If your iPhone email is not updating, several issues could be the culprit. These include incompatible system settings, software problems, differences in email protocols, and more.
Let’s go over each possible cause, then see how you can fix them.
12 Ways to Fix iPhone Email Not Updating
There’s no direct way to determine why your email is not updating on your iPhone. So, here are some troubleshooting options to help you get to the root of the problem.
1. Do a Manual Refresh
Try to refresh your Mail app before attempting anything more complicated manually. Open the app’s inbox, drag your finger down the screen until you see a spinning wheel, then release it. This should prompt the app to (re)connect to the email servers.
2. Toggle Airplane Mode On and Off
A connectivity issue can cause your iPhone email to quit updating. To refresh your connection, open your iPhone’s Settings app and turn on the switch next to Airplane Mode. You could also tap Airplane Mode on and off from your Control Center. Here’s a guide to using and customizing the Control Center on your iPhone.
After that, wait 10 seconds, turn off Airplane Mode, then check your Mail app. If nothing has changed, try the manual refresh in #1 above.
3. Reset Network Settings
You can fix any underlying connectivity issues by resetting your network settings.
To do so, go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset > Reset Network Settings. This will reset Wi-Fi networks and passwords, cellular settings, and any VPN/APN settings you’ve used before. After completing the network settings reset, you must manually reconnect to any Wi-Fi network. You should then force-quit and reopen the Mail app to see if the problem persists.
4. Check Mail Settings
If the problem is still not resolved, it may be an in-app issue. Typically, you’d get email updates and notifications if you have the Push button turned on for the app. Instead of trying to ‘fetch’ your emails, Push instructs the email servers to ‘push’ them to your iPhone.
So when your iPhone email stops updating, take a quick trip to double-check your email update settings. Start by heading to Settings > Mail > Accounts > Fetch New Data, then toggle on the Push button.
If you only have trouble with a specific mailbox, tap it from the Accounts list and select Push from the menu on the next page. And for accounts that do not offer a Push option (such as Gmail accounts), select Fetch. Next, select an update frequency from the Fetch Schedule below the Accounts menu. You want to set it to the quickest update interval possible—Every 15 Minutes. If you wish to update your email even quicker, manually refresh the Mail app.
5. Delete and Reinstall the Mail App
A sure method to reset any possible in-app issues is to delete and reinstall the app itself. This will restore any settings you may have tampered with to default and possibly fix the problem of your iPhone email not updating.
Although Mail is part of the iPhone’s stock app portfolio, you can reinstall it just like any other app. That should give you a clean slate to start setting up your email accounts from scratch, avoiding any issues with the current setup.
Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage > Mail and tap Delete App to remove the Mail app. Then, reinstall the Mail app from the App Store, launch it, and sign in with your email address. You can add any additional accounts in Settings > Mail > Accounts > Add Accounts.
6. Remove and Re-Add the Account
Remove and re-add any problematic accounts that refuse to update. This should help you fix problems caused by a faulty or corrupted configuration.
To do so, head over to Settings > Mail > Accounts > Delete Account. When that’s done, return to the Accounts page and tap Add Account to re-add the account.
Once you’re signed in and can see your emails, do a manual refresh to load new emails.
7. Check Notification Settings
If the problem is that you’re not getting notifications for email updates, you should check your Notifications settings. Open the Settings app and go to Notifications > Mail. Then, ensure that the notification settings (Alerts, Sounds, and Badges) are set up to alert you when a new email drops in your inbox. You can customize other notification settings in this section as well.
Also important, tap Customize Notifications to check the notifications settings for individual accounts to ensure they’re set to your liking.
8. Enable Background App Refresh
Another possible fix is to enable background app refresh. This feature allows apps to update with new content even when you’re not actively using them. Background App Refresh is also a useful feature for reducing your mobile data usage, so that’s a win.
To enable Background app refresh, go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and select your preferred conditions for its use—Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi and Mobile Data.
9. Check Cellular Data Settings
Some people restrict certain apps from using cellular data to conserve data usage. If you notice that your Mail app does not update when you’re on cellular data, chances are you’ve blocked it from using your iPhone’s mobile bandwidth.
To disable the setting, open the Settings app and select Cellular/Mobile Data from the menu. Then, scroll down the apps list until you find the Mail app, and turn on the switch beside it.
10. Disable Low Data Mode
iOS has a Low Data Mode that conserves Wi-Fi and cellular network bandwidth. If you enabled the feature previously, it could be why your iPhone Mail is not updating, as it could be restricting internet activity on the app.
To allow the Mail app full internet access, you have to check that you haven’t enabled Low Data Mode for both Wi-Fi and Cellular Data. To disable Low Data Mode on Wi-Fi, go to Settings > Wi-Fi and tap the Info icon next to the active Wi-Fi connection. Next, turn off the switch next to Low Data Mode.
To disable Low Data Mode on cellular data, go to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options and turn off the switch next to Low Data Mode.
11. Disable Low Power Mode
Another feature that could restrict internet activity on the Mail app is the Low Power Mode, which tends to limit various background activities, so you can conserve your iPhone battery. To disable the feature, go to Settings > Battery and toggle off the Low Power Mode switch.
12. Restart the iPhone
Another option for resolving app-specific issues is to turn your iPhone off and restart it.
On the iPhone X and newer models, hold down your side button and the volume up button simultaneously. Then drag the slider to the right to power off. But if you use an older iPhone, feel free to check out how to restart your iPhone on other models.
After your iPhone shuts down completely, hold down the Side button to reboot it.
13. Update Your iPhone
If all else fails, try updating your iPhone. The Mail app may be unable to update your inbox due to bugs and glitches in the iPhone’s system software. Update to the latest iOS version by going to Settings > General > Software Update.
Easily Fix Email Not Updating on Your iPhone
If the Mail app continues to fail to update your mailboxes, it’s likely due to an issue beyond your control. All that’s left to do is to contact your email service provider for help.
But if you’re having cloud syncing issues with your iCloud account, you should check out our iCloud troubleshooting guide to help you fix it.