Can I safely delete an old "account" from my e-mail program without losing mail?
With most e-mail programs, including Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora, and Entourage, deleting an e-mail “account” in the program does not delete the messages that have already been retrieved. You can safely delete or replace an e-mail account in these programs without affecting or deleting previously downloaded messages.
However, the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and the Apple Mail and Thunderbird programs, work a little differently. Read the information below before deleting accounts in those programs.
Apple iPhone / iPad / iPod touch (iOS devices)
Be sure to read the small description of what will be deleted that appears on the screen when you choose “Delete Account”.
When you delete a POP account from an iOS device, you will lose all mail stored in the local Sent and Trash folders on the device. You will also lose any mail which is in the Inbox and has been deleted from the server. If you do not want to lose this mail, then you should disable the account instead of deleting it:
- Go to Settings.
- Choose Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
- Choose your POP mail account.
- Change the “Account” setting to Off.
- Tap Done to save the change.
When you delete an IMAP account from an iOS device, you will lose all mail stored in the local Sent and Trash folders on the device. You can check if the Sent and Trash folders are being saved locally by following the steps at the bottom of our iOS setup page. You may also lose the copy of any “Notes” which are supposed to be synchronized with that IMAP account. (We have seen unpredictable behavior in deleting notes when deleting an IMAP account.)
With the Apple Mail program, if a mailbox (an “account”) is deleted, it removes all messages associated with that mailbox.
You can "disable" an account, which keeps the messages stored on your computer — but it also hides them from your view, making them impossible to read or copy unless you re-enable the account.
Because of that, the only way to both save your mail and no longer make any connections to an old account is to first setup a new account (Apple Mail allows multiple accounts), then copy the old mail to the Inbox of your new account. We strongly recommend making a full backup of all e-mail before copying messages and deleting accounts. Once you have verified that all mail has been copied to your new account, you can safely delete the old one.
If you use Thunderbird and originally set up the account to use the “global mailbox” for a POP connection, or you use an IMAP connection, then it's okay to delete the account. However, if you set a POP account to save the messages into its own mailbox, then deleting the account will also delete the messages.