How do I set up folders on my iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch?

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After you’ve created an email account on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, you’ll probably also want to make sure your device stores sent, deleted and draft messages on the mail server, instead of just on the device itself.

If you don’t do this, you may have trouble like:

  • Your device may not save copies of sent messages at all;
  • Your device may save sent messages only on on the device that sends them, without them being visible to other devices, programs or Webmail;
  • You may see an error message like “Unable to Move Message: The message could not be moved to the mailbox” when you try to delete a message.

Setting up folders will fix this.

Before setting up folders, the folders must have been viewed in the Mail app at least once. To do so, open the Mail app (press the home button to return to the main screen if necessary), scroll past the “Inboxes” section to the bottom of the main screen to view the “Accounts” section, then tap address@example.com.

After viewing the account, go to the mailbox settings page by tapping this from the iPhone home screen:

  • Settings
  • Accounts & Passwords (for iOS 11), Mail (for iOS 10) or Mail, Contacts, Calendars (for iOS 9 and previous versions)
  • address@example.com

Then tap address@example.com next to “Account”:

Tap Account

Then scroll down to the very bottom and tap Advanced. You’ll see a section titled “Mailbox Behaviors”:

Mailbox Behaviors screenshot

We want to change all three “behaviors”, so first, tap Drafts Mailbox, which makes the “Mailboxes” screen appear.

Then tap Drafts from the “On the Server” section:

iPhone Mailboxes screenshot

Then tap Advanced in the top-left to return to the Mailboxes screen.

Repeat the same steps for the “Sent Mailbox” (choosing Sent on the server) and the “Deleted Mailbox” (choosing Trash on the server). When you’ve finished, the “Mailbox Behaviors” should look like this:

iPhone Mailboxes screenshot

After doing this, click Account in the top-left to go back one screen, then click Done in the top right to save the changes.

Having trouble?

Be sure you've gone back to the “Account” screen and pressed Done in the top right. The changes won’t be saved if you don’t.