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How to fix an iPhone or iPad that won't download emails

Lucy Hattersley | May 26, 2016
Sometimes Mail on an iPhone or iPad refuses to show or download an email, displaying only the first line of the message and saying 'This message has not been downloaded from the server'. Here's how to fix this problem and see the email in full

When I try to download emails on my iPhone I get an error message saying: "This message has not been downloaded from the server." What do I do? Why won't it download the email?

Many iOS users are reporting this error in Mail. They go to pick up an email and get "This message has not been downloaded from the server" instead. This is a common problem, and it typically means the Mail message has been interrupted while it's being downloaded from the mail server.

There can be a few reasons for this problem occurring. Sometimes it's because the download has been interrupted, and sometimes it's because your connection is erratic. You may have a problem with your Mail settings. Let's look at some possible causes and solutions to this problem.

How to fix an iPhone or iPad that 'won't download emails'

How to fix an iPhone or iPad that won't download emails: Check AirPlane Mode and Wi-Fi

The most common cause for non-responsive email is because you haven't got a connection. Mail keeps tabs on the messages itself, but downloads the messages each time you view them.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Check AirPlane Mode is set to Off.
  3. Set AirPlane Mode to On, then set it to Off again.

This will reset your mobile data connection, and hopefully you'll get a better signal. If not, you'll have to move to a location with a better signal or connect to Wi-Fi (you need internet to get email).

While you're in Settings, check your Wi-Fi and make sure you're connected to a network you know (or not connected at all and using mobile data). If you're connected to a random network, such as the ubiquitous "public network" (caused by a bug in nearby Windows laptops), that never works. If so, click on the network and tap Forget This Network so you go back to using Wi-Fi.

How to fix an iPhone or iPad that won't download emails: Quit Mail

Quit Mail app

If that doesn't work then it's time to try quitting Mail and restarting it. Follow these steps:

  1. Open Mail.
  2. Double-tap the Home button.
  3. Slide the Mail window up and off the top of the screen.
  4. Press the Home button.
  5. Tap the Mail icon to reopen it.

How to fix an iPhone or iPad that won't download emails: Reset and update

Still getting a "this message has not been downloaded" problem? Then it's time to start resetting and updating.

First try to reset your iPad or iPhone.

  1. Hold down the Home button until you see the "slide to power off" message.
  2. Slide the power icon to the right to power down your iOS device.
  3. Wait till it has fully switched off, then press the Sleep/Wake button to power it back on.


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