How to Fix ‘This Message Has not Been Downloaded from the Server’ Error on iOS

In this fast-paced world and with the invention of new communication methods, email is still one of the largest mediums. Many email clients, like iPhone Mail or Microsoft Outlook, start showing the following error for some of the emails messages:

This Message Has Not Been Downloaded from The Server

The issue is mainly reported on the Apple ecosystem (iPhone, iPad, or Mac, etc.) and in some cases, on Windows with Microsoft Outlook. For some users, the issue occurred after an OS update, whereas, others reported seeing the issue when emails were moved between the folders. The issue is not limited to a particular email provider (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.).

The Mail app might show the message download issue mainly due to the following reasons:

  • Outdated OS of Your Device: If your device’s OS is outdated, it may not be compatible with the email server, causing the issue at hand.
  • Remove Copy from the Server: If any of your email clients are configured to remove the email copy from the server and it fetches/removes the email from the account before any other client, then other clients may fail to download the message from the server.
  • Anti-Spam Filtering: If the anti-spam filtering application (like GFI MailEssentials) is editing the emails’ header, making the emails incompatible with the mail application, then the Mail app might show the error at hand.
  • Corrupt Mail App Installation: If the Mail application installation has become corrupt, it may fail to properly communicate with the server and thus fail to download some of the emails messages.

Relaunch the Mail App After Force Closing it

A temporary glitch between the iPhone’s Mail app and the email server may cause the message downloaded issue. Here, relaunching the Mail app after force closing it may solve the problem.

  1. Launch the iPhone’s Mail app and open an email that previously showed “This Message has not been downloaded from the server”.
  2. Now hold the iPhone’s Home button for around 7 to 10 seconds till the Mail app is closed and the iPhone’s Home screen is shown.
    Press and hold the Home Button to Force Close the Mail App
  3. Then launch the Mail app again and check if it is working fine.
  4. If not, then force close the Mail app again and turn off Wi-Fi in Settings.
  5. Now restart your phone and enable the Mobile Data.
  6. Then launch the Mail app and check if the issue is resolved.

Update the iOS of Your iPhone to the Latest Build

If the iOS of your iPhone is not updated to the latest build, it may have compatibility issues with the email server, resulting in the issue at hand. In such a case, updating the iOS of your phone to the latest build may solve the problem. Before updating, make sure to create a backup of your iPhone (if the update does not go well or has bugs).

  1. Put the iPhone on charging and connect it to a Wi-Fi network (if the update download size is a concern).
  2. Now launch the iPhone Settings and select General.
    Open General Settings of iPhone
  3. Then open Software Update and check if an iOS update is available.
    Update Software of iPhone
  4. If so, download and install the iOS update.
  5. Once the update is installed, restart your iPhone and upon restart, check if the emails are clear of the message not downloaded from the server issue.

Set the Mail Preview to 5 Lines

Many Mail apps only download the email headers and when the email is opened, the remaining message is downloaded. If due to a glitch, the mail app cannot properly download the header or the message, it may trigger the message download issue. Here, setting the Mail preview to 5 lines may force the Mail app to download the header and message at once, thus may solve the problem.

  1. Launch the iPhone Settings and open Mail.
    Open Mail in iPhone Settings
  2. Now, in the Message List section, tap on Preview and select 5 Lines.
    Set iPhone Mail Preview to 5 Lines
  3. Then restart your iPhone and upon restart, check if the mail message download problem is solved.
  4. If that did not work and you are arranging emails in custom-created folders, then check if removing a special character like a tide ~ (if present) from the folder name clears out the error at hand.

Enable Fetch in the Phone’s Settings

Emails are delivered to a user’s device through Push or Fetch methods. In the Push method, the server informs the client of the new emails whereas, in the Fetch method, the client application repeatedly requests the server for any new emails.

By default, iPhone uses the Push method but the email server, due to a glitch, may have issues in pushing the emails to the device, resulting in the issue at hand. In this scenario, setting the iPhone to use the fetch email method may solve the problem.

