iPhone: Disable syncing for mail account, but keep existing e-mails

by Janus Bahs Jacquet   Last Updated August 13, 2019 16:12 PM

I have a university e-mail account (Exchange, if that makes a difference) which for reasons that aren’t relevant to this question does not work at the moment. The underlying user account has been disabled on the university’s servers, and I cannot log in.

This means my iPhone is constantly asking for a password – it obviously can’t connect since the account is frozen – and telling me it cannot fetch e-mail for this account. That is exceedingly frustrating. (It’s also terrible UI/UX to repeatedly block the entire interface from the user every time the app is opened, but that’s a different matter.)

In order to get rid of this infuriating, incessant pestering for a password that I can’t give, I would like to temporarily disable syncing from this account, but only syncing. Old e-mails which have been fetched should still appear in the inbox and subfolders and be searchable; it just shouldn’t try to actually connect to the server to fetch or send new e-mail.

This question asks about more or less the same thing, except it’s for OS X Mail, which works quite differently from iOS Mail, and it is about a permanently defunct mail address, whereas this question is about an account which will hopefully be online again at some point in the not too distant future.

Googling this, I found hundreds of tutorials on how to set up and remove e-mail accounts (I know how to do both; neither is what I’m looking for), but nothing useful.

The closest I got was a site telling me to uncheck the “Mail” option in the account settings. While this does indeed stop Mail from trying to connect to the server, it also completely wipes the account from the Mail app, deleting every trace of the account’s inbox and folders, which rather defeats the purpose. (In another case of shockingly bad UX, it does this without any kind of warning, meaning I’ve now already irreversibly lost all e-mails in this account on one phone – thankfully the one I don’t use much.)

Is there no way to tell Mail to stop trying in vain to sync this account, but not change anything else?

Tags : iphone email

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