How Do You Use Gmail on Your iPhone?

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Gmail may only be the 3rd most popular email service on the planet (behind Yahoo! and Hotmail) but it ranks first in the hearts of geeks everywhere and can be used in a variety of ways on the iPhone:

  • IMAP (or POP if you're really old school) right from the iPhone Mail app. With its prominent place, and huge button, on the Account Setup page, it's a default for many users. While it (still!) doesn't support IMAP-IDLE push, plain old IMAP will keep all your accounts in sync, even if Google's implementation is eccentric to say the least. (Labels mapping to multiple folders, simultaneous connection limitations, etc.)
  • GoogleSync right from the iPhone Mail app. It licenses ActiveSync from Microsoft and fills up your lone Exchange slot on the iPhone but it does provide push if that's what you need (even if it's been a tad error prone).
  • Gmail Web App from Mobile Safari. It supports all the Gmail goodness like labels and stars and thanks to HTML5 it even has local storage and an almost native app-like feeling to it, even if it's not a snappy as the real thing.
  • As a spam-filter for another email account. May sound strange, but some people merely forward their Gmail to a different IMAP or webmail account, using Google's excellent spam filtration but wanting a different service or front end for the actual mail.

Of course, some not doubt wish there was better built-in support for the unique Gmail attributes within iPhone mail, or a separate Gmail app like on Android, but given Apple's App Store policies we don't see that coming any time soon. So, given the choices above, how are you using Gmail on your iPhone? And if you have any pro-level or ninja tips for iPhone Gmail, let us know!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

How Do You Use Gmail on Your iPhone?

50 Comments

I use it via manual pull or hourly pull as it is a personal account for me. I have a business Exchange account that fills the Exchange slot!

Google Sync. It has always worked flawless for me, push included. It might have something to do with the fact that it's not strictly gmail, as i'm using it with my own domain.

I use IMAP with the GPush app for push badges. I like getting a vibrate/tone for my Exchange (work) email and just checking the badge on GPush for my Gmail account.

I use about five gmail accounts daily, plus a work email, and have jumped through every hoop trying to find the ultimate gmail/iphone setup. Also twisted myself into insane knots trying to figure out how best to sync MobileMe, gmail and crappy Oracle work calendars. Here's the Zen Master's Oracle Calendar to Google Calendar + iCal + iPhone sync solution: http://bit.ly/KXYz

Google sync and the built-in mail app for most uses, though I often use the webapp for search or bulk operations that range from cumbersome to just plain impossible in the built-in mail app.

I do have the gmail account set up on my iPhone, but its inactive. kept for, emergencies. So mainly, its the last one, my gmail account has various filters to send the email from my friends to my me.com account, keeping all the newsletters, special offers, and all the people whose emails just aren't urgent.
If i do haveta check my gmail on the move, i do it via Safari.

IMAP making it check for new mail etc every 15 minutes. My 3GS battery is fine with that; lasts all day with heavy use of apps etc on top of the mail checks.

Best junk mail filter around. All my Google Mail is forwarded to my Mobile Me account minus the hundreds of junk mail I get daily. Google's IMAP set up is just plain weird, so I don't use it. Mobile Me works flawlessly with Entourage so that's what I use.

Use the mail app that came with the iPhone. It's the easiest way to keep track of all my e-mail by putting it in one place.

I use GoogleSync since I have no contacts stored on my iPhone. I just use the Exchange slot to set up Gmail, then bam. Mail, contacts, and calendar within seconds. Plus, it makes it easier for me to transfer contacts when I buy my new iPhone this year.

I use the Gmail web app in mobile safari with Boxcar for push notifications... works like a champ!

I had a blackberry before I got my iPhone. I used google sync with my old berry. So when I bought my new iPhone all I had to do is set up google sync and bam. I got my calendar and contacts. I loved it.
I just have one questions for you guys. After syncing your contacts to your iPhone, is there a way I can actually save them to the phone or sim card?

IMAP all the way, works well for me! Checks email every few mins. use with Mail app on iPhone.
I use iTunes to sync with my gmail contacts so they are up to date.

Gmail = webapp. (Fast enough, and I hate using non-threaded emails. Ugh.)
Work email = regular Mail app (Exchange)
Work calendar--> Google sync--> able to view/edit in Google Calendar webapp, along with my other 5 or 6 Google Calendars

Currently via the Mail app, though I'm about to junk Gmail and reintegrate everything back into MobileMe. I actually get more junk mail on Gmail than on MobileMe! Plus the Buzz roll out made me a bit nervous about Google's commiment to privacy.

