Gmail on iOS - a better method than Exchange??

peanutismint

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Original poster
Apr 4, 2007
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I'm currently using the Microsoft Exchange method of getting Gmail on my iPhone/iPad, but I've always found it lacking slightly. I guess it's the way that iOS or the Exchange server sees the Gmail server (I don't really know anything about IMAP etc....) but more often than not I find that I'm unable to find messages that I know exist in my Gmail account.

I recently downloaded the Gmail app which is much better, but I still want to get mail from my work (POP3) account and ideally have unified inboxes too. Rather than having multiple mail apps and notifications out the wazoo whenever I get a new email, anybody know of a better solution to Gmail on iOS using the normal mail app/a different client??
 

TLewis

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Sep 19, 2007
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I'm currently using the Microsoft Exchange method of getting Gmail on my iPhone/iPad, but I've always found it lacking slightly. I guess it's the way that iOS or the Exchange server sees the Gmail server (I don't really know anything about IMAP etc....) but more often than not I find that I'm unable to find messages that I know exist in my Gmail account.
You want to keep on using the exchange interface for gmail, as it gives you push mail, contacts, and calendars.

However, you might want to use the gmail mobile web interface (safari). It works really well for reading, archiving, tagging, searching, and deleting. (Yes, "delete" means "delete" in the web interface.) It's what I use, and I think it's much better than both the mail app and google's gmail app, which appears to just be an awful wrapper around the web interface.
 

peanutismint

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Is Push mail not now available through this Gmail app too?

So basically, if I don't care about calendars, contacts etc (which I don't) then I may as well use the new Gmail app for Gmail and the normal Mail app for my work mail (although it sucks having to use two separate apps...)
 

thelookingglass

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thelatinist said:
Why not just forward your gmail to your iCloud account and use that instead of gmail? Works great for me.
Yep, that's what I do and it works fine. Gmail has a few extra features, but none I really use often. In fact I've moved everything over to iCloud. Just makes things a lot simpler.
 

peanutismint

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Yep, that's what I do and it works fine. Gmail has a few extra features, but none I really use often. In fact I've moved everything over to iCloud. Just makes things a lot simpler.
Hmm sounds interesting.... could you maybe offer a bit more info on that? i.e. how exactly it works compared to normal Gmail and how you achieve it??
 

thelookingglass

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Hmm sounds interesting.... could you maybe offer a bit more info on that? i.e. how exactly it works compared to normal Gmail and how you achieve it??
Pretty simple.

- Turn off iCloud on all of your iDevices.
- Go into Gmail settings on the web version of Gmail and forward your mail to your @me.com email address
- On your iDevices, delete your Gmail exchange account. When you're prompted to save or delete your existing contacts and calendars, save them.
- On your iDevices, log into your iCloud account. When you're prompted to merge your contacts and calendars, do so. All of your prior Gmail contacts and calendars will not be uploaded to iCloud.

You will now automatically receive all of your Gmail emails at your @me.com address and your replies will come from your @me.com address instead of your Gmail. Works pretty seamlessly.
 

peanutismint

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"...your replies will come from your @me.com address instead of your Gmail" isn't a seam...it's a hole!
Yeah I've gotta be honest, this Cloud business seems like a pretty extreme method of getting around the issue...

Can I ask, does anybody know what the in-built Gmail account template is actually good for in iOS? You know, when you go to add a new account and it gives you a list of providers to choose from, one of them is Gmail but it doesn't seem to get used... Is it possible to set it up with that template and have folders working correctly, even at the expense of push mail??
 

takeshi74

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Feb 9, 2011
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I'm currently using the Microsoft Exchange method of getting Gmail on my iPhone/iPad, but I've always found it lacking slightly. I guess it's the way that iOS or the Exchange server sees the Gmail server
There's no Exchange server involved. "The Microsoft Exchange method" is actually ActiveSync. Exchange is a mail server and it is not designed to work with other mail servers to push email.

Can I ask, does anybody know what the in-built Gmail account template is actually good for in iOS?
Gmail account sync without relying on ActiveSync. I'm not sure why you're not able to find the mail in your gmail account. Your gmail options are pretty much ActiveSync, IMAP or POP.

I'm not sure why others think that polling your gmail account from another account will fix the problem you're encountering. "Works great for me" is irrelevant unless the person was experiencing the same problem.

