As opposed to "push" style ActiveSynch, MobileMe, or Yahoo! iPhone mail, traditional POP or IMAP accounts, like Gmail or ISP mail, needs to "fetch", or check the server on a certain schedule to see if there are new messages.

Reader Mike wrote in pointing us to a thread on the Apple Discussion Forums about "fetch" email being broken with iPhone 2.1. I only fetch mail from Gmail, and Gmail IMAP is a strange and buggy implementation which gives me considerable problems beyond the iPhone, so I can't say whether anything is really broken or not in 2.1.

Reader Steffen, however, after thinking the problem could just be undocumented IMAP IDLE behavior, decided to run some tests:

Finally, I had some time to look into this thorougly. I dumped IP traffic all night to see what iPhone does. My iPhone is set to retrieve data every hour. Here's when the iPhone actually connected to my IMAP server:

09:36 PM, 10:44 PM, 11:02 PM, 12:36 AM, 06:36 AM, 09:38 AM, 09:45 AM, 09:57 AM

Looks like everything but an hour to me... Oh yeah, forgot to mention... I've turned off everything except for GSM radio do be sure to get all traffic. The last three connections occurred when I started to play around with the iPhone this morning. So, the effect that lead me to the assumption of IMAP-IDLE on the iPhone seems to be something else. It appears that the iPhone will contact IMAP more often while using it and somehow random while idling... So, no IMAP at this time, but maybe interesting as well...

Definitely interesting! Thanks Steffen!

Any other readers out there got "fetch" problems? Wacky behavior? Please let us know!