One-handed quick-swipe method for deleting email on an iPhone

Updated July 19th, 2023.

You’ve probably been tapping the Trash button at the bottom left to delete emails, but that’s a two-handed job: one hand to hold the iPhone, the other hand to tap the Trash button. There’s no way to do it one-handed unless you have massive hands and great dexterity.

Trash icon in iPhone Mail app
No one can reach the Trash icon, whether left-handed or right.

But… as usual, there’s another way, and here it is: just push the message to the left, exposing another Trash button!

Pushing the message to the left exposes a Trash button within easy one-handed reach
Pushing the message to the left exposes a Trash button within easy one-handed reach

You can easily push the message to the left with your thumb, expose the Trash button, then give it a tap, all while operating the iPhone with one hand. (Yes, this is a right-handed world. Sorry about that.)

Pushing the message to the left also exposes the Reply/Forward curvy arrow button and the Move folder button, in case you need either of them.

Here’s a movie showing it in action. You should try it.


I don’t know when they added this feature but it’s there in iOS 14.3. Very, very handy.

UPDATE: this also works in the Messages app (where you can not only delete with a swipe to the left, but also “Delete and Report Junk” all in one move. And it works in the Phone app (in Recents, and Voicemail).

UPDATE #2: the same idea works on the Mac. If you’re using an Apple mouse with the smooth top surface, swipe with one finger from right to left. If you’re using an Apple trackpad, swipe with two fingers from right to left. Works in Mail, Messages, and who knows what else. Experiment and find out!

Copyright 2008-2023 Christian Boyce. All rights reserved.

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