How to avoid deleting messages when swiping your iPad too briskly

swipe to delete large

Reader Nancy Hilton has an iOS issue that she’d like me to take a swipe at. She writes:

I upgraded my iPad mini to iOS 8, and suddenly an accidental left swipe mysteriously wipes out an email message. A gentle left-swipe displays More, Flag, and Trash options, but a quicker swipe produces a brief narrow red line, and poof! the message is gone into cyberspace. Can you help?

I can. As you’ve rightly deduced, this is a behavior introduced with iOS 8, and it works across iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches. It was a notion Apple introduced with the idea that it’s an easy way to quickly delete messages. The problem is that if you’re a little too frisky in your swiping you can accidentally delete messages.

For IMAP accounts these messages should appear in the Trash folder of the associated account. Just navigate back to that folder and move the messages back to the Inbox. But that’s tedious, particularly when there’s an easier way.

Shake it.

undo trash

Shake your device to easily retrieve a deleted message.

And by “it” I mean your iPad (or iPhone or iPod touch). This is the “undo” gesture that far too many of us forget about. When you’ve inadvertently deleted a message, give your iPad a vigorous shake and an Undo Trash window should appear. Tap Undo and the message will reappear. (I say “should” because while this works very well with my iPhone, it can be hit-or-miss on my iPad Air.)

“But hold the darned phone (or iPad)!” I hear protested. “Within the Mail, Contacts, Calendar setting there’s an Ask Before Deleting switch. Surely if you enable that switch you’ll be queried before another message vanishes!”

Ah, but no. This switch applies only to those situations where you tap a message to reveal it and then tap on the Trash icon at the bottom of the screen. It won’t interfere with swipe-deletions.

Likewise, although you can tap Swipe Options in the Mail, Contacts, Calendars setting; tap Swipe Left; and then tap None; this doesn’t prevent the rapid swipe gesture from deleting messages. It only allows you to switch the Flag option on or off.

Have a question of your own? Drop a line to mac911@macworld.com.

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