When is the iPhone going to support generic IMAP push mail?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by squish, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. squish macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2009
    I just bought my first iPhone. I can't believe it doesn't do this. IMAP IDLE? I'm astonished. All that talk of the new OS and how it can do background activities and push this and push that and it can't even do push email via the industry standard mail protocols??
  2. Merlosso macrumors 6502


    Apr 20, 2008
    This has been a complaint from many of us for a long time. Unfortunately, 15 minute Fetch is the best we have for now.

    If you use Gmail, check out www.nuevasync.com. They do push Google Calendar and are close to implementing push Gmail. I've used them for a year and they are great. Plus, the service is free.
  3. JD914 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 24, 2007
    Dutchess County NY
    Which is not good enough for the majority of people. With the release of 3.0 the iPhone played catch up with their competitors by implementing the most basic of features that should have been included with the 1st gen phone. Push email would have been a big plus but were on the 3 generation phone and NADA. My biggest gripe/disappointment is the lack of multitasking. I want to listen to Pandora surf the web, text or write and email while I have streaming music playing. It's still a great phone but Apple has some more catching up to do.
  4. pintnight macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2008
    IMAP IDLE is not push!! It never is and will never be push. What IDLE does is the client application "listen" on a folder (it can be your Inbox or different folder, depend on how the client application was written). What I mean by "listen" is that when the mail application select a folder, the client will send a IDLE command to server and then server will respond back with "idling". From there whatever happen to that folder, the server will send a list that only say that there are "RECENT X", "EXISTS X", "EXPUNGE X" where X is the number of messages that has changed (there could be other IMAP commands that comes from the server). It's up to the client to update the folder on what the server told the client. So, if you got a new message, the recent would be "RECENT 2" (the 2 would be that there are 2 new messages in the folder) and the client will then figure out the two new messages and download them.

    That just gives the impression that the server pushed the messages, but it didn't, the client downloaded the messages. This requires the client to always be connected to the IMAP server and that is against the rules set by Apple.
  5. jsamuelson macrumors member


    Sep 12, 2008
    IMAP IDLE is part of the IMAP standard - since when does Apple "set" these rules? And the data usage by a live IDLE connection is negligible. Similar to the heartbeat connection for Exchange push mail. Extremely low overhead. Measured in bytes, maximum kilobytes. On most data plans, even skimpy ones, this is totally acceptable.

    An IDLE command is sent usually about every 30 minutes to the server, but the IMAP server doesn't wait 30 minutes to deliver a message. It is delivered as soon as it arrives. Therefore it is event-based notification that is pushed to the device and is more truly "push" email than most.

    By the way, Mail.app on the desktop has used IDLE where the IMAP server supports it for quite some time.

    IDLE support would be most welcome and I am also surprised it wasn't incorporated in 3.0.


  6. pintnight macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2008
    You have no idea how IMAP IDLE work. I know because I wrote the software to support IDLE in a application that I work on. You do not use IDLE to see if there are new messages in the folder. A IMAP SELECT command on the folder will give you all the information what's in the folder that includes new messages. The IMAP SELECT command can be used for polling for new messages.

    A IMAP IDLE requires that the connection be 100% to the server to get any changes to a folder. Doing a IMAP IDLE every 30 minutes will not work since just making a IDLE command to the server will not cause the server to send the folder information to the client.

    Again, IMAP IDLE is NOT PUSH! It will never ever be push since IDLE does not push new messages to the client. The client has to go get the new messages based on the information from the server that there are new messages on the server and the client has to go get the new messages.
  7. Goona macrumors 68020


    Mar 11, 2009
    And other phones are playing catch up with the iPhone..
  8. Phatzer macrumors regular


    Nov 3, 2007
    Anyhow, Blackberries have been capable of email notifications within a short period of them landing in your inbox, and regardless of Apples "rules", waiting 15 minutes between email checking (unless doing it manually) is just a complete pain, especially from a business perspective, where some senders request a response yesterday.
  9. GfPQqmcRKUvP macrumors 68040


    Sep 29, 2005
    Look, for most people push and IDLE are the same. We don't care how it works, the fact is that we want our phones to get email when it is received by the server. I don't care how it's done, I just want it there. You're focusing on semantics, not end-user functionality.
  10. hailst0rm macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2008
    Isn't the point though that IDLE would suck up battery life if its keeping the connection open all the time?
  11. oncdoc macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2008
    Los Angeles
    He just got done explaining to you very clearly that it is not a matter of semantics.
  12. pintnight macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2008
    I'm trying to teach people that IDLE is not push. If you want IMAP push, come up with a new IMAP protocol that does real push, not a ad hoc push that IDLE is.

