Gmail IMAP and iPhone Deleting Options

For some reason, I never realized that when I deleted an Gmail email message off of my iPhone, that Google actually deleted the message1. Not the behavior I wanted (I swear that deleting an email used to just remove the message from the iPhone, and leave in my Gmail inbox, but maybe that was on my BlackBerry which I used up until April of this year.).

Changing the preference was fairly easy: I logged on to my Gmail page, created a new label (which is the same as a folder) called iPhone read for lack of a snazzier title. Hopping over to my iPhone, under settings / Mail / Gmail account / Advanced Settings/ Deleted Mailbox I chose my newly created label//folder iPhone read. Simple solution, but I had to think about it for a second. Google hints at the solution at their IMAP tutorial page, but they don’t have all the relevant details, nor a strategic solution.

I lost any email that I deleted off my iPhone longer than 30 days ago, but I don’t think I lost anything extremely important. Most work-related email also is downloaded via POP3 to Eudora running on my Mac Pro, I lost Twitter-related messages, Google news alerts, Flickr alerts, and the like. No big loss that I’m aware of. Perhaps this will teach me to pay closer attention to details.

Update: as clever as my strategy is (or isn’t), it doesn’t apparently work. Items deleted off of my iPhone still end up in the Gmail trash. Hmmm. Let me noodle on this for a second.

Seems as if the setting changed itself back on the iPhone, defaulting to its original behavior of moving deleted mail to the Gmail trash folder. Weird. I see that the correct folder is checked on the iPhone, but when I go back, it has reverted. The preference won’t stick for some reason. Irritating.

Another update:

apparently, Apple in its wisdom has somehow altered the iPhone IMAP behavior so it acts illogical. In order to be able to specify which folder messages are moved to, you have to delete the supplied Gmail setup options, and use “Other” to manually add Gmail as an account. The main difference I see is that you have to manually type in your SMTP information and so on, as described on this Google Help page. Seems to work, though I find it irritating that Apple forces iPhone users to do extra hoop-jumping to make this minor change.

  1. well, put it in a folder that keeps the message for another 30 days before finally deleting it forever []

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