Are the messages that you can't find archived or old? You can try IMAP but I wouldn't expect POP (direct or polled from another account as suggested above) to resolve the matter.
 
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MaxBurn

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Can you nload watch for the emails because you simply haven't gone through and loaded them? It only loads so many at a time, I believe you can change that to.
 

BrianBaughn

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Feb 13, 2011
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Can I ask, does anybody know what the in-built Gmail account template is actually good for in iOS? You know, when you go to add a new account and it gives you a list of providers to choose from, one of them is Gmail but it doesn't seem to get used... Is it possible to set it up with that template and have folders working correctly, even at the expense of push mail??
The Gmail implementation of IMAP is a thing unto itself. The folders behave in a different way than other IMAP providers. I just deal with it, myself.
 

goosnarrggh

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May 16, 2006
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There's no Exchange server involved. "The Microsoft Exchange method" is actually ActiveSync. Exchange is a mail server and it is not designed to work with other mail servers to push email.
Microsoft uses the term Exchange ActiveSync to refer to the underlying protocol used for synchronizing a device's mail, calendars, and contacts with a central server implementing that particular underlying protocol. (Typically, but not always, the server involved is a software product called Microsoft Exchange Server.)

They do this to differentiate from the other technology that also goes by the name ActiveSync (this time, used on its own), which refers to the process of synchronizing documents, installed apps, etc, between a PocketPC device and a single, paired, desktop PC.

So, it is absolutely appropriate to the the word "Exchange", in combination with the word "ActiveSync", to refer to using this protocol to provide push email, calendar, and contact sync of your Gmail account. (To leave out the word "Exchange" in this context would mean that you're inadvertently referring to a separate protocol and product.)

I think it's appropriate to use the shorthand Exchange server (lower-case 's') to refer to any 3rd party implementation of a server that implements the Exchange ActiveSync protocol, and reserve the phrase Microsoft Exchange Server (upper-case 'S') to refer to Microsoft's own server software (that happens to implement this protocol).
 
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Lava Lamp Freak

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Jun 1, 2006
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Why not just forward your gmail to your iCloud account and use that instead of gmail? Works great for me.
Push notifications only work for new emails delivered to in your Inbox, not email read status.
http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1795

Until they change it so that read and delete status push updates the server, I refuse to switch my Gmail to it. It's very annoying when I read messages on my iPhone and they still show as unread on my iPad and iMac until I manually refresh.

Beyond that, I can't even trust iCloud Mail to be up. It's been down for the last two days, and they can't even tell me for sure when it will be back up. At this point, Gmail is much more stable.

anybody know of a better solution to Gmail on iOS using the normal mail app/a different client??
Sparrow will be available in a few weeks. Hopefully it'll be a good replacement for the default mail app. It's what I use on my iMac.

http://sprw.me/comingsoon/
 

peanutismint

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Original poster
Apr 4, 2007
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Cardiff, UK
Thanks for the replies, guys.

Are the messages that you can't find archived or old? You can try IMAP but I wouldn't expect POP (direct or polled from another account as suggested above) to resolve the matter.
It can be a combination - when I click on my Inbox, sometimes it will show me the newest few messages, other times it will be empty (even though I know for a fact there are messages there.

Can you nload watch for the emails because you simply haven't gone through and loaded them? It only loads so many at a time, I believe you can change that to.
If you're suggesting that maybe it's trying to load lots of messages, I don't think that's the case - I keep a very clean inbox, with only messages still requiring an action or a reply, otherwise I label/archive them, but still only certain messages will show up on my phone. Very annoying but then perhaps I have been spoiled with Google's superior mail search engine that will find exactly what you're looking for every time..... :)
 

sbddude

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Sep 27, 2010
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Enter Gmail account twice:

Once in Exchange mode - push notifications and contact/calendar sync
The other in IMAP mode - support for archive and folders
 

spidertaker23

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Aug 5, 2009
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Actually, google finally fixed the delete equals archive thing!:

BrittanyBee has posted an answer to the question "Google Sync, Gmail, and iPhone -- mail getting archived instead of moved to trash":

Hi all,

I just wanted to follow up on this thread. I am happy to announce that we have updated the Google Sync settings menu to give you the option to configure how the delete button on your iOS Mail application works with Gmail.

To change the delete button from archiving to delete, you can visit m.google.com/sync from the iOS browser (this will not work from the desktop) and chose the setting for “Delete email as trash”. Once enabled, the delete button on iOS Mail app will now move the message to Trash instead of archiving it.

