Gmail on iPhone - likely to get any better?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by TheOriginalKi, May 18, 2011.

  1. TheOriginalKi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
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    Belfast
    #1
    Gmail/IMAP

    When using Gmail via 'Gmail'/IMAP on the iPhone it works great but lacks push as it only has manual or pull - manual is not an option and checking every 15 minutes really kills the battery.

    Exchange

    This is why I find myself using 'Exchange' which is less than perfect but the push works great. With Exchange, 'Deleting' mail archives it and in order to actually delete mail I fire up Safari, hit the Gmail bookmark and delete any that require deleting. It's the same thing when you want to mark a mail as spam. With Exchange a copy of each mail is downloaded to the All Mail folder and also to a folder that matches any label it has... so each mail will be downloaded to the phone 2+ times.

    I love my iPhone 4 but this is getting annoying fast (had the phone nearly 5 months) and is enough to make me think of changing to Android.

    I will probably hold off until I see what iOS 5 has in store. Does any one actually see things getting better? I know iOS 4 seen Gmail/IMAP improve greatly on the iPhone so I guess it's not out of the question. I know this is probably something that both Apple and Gmail would have to work together to fix.

    Kieran
     
  2. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    Location:
    Washington DC
    #2
    Stick with IMAP but get the app named 'Boxcar.'

    Set it up to send you a push notice whenever you get mail.

    When you see the alert, check your mail. It'll take 10 seconds to load rather than the 2 it takes with Exchange, but you get the advantages of push along with the advantages of IMAP. It's worked well for me.

    THAT SAID...I always did that setup because I didn't like G-Mail's Exchange performance. But I tried Exchange again 2 weeks ago and I've been much happier with it this time. I don't have whatever double-e-mail problem you're having so that doesn't matter to me.

    So I now use Push Exchange and Boxcar together...I still use Boxcar because it puts the e-mail subject on the push notice, which is nice. Also, I can silence the e-mail sound and have Boxcar play a sound instead so my e-mail sounds different than everyone else's iPhone here at work.

    But whichever way you go, having Boxcar makes g-mail much more useful.
     
  3. TheOriginalKi thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    I've tried the Boxcar app and it's not something I want to use, but thanks for the suggestion. You just don't notice the double email issue, but it does happen for every one using exchange - this is because of how gmail works compared to regular email (labels vs folders). The reason you don't notice it is because you probably only have your inbox set to Push and the rest of the folders (labels) set to manual refresh. The double email issue is not a deal breaker, but it does add the the problem.
     
  4. OlgaJ macrumors 6502

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    Mar 27, 2009
    Location:
    Florida
    #4
    To delete an email, without using Safari, you can just "move" it or "transfer" it to the trash folder.

    Just because you see an email in both the All Mail and its folder does not mean it is downloaded twice. It's merely flagged by Gmail for both folders, just as it is if you use the web for email.
     
  5. TheOriginalKi thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Moving it to the trash folder does not delete it, it archives it. Try it and then check on the Gmail site.

    The iPhone (exchange) sees Gmail's labels as folders, if Gmail tells it that there is an email called 'Hi there!' on the Inbox and also an email called 'Hi there!' in the All Mail folder, it downloads the mail twice as the iPhone (exchange) does not understand labels. To confirm this, in your mail settings, have your iPhone push both the 'Inbox' and 'All Mail' folders then send yourself a test mail. Before opening the mail, go to the folders view and you will see a new mail in both the Inbox and All Mail folders. When you read either copy the iPhone tells Gmail that that mail as been read and Gmail in return will tell the iPhone that both it's copies have been read. The user wont notice the issue, but it does download more than one copy.

    Any way, the double email issue is not a big deal, but it does add to the problems with the overall experience.
     
  6. djltoronto macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2009
    #6
    If you don't push both the inbox, and all mail, then you will not download the email twice.

    Why not only push the inbox?
     
  7. TheOriginalKi thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Belfast
    #7
    I know that already. I only push the inbox, however if I then want to open the all mail folder for whatever reason it will manually download the same mail that is in the inbox, into the all mail folder. As I said, it is not a big issue at the end of the day, I only mentioned it as it is one of the problems with the whole Gmail Exchange/iPhone experience.
     
  8. Zerozal macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2009
    Location:
    PA
    #8
    I use the Google app, which gives me push notifications for my gmail account, then I simply open the Mail app (which is configured with the standard gmail account option) to read the mail.

    This actually works better for me than having push through the Mail app, since I also have an Exchange account set up through work. This way when I look at my home screen, if I see an email pushed to Mail, I know it's work. If I see an email pushed to the Google app, I know it's personal, and I can still use the Mail app to access both accounts.
     
  9. OlgaJ macrumors 6502

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    Mar 27, 2009
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    #9
    Indeed you are correct.

    As to the double email issue, I did confuse it with the fact that it doesn't count twice for your Gmail storage. However, it is no different than when you use Gmail on the web. When you open your folder, or you look at All Mail, those emails are downloaded to your computer again, unless you have the offline application that you use.
     