Through Safari and I love it, can't beat the threaded conversations. I forward all other accounts to this single gmail account. I've simplified my email workflow so I don't need Push. I bet the majority of us don't need to read or respond to email as soon as they are received. Most emails are not as urgent as we think.

I use an "app" called Gmail Push. It's a small app that supports push notifications which indicates when a new Gmail is available and will open Gmail in a browser window.
I prefer to use Gmail via the website as it gives me access to labels, stars, threads and other Google goodies.
But I also sync with Google Sync in case I need to do something special with an attachment, picture or HTML message. Plus, the native calendar and address book are better than the mobile web versions.

this application works great for me, not a problem with it. changing from my blackberry to iphone was great idea

I use the brilliant NuevaSync service with Gmail. I started using this with Fastmail. I always kept my contacts and calendar in Gmail, once my fastmail account expired I just moved everything over to gmail instead. Nuevasync lets me sync up to 50 calendars at the same time and it always works. I hope that Iphone 4.x brings task syncing in as Nuevasync can pull in from Toodeldo.

I use IMAP. I had serious problems with Gmail sync. Also with this last configuration I couldn't use Serch on Server feature.
If anyone know these services were inproved, let us know.

I forward my gmail to my hosted Exchange account which I have had for years even before gmail supported push. I have thought about dumping Exchange but it integrates so well with both my desktop (Outlook) and phones (yes, even the iPhone), that I figured I would keep it.

I use Google mail and several Google calendars. Google sync is a must for keeping my precious contacts and calendar items backed up. I love Google docs too and have started using that as a way to access and edit docs while on the go. I have used the sync with 2 Blackberries and now my iPhone and have had consistently excellent experiences.

Dumped Gmail over the weekend. I was an early adopted, but don't agree with Google's recent statements regarding privacy and customer data.

I never used to get spam thru my gmail account. Now everyday, I get a few msgs in my spam folder. It still filters it correctly, but I never ever used to even get msgs in my spam folder.
Anyone else notice an increase?

I use a customized gmail address in the plain ol' Mail app. The SMTP data is my normal email address (example@gmail.com) so people think I'm sending from my regular address, but the incoming is example2@gmail.com, which is only certain email filtered into it (since I don't want email popping up on my phone every 2 minutes. Because of this setup, I can't use Google Sync -- I already use that for the calendars and contacts. So I use PushMail (an app) to give me a popup when I have new mail.

Web app to access Gmail and Gpush for the push notifications. I've had very few problems. Couldn't be happier.

I'm actually using email as storage drive on my phone. I use GMail to store files and docs via the SMEStorage service and to me it just appears as a storage drive. I then use the iSMEStorage client to access these files on the move, or to sync any memos etc I have taken. Cheap (free, apart from the 99c I paid for the iPhone App!) and works fine, and best of all I own the content i.e. even though the service is free I don't feel locked in which is important to me. There are so many wonderful free services available right now that with a little ingenuity you can have a fairly sophisticated setup for nothing !

Tried GoogleSync first, but at least back then it would put any message I deleted on the iphone into archive instead of trash. So now I use the IMAP. I use sync for my calendar. (If Googlesync doesn't do that thing with the deleted emails anymore, let me know).

GoogleSync thru the iPhone mail app for me. It works pretty well. A couple things bug me though.

  1. Since I switched from fetch to push, stuff dissapears from my inbox, and when I dig through my various folders I can only find emails that are a few days old. Is there a way to set it so that everything shows up? (like it used to before I activated googlesync)
  2. If you have groups set up in your gmail contacts, you can't send emails to them thru the native iphone mail app or the gmail webapp. Gotta manually pick each group member, or log in to my laptop. Kinda annoying.

iGmail. Great push service for the web Gmail interface and can send offline (haven't tried this!). Not perfect, but pretty fast and works with Google Apps.

I just made Gmail id just to make utube id. Utube was not allowin me to make utube id due to verification required from mobile but with even with google id we can be utube member.

Using igmail app for iphone (badge on and expert mode) is there a way to forward a message ? I.e. to include original attachments?

Ok so I am thinking about removing my site from Tumbler and get it to a WordPress site. I think this is a wordpress site right? If it is, may I ask where you got the theme? Thanks a bunch!