6 Replies Latest reply: Jan 23, 2008 9:42 AM by fotobymatt
fotobymatt Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
We just bought an iPhone for my mother yesterday, and spent the evening setting it up and teaching her how to use it. One of the things I did was setup her AOL email account so she could access it on the iPhone, but this has resulted in some serious problems. (I've searched around, but can't find any solutions, and AOL is not the least bit helpful.)

I used the default AOL icon when setting up the email, not knowing whether it was POP or IMAP, and it downloaded the 15 or so emails from her inbox. everything seemed ok, but today she got on her computer to check her mail and everything was gone. AOL had deleted all the mail from the server after it was downloaded by the iPhone. This included some mails she hadn't even read (on the computer) yet and many business-related emails.

She does not have AOL software on her computer. She can only access it via their web interface, and I cannot find any settings anywhere on their site to tell it NOT to delete emails after they've been downloaded by the phone. I see nothing in the iPhone's settings that instructs the server to delete the emails, so I'm at a loss for how to fix this problem.

I have turned off her email so it doesn't check every hour, but I cannot get the downloaded mails back to her computer where she needs them. I tried forwarding them to another address, but the iPhone does not foward the message. Only the header appears in the email after it has been forwarded. (Is this a problem with all forwarded email from the iPhone? If so, it is a broken feature.)

She is very upset, and I don't know what to do to fix it. (Believe me, I've tried for years to get her away from AOL, but she refuses to change her email address, etc.) Anyone familiar with using AOL on the iPhone? Are you experiencing the same problems? Any solutions?

Mac OS X (10.4.8)
  • fotobymatt Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    UPDATE: I have tested forwarding on my iPhone using my Gmail account and it forwarded the entire message. The forwarding problem must be specific to AOL.
  • Allan Sampson Level 10 Level 10 (123,370 points)
    The AOL preset on the iPhone creates the account as an IMAP account and AFAIK this is the only way to access an AOL account with an email client other than the AOL program. There is no setting with an IMAP account to remove messages from the server as with a POP account when accessing an account with an email client but AOL has a new and old messages category on the server which is not reflected when accessing the account with an email client. After an AOL message is read, it goes in an old mail category or mailbox that is not made available by AOL when accessing the account with an email client and these messages are purged by AOL after a period of time when accessing the account with an email client.

    I've forwarded messages with the iPhone with no problems but I don't have an AOL account. If you mark the received messages on the iPhone as Unread, they should reappear in your Mom's Inbox mailbox when accessing the account via webmail access using a browser. This is an AOL account quirk with the new and old messages category or new/unread vs read.
  • fotobymatt Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Hey Allan. Thanks for the input.

    The forwarding issue appears to be specific to the certain emails she needs most. I tried forwarding one of her other emails from a different business and it worked fine.

    I will try marking the emails unread on the iPhone and see if that works.
  • Jose M Level 4 Level 4 (1,010 points)
    If the emails were removed when going on the computer and showing on the iphone, then the account type is going to be POP.

    If her email account is set up in a mail Application (Outlook, Outlook Express) you need to look for a option that saves messages on the server. If you can provided the application used on the computer to check mail I can let you know how to save messages to the server.
  • fotobymatt Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Thanks again, Allan. I was able to help her move all her emails back to New Mail (what she calls her "inbox") and explain how it had happened. I disabled the account on her iPhone for now since she really doesn't need it there yet, and she was happy not to have lost anything.

    Thanks for explaining it. AOL certainly makes it complicated. lol
  • mfoto Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    I have an aol account and check my emails constantly through the iPhone. If you open the emails through the iPhone, aol will then put them on the Old Messages folder/tab. If you delete them through the iPhone they will also be deleted from the server. You can check your Recently Deleted Mail folder and see if they are there [they are kept for 24hrs before deleting them permanently]. Hope this helps.