There are several ways to delete mail in the macOS Mail app. But note that to delete a message from a Mail notification or with a swipe, the “Move discarded messages” option in Viewing preferences in Mail must be set to Trash; otherwise, the message is archived.
To delete a single email:
- Select an email in a list and click the trashcan icon in the menu bar.
- Select an email in a list and click the Move To box in the menu bar and select Move to Trash.
- Select an email in a list and press the Control button while you click the mouse. A pop-up menu will appear; choose Delete.
If you’re using a Mac with a trackpad, you can swipe left with two fingers, then click Trash, or swipe all the way to the left until the message disappears.
To delete multiple emails at once:
Want to view emails you’ve deleted? You can — well, maybe, depending on how you set options in Mail preferences. Open Mail and choose Preferences, then click Accounts.
Select an account, click Mailbox Behaviors, then check the setting for the Trash Mailbox option.
If a mailbox is specified, you can view deleted messages in the Trash mailbox until they’re permanently erased. To retrieve a deleted message, drag it from the Trash mailbox to another mailbox.
If None is specified, deleted messages may temporarily remain in their original location, but are dimmed or hidden. To show or hide them, if available, choose View > Show Deleted Messages or View > Hide Deleted Messages.
To permanently delete emails:
In the Mail app on your Mac, choose Mailbox > Erase Deleted Items, then choose an account. You can also Control-click a Trash mailbox in the Mail sidebar, then choose Erase Deleted Items.
You can set the “Erase deleted messages” option in Mail preferences to have Mail permanently erase deleted messages for you at a specified time: after one day, after one week, or after one month.