To fix the “message not downloaded” error, first try removing the Mail app and then restart your device. If that doesn’t work, removing the mail account and adding it again should force your iPhone to re-download all messages.
Have you received an email that does not appear on your iPhone? You’re not alone. Here’s what you can do to try to address the annoying “Message not downloaded from server” error that appears when an email download is interrupted.
First, try restarting the mail
There is a common theme among these fixes and that is restarting things. Since Mail doesn’t have a means to try to redownload a message, you should try restarting the app instead.
To do this on a modern iPhone (with a Face ID sensor and no Home button), swipe up and hold to reveal the app launcher. You can also swipe up and swipe to make a sort of semicircle with your thumb. Find the Mail app in the app list, then swipe it up to close it (as if you were pulling it).
Now try opening the mail app and navigate to the message that gave you the problem in the first place.
Try restarting your iPhone
If that doesn’t work, you need to take the next step. Hopefully restarting your iPhone will bring the Mail app back to life when your phone boots up and re-downloads incomplete messages.
The easiest way to restart your iPhone is to ask Siri to do it. Tap and hold the side button, then say “reboot my iPhone” and confirm. Wait for the iPhone to restart, then launch the Mail app and try again.
Do you have an old device with a home button or don’t use Siri? Learn how to reset any iPhone model.
Delete and add the account again
If you’re still getting the “Message not downloaded from server” error, it’s time to take drastic action. Head to Settings > Mail and tap the “Accounts” button, followed by the account that’s giving you trouble. Make sure you have the correct account, then remove it from your iPhone using the “Remove Account” button at the bottom.
Please note that this will remove the account from your iPhone entirely. Any drafts saved on your device that have not been sent to the server will also be deleted. As long as there are messages on the server, you shouldn’t lose any emails in your inbox.
Now go back to Settings > Mail and tap on Accounts again. Tap the “Add Account” button and follow the instructions to add a new account to your iPhone. Once the account has been added, make sure “Mail” is enabled. Your iPhone will now attempt to download your mail messages, which may take a while.
Using your email provider’s dedicated app is another option you may want to try. Although apps like Gmail and Outlook lack the privacy protections you’ll find in Apple Mail, they work seamlessly with their respective services.
Most webmail services also work in a web browser. This includes Gmail, Outlook, and even iCloud Mail (because Apple’s own service isn’t immune to the problem, either).
Apple Mail is still a worthy customer
Although this problem is annoying, we’ve only noticed it occasionally and it usually requires a reboot at most to get things working. If you can use a web browser or a dedicated app temporarily, when you return to Apple Mail, things will work again.
There are some good reasons to keep using Mail, like the tracking pixel blocking feature, the ability to schedule mail starting in iOS 16, and native integration with Apple’s Hide My Email service for iCloud+ subscribers.