    Yes, it's why Apple forbids applications running in the background with a connection to the server.

    Thank you!
  13. JRBTempe macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2007
    Scenic North Canton, OH
    That may be the case, but to end users like myself, it's good enough. I just had a Palm Pre for a couple weeks and it automagically received IMAP IDLE e-mail just as fast as my MobileMe or Yahoo accounts on the iPhone (and usually faster... I had my iPhone and the Pre next to each other and almost always the Pre would chime first). The Pre even used IMAP IDLE on my Dreamhost-hosted company e-mail, and it was indeed a dream! (Also did MobileMe, Yahoo, Gmail and AOL the same way.)

    I'm with the original poster, IMAP IDLE is still missing from the iPhone and I'd love to see it added.
  14. jsamuelson macrumors member


    Sep 12, 2008
    Push email = email arrives immediately.

    IMAP IDLE = email arrives immediately.

    As has been said before, for the end user any discussion of what happens behind the two events above is unimportant.

    Very few email providers offer push email.

    There are MANY email providers whose servers support IDLE.

    Polling vs IDLE - the TCP overhead of IDLE is minimal compared to polling.

    I can't stand people who don't leave any room for discussion and who don't read what was written.
  15. pintnight macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2008
    If you *really* want IMAP IDLE, call Steve Jobs to get him to remove the limitation that applications cannot have a connection the server in the background. Just forget about IMAP IDLE, it will never ever be implemented on the iPhone/Touch.

    MobileMe and Yahho on the iPhone is not use IMAP IDLE. You are comparing how the technology is using as apples to oranges. The companies that is running a IMAP server will have to update their server or install a application that will send a command to Apple's server and somehow and someway that packet is for XYZ account on the mail application on your iPhone.
  16. pintnight macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2008
    Again, IMAP IDLE does not send emails to the client. Repeat after me, IMAP IDLE does not send emails to the client. IMAP IDLE notifies the client that something happend to a folder (INBOX for example) and it's up the client to see what happened. If there are new messages by looking at the RECENT command then the client will send a command to fetch the emails from the server. That is by definition not a push.
  17. 1Zach1 macrumors 65816


    Feb 8, 2008
    Northern Va
    This is true. The only problem with it is that the end user is only one part of the equation, so how the operate does matter. People can complain that Apple doesn't allow IMAP IDLE, or they complain that Google doesn't have Push set up, to me both seem pointless because I don't believe either is going to change their position on the topic.
  18. tivoboy macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2005

    Hmm, my yahoo mail (via sbcglobal/att) seems to be coming in immediatly as usual.

    It isn't configured for fetch, since that wouldn't come instantly, would it?
  19. pintnight macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2008
    That's because Yahoo and Apple worked together to provide real push with Yahoo's email. Yahoo isn't using IMAP IDLE for the iPhone.
  20. Akira1980 macrumors 6502


    May 27, 2007
    San Diego
    You could get Mobile Me. :D
  21. jsamuelson macrumors member


    Sep 12, 2008
    Exactly WHERE have I said that IDLE causes emails to be sent to the client? I said it is event-driven notification pushed to the client.

    Again, since you haven't really read what I have briefly written there isn't much point in this. You assume you know it all and that everyone else knows nothing. This is not constructive, so this is where I will leave the conversation!

    In summary this is my position:

    IMAP IDLE is part of the IMAP specification as Apple well knows and has built in Mail in OS X - so I sincerely hope at some point whatever reasoning behind not supporting it on the mobile OS (which isn't readily apparent to any of us) becomes clear and that people have the opportunity to persuade them to reconsider.
  22. pintnight macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2008
    And you still don't know how the IMAP IDLE protocol actually work. The client is _required_ to be connected to the IMAP server all the time for IDLE to work and that is not allowed when the application is in the background. You cannot just connect to the server every 15 minutes and do a IDLE to get new notifications, that not how IDLE work.

    If you think I'm a "know it all", so be it. I'm just trying to educate you guys on how exactly IMAP IDLE work and why IDLE cannot be used in a mail application on the iPhone due to Apple's restriction.
  23. philgilder macrumors 68000

    Sep 30, 2007
    Apple do allow their own apps to run in the background, for example, playing music while on the internet, the phone and sms apps are always running, as does the clock app when an alarm is on

    so apple could easily allow mail to run in the background, how this would effect battery life and performance i don't know
  24. WannaGoMac macrumors 68020


    Feb 11, 2007
    If you are doing business email, might be a good idea to get a business level email account such as MS Exchange which has all that functionality :)

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