London Calling

The Day 4231 Uninvited E-mails Invaded My IPhone



Recently, 4231 e-mails stormed into my iPhone as it sat on my desk while I worked on my laptop. You can imagine my surprise—and the succession of expletives that followed.Where did they come from? How were they called in? (I keep my iPhone e-mail settings on pull rather than push so I choose when to look at new e-mails on my phone.)

I even started to think of some crazy scenarios. Perhaps my phone had managed to sync with my laptop e-mail system. Ridiculous, of course, it hadn’t.

It couldn’t have been my e-mail provider, BT. I regularly log into my BT Yahoo account and delete loads of messages to keep my stored e-mails to a minimum. This is necessary for people like me who get around 120 e-mails daily.

Delete Them All

I decided that for the sake of my sanity to just delete all of them. But iPhones only allow you to delete e-mails individually. The expletives made a rapid and cacophonous return.I visited my local Apple store, and one of the gurus there confirmed there was no “delete all” e-mail function on iPhones. Apparently Steve Jobs once called e-mails information gold dust that should be protected from “delete all” errors. Come on. Get real here. There are lots of ways of safeguarding against accidental “delete all” operations by double-checking with “Are you sure?” prompts.

I suggested to the Apple guru that there must be some iPhone “secret” function that can delete all e-mails. A politically correct blank stare and shake of his head was his evasive response. But as a parting gesture he did suggest that I might, but only might, fix it by cancelling all my BT settings on the phone and then reinstalling them.

I didn’t like that idea, so I went to my local O2 store, the supplier of my iPhone, to check it out. The staff there hurriedly said that whatever I did, I shouldn’t do that. However, they couldn’t fix my e-mail mega-dump. They also had no idea how it had happened and confirmed that indeed the phone was set to pull rather than push.

Short-lived Jubilation

Still convinced there must be an iPhone secret that could help me obliterate all 4231 uninvited e-mails in one hit, I resorted to YouTube. Sure enough, plenty of videos show how to delete them all. What a relief.

However, the jubilation was short-lived. I tried several of the methods, but they couldn’t do the job. Some managed to zap small groups of around 30 e-mails at a time, but I needed a much bigger hammer to crack this nut.


As a last resort, I decided to look at jailbreaking the phone. I needed to find apps that first would break into the phone, which would then allow me to upload non-authorized Apple apps. It wasn’t hard to find them as well as several programs that would enable a “delete all” e-mail function.But were these apps secure?

Some more net surfing raised worrying questions, so I decided to forget that approach and just live with the fact that e-mails would keep zapping into my phone.

Two Weeks On

It’s been a couple of weeks now, and guess what? No e-mails are entering my phone unless I deliberately call them in. So the question remains how, on that particular day, at that particular moment, 4231 e-mails bulldozed their way into my iPhone. What propelled them? BT Yahoo, is there something you’re not telling me?

Meanwhile, I read a lot of user forums while dealing with my e-mail mega-dump, and it’s clear that most iPhone users want a “delete all” function. Just like the Blackberry phones.

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