  1. Launch the iPhone Settings and open Passwords & Accounts.
    Open Passwords & Accounts in the iPhone Settings
  2. Now select Fetch New Data and toggle the switch of Push to the off position.
    Open Fetch New Data in Password & Accounts Settings of iPhone
  3. Then enable Fetch (if not auto-enabled) and set Fetch to Automatically. In some cases, you may have to tap on the problematic account and select Fetch.
    Disable Push and Set Fetch to Automatically for iPhone
  4. Now set all other accounts to Fetch that shows Push and restart the iPhone.
  5. Upon restart, check if the iPhone is clear of the message downloaded issue at hand.

Enable Download Complete in Send/Receive Group Settings

If your Mail client is configured to only download a part of the email message (e.g., without attachments), then it may fail to completely fetch the message. In this case, enabling the complete downloading of the email message in the Send/Receive Group settings may solve the problem.

  1. Launch the Outlook application and head to its File menu.
  2. Now steer to the Options tab and in the resulting window, open the Advanced tab.
    Open Outlook Options
  3. Then, in the Send/Receive section, click on the Send/Receive button and select All Accounts, or if the problematic account is shown, select it.
    Open Send/Receive Settings of Outlook
  4. Now click on the Edit button and in the left pane, select the problematic account.
    Edit Send Receive Settings of All Accounts in Outlook
  5. Then, under Receive Mail Items, checkmark the option of Download Complete Items Including Attachments for Subscribed Folders.
    Enable Download Complete Items in Outlook
  6. Now apply your changes and restart your system.
  7. Upon restart, check if the message download problem is solved.

Enable ‘Recent Mode’ of Gmail

If you have set up multiple email client applications like MS Outlook on a PC and Mail on iPhone, then each of these clients will check Gmail servers every 15 minutes, and the one who firstly checks an email before the other clients may hide the email from the other clients, resulting in the message downloaded issue under discussion.

In this scenario, enabling the Recent Mode of the Gmail may solve the problem as in this mode the Gmail server pushes the last 30 days’ mail to all the connected email clients, regardless of the email was previously downloaded by any of the clients.

  1. Open the Account Settings of Gmail in the email client e.g., Outlook, and in the Email tab, double-click on the Gmail address.
    Open Account Settings in Outlook
  2. Now, in the Account Name box, add “recent:” before your account name e.g., if your account name is testuser@gmail.com, it should look like recent:testuser@gmail.com.
    Double-click the Gmail Account in Account Settings of Outlook
  3. Then click on the Next button and when the Settings are updated, click on Done.
    Add Prefix of Recent: in the Account Name of Gmail
  4. Now restart your system and upon restart, check if the message not downloaded issue is resolved. Keep in mind some of the iPhone users, may have to enable Use Recent Mode in Settings>> Mail>> Gmail.
  5. If that did not work, then check if disabling IMAP on the Gmail website clears out the issue.

Enable ‘Keep the Copy on the Server’ Setting

Nearly every email client allows a user to remove the message copy from the server after retrieving the message. If you have more than one client configured to retrieve the email messages like iPhone and iMac, but if one of them is configured to delete messages from the server after retrieval, then that may cause the message download issue on the other device. In such a case, enabling the option of keeping the message copy on the server may solve the problem. For illustration, we will discuss disabling the mentioned setting on a Mac.

  1. Launch the Mail app and open its Preferences.
  2. Now head to the Accounts tab and select the problematic account.
  3. Then navigate to the Advanced tab and uncheck Remove Copy from Server After Retrieving the Message. Some devices may show the never delete from the server or leave a copy on the server option.
    Uncheck Remove Copy from Server After Retrieving a Message
  4. Now close the Mail Preferences window and restart your system.
  5. Repeat the same on all the other email clients on all your devices and afterward, check if the message download issue is resolved.

Keep in mind that after enabling this setting, if you delete a message from the Delete folder on your phone or computer, then that email message may be removed from the other device as well and if you tried to access that message on the other device, that may cause the message download issue.