  10. TheOriginalKi thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Belfast
    #10
    That's not a bad setup but it is a shame that the Google app only displays a badge and does not make a sound or vibrate for new mail. I can see how it works out well for you.
     
  11. TheXFactor macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    #11
    I use an app called "PushMail" for both my Hotmail and Gmail accounts. Fantastic app.
     
  12. Krevnik macrumors 68040

    Krevnik

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2003
    #12
    The source of problems like this is how Google handles mail, and how it doesn't map to any existing e-mail protocol out there. Messages appearing in multiple places is a problem with IMAP or Exchange, because GMail uses tags, while mail protocols use folders. No existing mail protocols treat a server like a big mail dump.

    When it comes to the delete vs archive behavior, that is all on Google. They intentionally made it that way (like they do for IMAP by default as well, just that Apple has a work-around in MobileMail). Because Exchange also works on folders, and only sends delete command by moving the mail to the Trash folder (there is no specific delete command)... Google's servers assume that a delete = archive so that you don't lose your mail.

    They've commented that they are considering doing up a lab feature to let you tweak the exchange behavior of 'delete' between archive and delete, but they have yet to do it in over a year.
     
  13. TheOriginalKi thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Yeah I read that on the Google forum. It would be nice if Apple were able to come up with a work-around like that done for IMAP.
     
  14. TheOriginalKi thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #15
  15. fterh macrumors member

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    Feb 14, 2011
    #16
    Pardon my noobness, but what is the diff between Gmail/IMAP and exchange? :confused:
     
  16. TheOriginalKi thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #17
    When adding a new account on the iPhone, select Gmail:

    Allows to to have either a delete or archive button (you can change this in the options). If you press delete; emails are deleted, press archive; emails are archived, move emails to all mail; they are archived, move emails to trash; they are deleted, move emails to spam; they are marked as spam. All seems good and follows the same sort of behaviour you would expect. However the only options to fetch mail are are by polling/pulling at 15, 30, 60 minute intervals or by checking manually. Not so great if you want/need instant email alerts and I also found that polling/pulling too often resulted in quicker battery drain for me.


    When adding a new account on the iPhone, select Exchange and enter the Google Sync settings:

    You only have a delete button. If you press delete; it archives, press archive; it archives, move emails to all mail; it archives, move emails to trash; it archives. Can you see the pattern? No matter what you do, it archives! You can not delete emails or mark them as spam. The plus point with exchange is that you get instant alerts pushed to your phone when you get new mail.

    I hope that helps.
     
  17. diamond.g macrumors 603

    diamond.g

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Virginia
    #18
    I thought GMail supported IMAP Idle? I used to get messages on my phone pretty much as soon as the hit my mailbox, yet for some reason it isn't as on time as it used to be...
     
  18. fterh macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    #19
    Thanks! Great explanation. Android user now, hoping to get the iPhone 5. Hope that Gmail will improve! Have gotten so used to Push email notifications now :D Plus the native Gmail app for Android is really fantastic, it supports priority inbox, labels, delete, archive, mark as spam, etc. Hope that a native Gmail app for iPhone is released soon.

    Anybody knows why that isn't the case? :(
     
  19. TheOriginalKi thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Apple don't like apps that duplicate iPhone features, such as email.

    I've actually considering going to Android for better Gmail.
     
  20. TheOriginalKi, May 19, 2011
    Last edited: May 19, 2011

    TheOriginalKi thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    Location:
    Belfast
    #21
    It appears that it keeps the idle session open when the mail app is open and the screen is not locked... so pretty much useless. If you don't set it to poll every 15, 30, 60 minutes the only way to know if you have new mail is by opening the app. (when using IMAP)

    http://blogs.oracle.com/chienr/entry/iphone_supports_imap_idle

    I tested this by sending myself an email from my work computer 10 minutes ago - it's sitting in my Gmail inbox on the web, but my phone has not shown a new mail.
     
  21. fterh macrumors member

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    Feb 14, 2011
    #22
    The thing is, a generic e-mail app is miles apart from a dedicated, native Gmail app. :(

    I hope I won't regret switching to an iPhone because of Apple's anti-competition regulations :(
     
  22. Krevnik macrumors 68040

    Krevnik

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2003
    #23
    Only Apple can't here. As I said, exchange only has one delete command: move to trash. Google is interpreting that as an archive.

    IMAP can move and has a specific delete command. Plus you can extend the IMAP commands more easily and break the IMAP spec. Either Apple noticed that the two ways of doing it in IMAP produced different results, or found a proprietary IMAP command Google created.
     
  23. TheOriginalKi thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 2, 2011
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    Belfast
    #24
    Oh I know, but still. I don't see one coming soon. Would Google even want to make one? Surely they'd want to keep some reason for people to go/stay with Android?
     
  24. El3ctronics macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    #25
    Even if Google wouldn't, you could be sure a 3rd party developer would. Look at Sparrow for Mac. It's awesome and made by a 3rd party developer.
     

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