For more details on how to customize Gmail using Google Sync, check out our help center article [1].

Best,
BrittanyBee


References:
[1] Updating Delete on iOS - Google Sync (Web) - http://support.google.com/mobile/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=138740#delete
 
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Krevnik

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Sep 8, 2003
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It can be a combination - when I click on my Inbox, sometimes it will show me the newest few messages, other times it will be empty (even though I know for a fact there are messages there.
I think I understand the issue now. EAS (Exchange ActiveSync) was designed for small amounts of bandwidth and use over older cell networks (2G). As such, it doesn't download every message by default. Instead it syncs the last N days of e-mail, which is configurable. The default is also fairly short: 3 days. You can also turn the limit off, but it tends to get messy with large collections of mail in your All Mail folder.

Adjusting the amount of e-mail is kept on the phone is under: Settings > E-Mail > (Your Account Name Here) > Mail Days to Sync.

EAS also supports server search (by folder), which Google added support for somewhat recently. If you want to search everything, it usually boils down to:

- Go to "All Mail"
- Search
- Click "Continue Search on Server"
 

TLewis

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Sep 19, 2007
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EAS also supports server search (by folder), which Google added support for somewhat recently. If you want to search everything, it usually boils down to:

- Go to "All Mail"
- Search
- Click "Continue Search on Server"
Maybe there's a problem with my gmail account, but I've never been able to get this to reliably work with google sync. As a result, I use exchange to get push notification, but actually read mail via the mobile web interface. Searching works really well, plus I can use advanced search operators.

Edit: yes, server-side searching is supposed to work for gmail, but it's never worked for me: http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2011/06/three-new-updates-to-google-sync-for.html
 

Krevnik

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Sep 8, 2003
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Maybe there's a problem with my gmail account, but I've never been able to get this to reliably work with google sync. As a result, I use exchange to get push notification, but actually read mail via the mobile web interface. Searching works really well, plus I can use advanced search operators.

Edit: yes, server-side searching is supposed to work for gmail, but it's never worked for me: http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2011/06/three-new-updates-to-google-sync-for.html
I am curious, what do you mean by it "doesn't work"? Example search strings would be helpful to learn from. I've not had too many problems (when it first launched it was rather glitchy and half the time just failed). It is fairly limited in what you can search for compared to the web interface, in that it only works in the current folder, and doesn't accept many modifiers that GMail does in the browser, but it's been pretty reliable the last few times I needed it.
 

peanutismint

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Original poster
Apr 4, 2007
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Cardiff, UK
I am curious, what do you mean by it "doesn't work"? Example search strings would be helpful to learn from. I've not had too many problems (when it first launched it was rather glitchy and half the time just failed). It is fairly limited in what you can search for compared to the web interface, in that it only works in the current folder, and doesn't accept many modifiers that GMail does in the browser, but it's been pretty reliable the last few times I needed it.
I'll give you an example. Say I wanted to find mail from a friend called Steve Smith. In Gmail's web interface, I'll type in 'Steve' and it'll bring up all the emails from all the Steves I know from every folder in my account including the trash, archived mail, my inbox etc... If I type 'Steve' into my iPhone interface, it will bring up nothing; the only way it would find him is if i typed 'Steve Smith' exactly as it appears in the 'From' field of his emails, whilst simultaneously asking it to search in the 'From' fields of emails, and even then it would only find the messages in the current folder I was in, and that would only be if it had actually found them on the server (regardless of whether or not it's actually THERE on the server). And so I echo again the sentiments of the post title:

Gmail on iOS - a better method than Exchange??
 

Arelunde

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Jul 6, 2011
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CA Central Coast
After struggling with Gmail/contacts/calendar conflicts with iOS, I finally brought everything into the iCloud mail/contacts/calendar. I got tired of having some things work in one interface and not the other. Since I use an iPhone and an iPad, it's been a far simpler way to go.

The turning point was when I had a total MESS in contacts with Gmail being thrown into iCloud and my Gmail calendar literally disappeared! By the time I straightened all that up, there wasn't any question that I needed to consolidate.
 

jlhandy

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Jan 23, 2012
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Los Angeles
I find the gmail app good. better then the defualt. I've never used exchange before so I can't compare. The only negative I have to the gmail app is that you have to re-enter your email info every two weeks which gets annoying when your trying to quickly check mail on the go