Disable Anti-Spam Product of Your Device

Many email clients firstly download the email headers and afterward, download the message when required. If your anti-spam or security product is filtering the email headers that are not compatible with your email client, then the email client may show the message download issue. In this context, disabling the anti-spam or security product of your device may solve the problem. For illustration, we will discuss the process of disabling GFI MailEssentials.

Warning:

Proceed at your own risk as disabling the anti-spam or security product of your system/ device may expose the system to threats like viruses, trojans, etc.

  1. Launch the GFI MailEssentials Switchboard and head to its Troubleshooting tab.
  2. Now, in the Enable/Disable Email Processing, click on the Disable button and click Yes in the Service Restart Required dialogue message.
    Disable Email Processing in GFI MailEssentials
  3. Then launch the email client and check if its server message download issue is resolved.

Re-Add the Email Account to the Mail App

The Mail app may fail to download the message from the email servers due to a temporary communication glitch or corruption of the email account on the device. In this context, turning off/on email or re-adding the email account to the Mail app may solve the problem.

Turn Off and Turn on the Email Account

  1. Launch the iPhone Settings and open Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
    Open Mail, Contacts, Calendars in the iPhone Settings
  2. Now tap on the problematic account and toggle the Mail switch to the off position.
    Open Your Mail Account in the iPhone Mail Settings
  3. Wait till the emails of the account are no more shown in the Mail client.
    Turn Off Mail in the iPhone Mail Settings
  4. Then restart your iPhone and upon restart, turn on the email account.
  5. Wait till the email syncs and afterward, check if the message download issue is resolved.

Re-Add the Email Account

  1. Launch the iPhone Settings and open Mail (or Passwords and Accounts).
  2. Now tap on Accounts and select the problematic email account.
  3. Then tap on Delete Account and afterward, confirm to delete the account by tapping Delete from My iPhone.
    Delete Email Account in the iPhone Mail Settings
  4. Now restart your iPhone and upon restart, re-add the account (in case of Gmail, use the other type, not POP3) to the Mail app and check if it is working fine.
  5. If that did not work and your account is configured to use 2 Factor Authentication, then check if disabling 2FA solves the problem.
  6. If the issue persists, then check if switching between POP3 or IMAP account types for the email account clears out the issue.

Reinstall the Mail App

The Mail app may show the downloaded message issue if the Mail app’s installation or configuration is corrupt. Here, reinstalling the Mail app may solve the problem.

  1. Launch the iPhone menu and press/hold the Mail app till the pop-up menu appears.
  2. Now, in the pop-up menu shown, select Delete App and then confirm to delete the Mail app.
    Press Hold the iPhone Mail App and select Delete App
  3. Then restart your iPhone and upon restart, launch the Apple App Store.
    Confirm to Delete the iPhone’s Mail App
  4. Now search for Mail and then install the iPhone Mail app.
  5. Then launch the Mail app and configure it as per your requirements.
  6. Afterward, check if the Mail app can download the messages from the servers.

If none of the above did the trick and you are using an Exchange server, then check if enabling Active Sync in the server solves the problem. Also, make sure the Accepted Domain settings in the Exchange server are properly configured. Keep in mind if you are using a wildcard (*) in the accepted domain field, then it may cause the issue at hand, and removing it may clear the issue.

For a common user, if the issue is still there, then the user may have to use a 3rd party app (like Outlook on iPhone) or restore the device to the defaults.

Workarounds

If you do not want to use a 3rd-party app or restore the device, then check if using any of the following workarounds temporary solve the problem:

  1. Open the problematic email message and when the download error message is shown, open a new email message (either by tapping the up or down arrow). Then revert to the problematic email message to check if the message is successfully downloaded.
  2. Forward the email message and when asked to Download the reset of the message, click yes and check if the issue is resolved.
  3. Check if forwarding the POP3 mails to an IMAP account or vice versa solves the issue.
  4. Check if clearing the trash folder through the email provider website (like Yahoo Mail) solves the issue. Also, keep in mind that when deleting the email messages from the phone, make sure to delete one message at a time, otherwise, it may result in the issue under discussion.
Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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How to Fix ‘This Message Has not Been Downloaded from the Server’ Error on iOS

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