOS Gmail/IMAP setup, and didn't catch the recurrence when I switched to using Google's preferred Gmail/ActiveSync setup.

1 comment:

Darren Anthony said...

This is a problem that has plaques me for some time now. I thought that I was deleting my mail, when in fact, I was doing just the opposite. I wish there were a way to fix this and still use the gmail exchange server, but there isn't as of yet. I have tried using a combination of IMAP and Exchange, which works alright, but I end up with telling me that I have double unread messages. I would use IMAP exclusively, but I Like knowing at the exact moment I receive mail.