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iOS: How To Delete Stuck Unsent Email in Outbox On iPhone And iPad

iOS 9 mail app icon 184x184Sometimes you cannot delete an email in the iOS Outbox mailbox on your iPhone or iPad because the email is stuck in the outbox and the ‘Edit’ button is greyed, meaning not accessible for deleting. In this case, you have to power off your iOS device (iPhone, iPad or iPod touch), restart it and then you can edit and delete the stucked email message in the outbox folder. Deleting email stuck in outbox on iphone works for iOS 11, iOS 10 and iOS 9.

Here’s a stuck email message in the outbox mailbox on an iOS device (iPhone 6 running on iOS 9, native iOS mail app):

iOS_delete stuck email in outbook on iPhone and iPad_01_non-edible unsent message in iOS outbox

iOS_delete stuck email in outbook on iPhone and iPad_01_non-edible unsent message in iOS outbox

The unsent email message cannot be deleted because the ‘Edit‘ function is greyed meaning not accessible, it is stuck in the email outbox folder.

Here’s how to delete a stuck unsent email in the outbox mailbox on iPhone and iPad (iOS 9, iOS 10 and iOS11):


  • If it doesn’t worked, try to switch on airplane mode before rebooting in step 2 (Kudos to Dave!).

Stuck unsent emails in the outbox mailbox on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch mail app can be easily delete after switching off and on the iOS device running on iOS 11, iOS 10 and iOS 9. However, you have to take care to do the described work around immediately after rebooting to get rid of the greyed ‘Edit’ function.

Stay tuned! 😉

70 thoughts on “iOS: How To Delete Stuck Unsent Email in Outbox On iPhone And iPad”

    1. Just had the same issue “email stuck in sent box on iphone 4s”… followed procedure of turning on airplane mode, then powering off, then power on, opened email app, went to sent box, “edit was highlighted” deleted email, powered off again, powered on, turned off airplane mode, checked email… perfect, thanks for your info / advice…

      1. I too repeatedly did as instructed, but you are absolutely correct-when restarting your phone, you have to delete or edit to delete IMMEDIATELY! Thank you so much!!!

        1. IMMEDIATELY was key for IPhone X, IOS 12.1.2 Beating the phone to auto-finding the wifi, even though airplane mode and wifi were off at shutdown, took a couple tries to master my speed…but it worked 🙂

              1. It only worked for me by switching airplane mode on before rebooting. Then I could delete the outbox item. All good now – Thanks!

                1. Worked great for me. Was stocked with this problem for a week. Even went to Apple Store and they couldn’t help. You’re the man!!

                  1. Brilliant!! I tried several options over the past 3 weeks after draining a lot of battery and taking up much cellular data usage I was desperate and searched on web…saw your recommendation worked perfectly!!

                  2. Airplane mode trick doesn’t work. I also tuned of the email on my iPhone, deleted all drafts using my laptop and again tried the airplane mode. Really frustrating. And I think it’s sucking all my power. Also no Outbox on iCloud…? And of course nothing will send from my phones mac mail…..

                    1. you should quit Mail app if it’s open or running in the background. Then you turn on airplane mode. It will work.
                      Otherwise, you have a mail server issue. Try to sign out Mail account and back in

                  3. No need to restart your device. Just simply quit Mail app if it’s running. Then turn on Airplane Mode. Re-open Mail App and now you can Delete your stuck outgoing mail. It will shown an exclamation mark (!)
                    Just hit OK if iOS says you need to turn on Data / Wifi, etc

                    The point is, make your device offline from Internet while opening the Mail App to delete it. Otherwise it will try to sending it forever.

                    I’ve tried restarting my iPhone, it does not work. The stuck mail still there and greyed out.

                    Hope it helps

                  4. Ahhhh thank you soooooo much! This has been annoying me for several weeks! Worked in airplane mode!!! You’re a genius! Thanks for the tip!

                  5. I also had the same problem for weeks. It worked! I didn’t have to put it in airplane mode, it just worked as soon as I turned it on again. Thank ou SO much!!

                  6. It did not work for me until I tried it with phone in Airplane mode before restarting, as you suggested. Then it worked like a charm!

                  7. Wow! Worked the first time (iPhone 6s). Did airplane mode before shutting down. Just wished I would’ve found your solution earlier! 😊 Thanks much!!!

                  8. Yippee! Thanks for that! (Been bugging me for weeks.) …. Airplane mode. Turn off. Turn on. Edit. Delete. Thank you. Thank you.

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