Poll: How's Google Sync Gmail Working on Your iPhone?

Roughly 3 weeks ago Google (finally!) added Gmail to their Google Sync service, allowing iPhone users to add push email to the previously available contacts and calendars. It wasn't a solution for everyone, since it used Microsoft's ActiveSync, which allows for only one account per device, and many users already had a business Exchange server in that slot. For those without Exchange, however, it's awesome, right?

Or is it? We've had many readers tell us it works great, and others who've had some problems -- enough that we want to ask, how's Google Sync working on your iPhone?

Let us know in the poll above, and elaborate as needed in the comments!

(And we'll insert yet another plea to Apple and Google to give us Gmail via IMAP IDLE in the Mail app already!)

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Poll: How's Google Sync Gmail Working on Your iPhone?


Who thinks up these questions?
Was flakey for the first today's and it strugled to sync old emails but it's been perfect since

Doesn't work for me. It worked for a few days, and then it just completely stopped. I'd get new mail (checking gmail through iPhone safari, or a desktop comp) but it would never be sent to the mail app.
I tried removing the account via Settings->Mail, Contacts Calendars; and then re-adding it. Did not work.
When the sync did work, it was great--I received emails instantly. But the battery life went down to 90-120 minutes, which, to me, is unacceptable.
I am back to using IMAP, fetching every 15 minutes. It works, and the battery is happy.

It doesn't sync right for me at all. It continuously shows old messages that are no longer in my inbox, and inconsistently shows new messages. I had to revert back to my previous connection method. I'm only using sync with calendars now.

After a while push started working, but I was not able to "continue search on server" like I could on IMAP, so I deleted it and went back to IMAP. I use Prowl to get push notifications from Gmail anyway.

The battery drain is unacceptable but otherwise works fine if not a bit less responsive compared to IMAP. I switched back to IMAP with on demand fetching.

works great for me. i must not be as heavy a user as a lot of people because i didn't really notice a degradation of battery life.

Didn't work well for me so I went back to Fetching. It's a moot point for me, though, as I will shortly be able to push corporate email from our Lotus Domino server; the just released version 8.5.1 has a Lotus Traveler addon that provides push (ActiveSync) support for iPhones. Given that, I would have been going back to straight IMAP checking anyway.

For a while there were no messages in my sent folder. Then mysteriously started working. Still can't continue search on server. And it hangs when sending mail with a large attachment. Tried to forward a 7mb PDF with full battery and 45 min later phone was dead and message had not sent. There was no way to get the phone to quit sending it.

Mine doesn't work now since the last fee days. Won't push at all and now is taking s long time sending emails.

Works great for me, in fact it's more consistent than my Yahoo Mail account which has IMAP Push. The downside is that I used draft e-mails on my iPhone as a handy way to sync-up notes with Gmail, but GoogleSync it doesn't handle drafts properly.

Worked for a few days but really drained my battery life. Then I couldnt access any emails that I filed into different gmail folders outside of the inbox???

Deleting an email actually archives it, which is stupid. I won't use it for that reason. I stick with the web interface on my iPhone.

It WAS working great for me until Sunday just past which coincidentally is the day I jailbroke my phone. Not sure if its connected or not but the last few days it has worked about 80% of the time, the rest of the time it fails to connect to server.

I'm curious, all of you who report battery drain, Do you normally leave your phone on 3g or on edge when not actively using the internet connection, as in having it just set up for push?

Been flakey. Sometimes it doesn't mark a random message as read and I'll get a reminder on my pc that I have a new mail. When I look, it's a mail I read like 2 days ago that is marked unread.

Push Gmail via exchange works great most of the time. This past weekend there was a problem though and it didn't seem to work at all. Monday night I was restoring my iPhone as new and when I went to set it up it was not working at all with setup. I tried again the next morning and it seemed fine again. Working right now.

It didn't work for me!! I'm an Arabic user and Gmail's push emails are screwed!! Because all my emails are written with strange encoding , not with Arabic letters.
So I went back to the normal way and it works... Maybe there Is some option to chosse the language of the recived emails so they doesn't get screwed??! Who knows ?!

Yeah, I agree with a few others. Y'all need a "Don't use it, happy with Fetch" option on that poll.
If I know an important email is coming, I'm perfectly happy, and capable, of pushing the refresh button every once in a while to initiate a fetch. Otherwise, a 30 minute interval is just fine for me.

"Deleting an email actually archives it, which is stupid."
Oh. That explains why email I delete from the phone still gets pulled down when I POP it on my laptop later. That's extraordinarily lame. I love the push notifications, but I'll be dropping Sync because delete isn't delete.

Works perfectly for me.
If push on Gmail affects your battery life it means it can't reliably connect and the radios keep trying. If it knocks your battery down to 90 minutes like CJ Millisock, then there is something else going on. I've surfed the net and streamed pandora for 90 minutes with no problem. Its not possible to drain a iphone battery in 90 minutes without it getting hot.
Possibly or your gmail account is not configured for imap in the Gmail control panel.
Thunderbird supports idled. (Server setting, Advanced).
Therefore it can be used to test push notifications from a Gmail account.
Set up Thunderbird on the same account, put thunderbird's mail check interval on 30 minutes or longer, and click in your Gmail inbox.
Then from some other machine or the iphone, send mail to that account. Notification should be almost instantaneous in thunderbird. This will indicate if your Gmail account is set up correctly.
Note that this means NOT USING the GMAIL option when setting up the account on the iphone. (That sets it up for pop). Set it up like any other account. see: https://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=77702
Now kill thunderbird, and triple check your phone settings, (and maybe delete and re-add the account. Make sure Settings, Mail/contacts, Fetch-new-Data, Advanced has that account set for Push.
Some of my tests suggest that Google only supports ONE idled connection per gmail account. So if you find behavior is flakey, make sure you don't have a desktop mail client with idled turned on running somewhere.

