JavaMail API - Deleting Emails

In this chapter we will see how to delete an email using JavaMail API. Deleting messages involves working with the Flags associated with the messages. There are different flags for different states, some system-defined and some user-defined. The predefined flags are defined in the inner class Flags.Flag and are listed below:

  • Flags.Flag.ANSWERED

  • Flags.Flag.DELETED

  • Flags.Flag.DRAFT

  • Flags.Flag.FLAGGED

  • Flags.Flag.RECENT

  • Flags.Flag.SEEN

  • Flags.Flag.USER

POP protocol supports only deleting of the messages.

Basic steps followed in the delete program are:

  • Get the Session object with POP and SMPT server details in the properties. We would need POP details to retrieve messages and SMPT details to send messages.

  • Create POP3 store object and connect to the store.

  • Create Folder object and open the appropriate folder in your mailbox in READ_WRITE mode.

  • Retrieves messages from inbox folder.

  • Iterate through the messages and type "Y" or "y" if you want to delete the message by invoking the method setFlag(Flags.Flag.DELETED, true) on the Message object.

  • The messages marked DELETED are not actually deleted, until we call the expunge() method on the Folder object, or close the folder with expunge set to true.

  • Close the store object.

Create Java Class

Create a java class file ForwardEmail, the contents of which are as follows:

package com.tutorialspoint;

import java.util.Properties;

import javax.mail.Flags;
import javax.mail.Folder;
import javax.mail.Message;
import javax.mail.MessagingException;
import javax.mail.NoSuchProviderException;
import javax.mail.Session;
import javax.mail.Store;

public class DeleteEmail {

   public static void delete(String pop3Host, String storeType, String user,
      String password) 
         // get the session object
         Properties properties = new Properties();
         properties.put("", "pop3");
         properties.put("", pop3Host);
         properties.put("mail.pop3s.port", "995");
         properties.put("mail.pop3.starttls.enable", "true");
         Session emailSession = Session.getDefaultInstance(properties);
         // emailSession.setDebug(true);

         // create the POP3 store object and connect with the pop server
         Store store = emailSession.getStore("pop3s");

         store.connect(pop3Host, user, password);

         // create the folder object and open it
         Folder emailFolder = store.getFolder("INBOX");;

         BufferedReader reader = new BufferedReader(new InputStreamReader(
         // retrieve the messages from the folder in an array and print it
         Message[] messages = emailFolder.getMessages();
         System.out.println("messages.length---" + messages.length);
         for (int i = 0; i < messages.length; i++) {
            Message message = messages[i];
            System.out.println("Email Number " + (i + 1));
            System.out.println("Subject: " + message.getSubject());
            System.out.println("From: " + message.getFrom()[0]);

            String subject = message.getSubject();
            System.out.print("Do you want to delete this message [y/n] ? ");
            String ans = reader.readLine();
            if ("Y".equals(ans) || "y".equals(ans)) {
	       // set the DELETE flag to true
	       message.setFlag(Flags.Flag.DELETED, true);
	       System.out.println("Marked DELETE for message: " + subject);
            } else if ("n".equals(ans)) {
         // expunges the folder to remove messages which are marked deleted

      } catch (NoSuchProviderException e) {
      } catch (MessagingException e) {
      } catch (IOException io) {

   public static void main(String[] args) {

      String host = "";// change accordingly
      String mailStoreType = "pop3";
      String username = "";// change accordingly
      String password = "*****";// change accordingly

      delete(host, mailStoreType, username, password);


You can set the debug on by uncommenting the statement emailSession.setDebug(true);

Compile and Run

Now that our class is ready, let us compile the above class. I've saved the class to directory : /home/manisha/JavaMailAPIExercise. We would need the jars javax.mail.jar and activation.jar in the classpath. Execute the command below to compile the class (both the jars are placed in /home/manisha/ directory) from command prompt:

javac -cp /home/manisha/activation.jar:/home/manisha/javax.mail.jar:

Now that the class is compiled, execute the following command to run:

java -cp /home/manisha/activation.jar:/home/manisha/javax.mail.jar: DeleteEmail

Verify Output

You should see the following message on the command console:

Email Number 1
Subject: Testing
From: ABC <>
Do you want to delete this message [y/n] ? y
Marked DELETE for message: Testing