Big Google user and interested in getting a better Gmail experience on the iPhone? You can use IMAP or set up Gmail as Exchange via GoogleSync in the Mail app to cover the basics, but you won't get stars and labels. You can use Gmail.com to get stars and labels, but you won't get iPhone Contacts integration, attachment viewing, or easy access to multiple accounts. For that you have to get a little more... creative. We'll show you how after the break.
[Thanks to The Keith Newman for this tip!]
Putting Gmail.com in an app
Gmail.com is a great web app and, of course, really nails the Gmail experience. Since it's not a native app, however, it can't do everything a native app can. Enter Mailroom [iTunes link]. It wraps the iPhone-optimized version of Gmail in a native App Store app, creating a hybrid that's almost the best of both worlds. It does cost $2.99 but for hardcore Gmail users it's well worth the price.
While it does provide iPhone Contacts integration, attachment viewing, multiple account support, offline mode, labels, stars, threaded conversations, badging of total unread and new message counts, and everything else you'd expect, it doesn't -- yet -- support push notifications.
Getting Push Notifications
Google Mobile App
Google Mobile app [iTunes link] is free and does provide push notifications for your Gmail account (and Google Calendar), including the ability to turn off sound notifications during certain times (like when you're sleeping).
You can't make Mailroom your default mail client but you can see the badge on Google Mobile and then tap Mailroom instead.
Or you can use Boxcar [iTunes link] instead, also free and a push notification powerhouse, and set it to open Mailroom when you get a Gmail alert.
What would be better?
Sure, it's not the most straightforward or elegant solution, but until Apple provides more functionality in iOS Mail (like flags and mapping stars to flags!), or Google makes a native iOS Gmail app, it can be just the compromise you need to get more productive on your iPhone.
If you have any questions or any other Gmail tips to share, leave them in the comments!
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