@The One True b!X

"That’s extraordinarily lame."

Whats lame is using pop with Gmail. POP is NEVER a suitable solution when reading the same mail box from multiple stations.
Use Imap EVERYWHERE with Gmail.

It worked fine at first, then I restored my phone (thinking it would help with the "coma" issue...) and it has been flaky ever since.

I propose one more option for the poll. "Don't care. 15 minute fetch is suffient immediacy for me." I never really cared that gmail wasn't pushed but I do use gmail many many times per day.

"Whats lame is using pop with Gmail. POP is NEVER a suitable solution when reading the same mail box from multiple stations."
It is when I don't want my email actually stored on Gmail. I only use Gmail as it is so that on the rare occasions when I don't have access to my laptop or phone, I can still check new mail.

I moved my personal domain email over to Google Apps to try this out. Currently using a Hosted Exchange service that has worked flawlessly with my iPhone. It seemed to work initially, however, it wouldn't sync over >all< of my mail even though I configured ActiveSync to do so. Tried deleting and re-adding the account info a few times, no luck. Gave up and pointed things away from Google Apps, now working flawlessly again with Hosted Exchange :)

Doesn't seem to sync properly for me compared to pre-exchange gmail. Voted accordingly.

I also disagree with the illogical "delete" behavior of Google Sync. It stupidly archives e-mails instead of actually deleting them. How does that even make sense? Have switched back to IMAP and am satisfied until this is corrected.

I think the poll choices are not complete, I chose "Okay. Seems to work most of the time." but while the google sync works, it drains the battery a lot. It is simply unusable for me.
Instead I went back to my old solution, using a push notification service for gmail such as GPUSH ($1.99) or PUSHGMAIL (also $1.99). Both work great notifying, then I open the mail app to see mails, there I fetch manually, to preserve the battery life.

Works fine for me, except that it moved my Gmail account to the bottom of the list in Mail (I have two Yahoo accounts and an IMAP mail account from my ISP) when I want it at the top. Anyone know how to fix this?

i like it, but on my home screen it always says I have twice the number of unread messages than whats actually unread in my inbox. home screen shows 8 unread - inbox has 4 unread. this happened only after i activated push, never used to with fetch. not too annoying, just buggy.

Tried it for a day, then gave up. What's the point when it only shows like 30 emails and doesn't support searching on the server?

I must be the only one who not only hasn't had any issues with Google sync, but my battery life got better after imade the switch.

Does anyone have the same problem as I have. When using spotlight on the iPhone, I get 2 entries for each contact ("All from My Mac and Gmail contacts)?! So when editing a contact I have to edit both or else it does get updated in Gmail.
When setting it up in the beginning I choose to delete the contacts already on my iPhone. It's getting really frustrating. Thinking of returning to normal Gmail again.
Help anyone...

I tried to set it up and it failed. I'll have to give it another shot before I definitively give this one the thumbs up or the thumbs down.
Truth be told, I don't know if I ever want push email. I already have a terrible habit of checking my email far too often. I suspect that push email would only make my habit that much worse!

I love it, but the delete/archive thing is freaking annoying. Not even sending emails tot he Trash folder deletes them, it's archived all the same. I don't even bother deleting emails from my iPhone anymore, I just mark them as read and deal with them when I get back to an actual PC.

It is flaky, definitely. One day it would work fine, then the next it would be slow and my battery would die in 8 hrs b/c it would constantly keep trying to connect to no avail. Also, you CAN'T delete emails from PUSH. It simply will not let you...trash just archives them, even manually moving it to folder/trash archives it. So frustrating. I've gone back to fetching. Push is great, don't get me wrong. But the connection/battery/delete problems aren't worth the hassles for me. I'll go back to PUSH when (IF) they get it resolved.

Google Sync works perfectly for me, but I think it is killing my battery.
I migrated my personal domain from hosted exchange to Google Apps for Domains and am very happy. Desktop, laptop and iPhone all 100% in sync. Saved $120 a year.
The delete "problem" is a "feature". It is working as designed. You may not like the design (takes some getting used to) but Google believe that email should never be deleted. With no separate "delete" and "archive" option in iPhone, Google chose to make the "delete" icon archive the mail.
There is an article on the Google site which explains the effect of different actions on the iPhone when using Google Sync. I can't seem to copy the link on my iPhone, but it is article 161771.
Hope some of that helps someone.

Small update. My battery life problem has gone away. I turned notifications off and all is fine. I haven't tried turning them on again yet to prove the theory though.

My address is via Google Apps. When using it via Exchange, twice the phone has gone into a serious battery discharge. This has not happened when using the same Apps address set up simply as an email IMAP account. I'm leaving Google Exchange alone for a while until it is stable.