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September 22, 2009

Push Gmail for iPhone and Windows Mobile

Two years after Yahoo surprised everyone by launching push Yahoo Mail for iPhone, Google adds push support for Gmail. And it's not limited to iPhone, it also works for Windows Mobile devices.

"Push e-mail is used to describe e-mail systems that provide an "always-on" capability, in which new e-mail is instantly and actively transferred (pushed) as it arrives by the mail delivery agent (MDA) (commonly called mail server) to the mail user agent (MUA), also called the e-mail client. E-mail clients include smartphones and, less strictly, IMAP personal computer mail applications," explains Wikipedia.

Instead of periodically fetching new messages, mail clients receive notifications as soon as there's a new message. Applications no longer waste bandwidth and you're able to read a message shortly after it was sent.

"Using Google Sync, you can now get your Gmail messages pushed directly to your phone. Having an over-the-air, always-on connection means that your inbox is up to date, no matter where you are or what you're doing. Sync works with your phone's native email application so there's no additional software needed."

If you're already using Google Sync to synchronize your calendars and contacts, it's easy to edit the settings and enable it for mail, as well.

Unfortunately, there are some downsides to this feature, so you should only enable push support for Gmail if you really need it. "Depending on your device, any push connection may use more power than fetching content at intervals. In some cases the difference in power usage may have a noticeable impact on your phone's battery life," mentions Google.

Google explains the difference between using Google Sync, IMAP and Gmail's web application for mobile phones. "Google Sync synchronizes Gmail, Google Calendars, and contacts with your mobile phone. You can use the Google services directly in the built-in Mail, Calendar and Contacts application on your phone. Google Sync offers some advantages over using IMAP on your phone. Most importantly, it allows for content to be pushed to your phone within seconds after changes occur on the server. On the other hand, using Gmail Drafts from your phone is not possible via Google Sync. On iPhone and iPod Touch devices, the Gmail web application offers the most comprehensive features and the best experience for most users. But for users who prefer using the native Mail application, Google Sync offers an alternative way to access their Gmail account."

While Google Sync is also available for Blackberry, Nokia S60 devices and other mobile phones, push Gmail only works for Windows Mobile and iPhone devices that support ActiveSync. At least for now.


  1. How odd that Drafts don't sync between iPhone and Gmail..!

  2. Here's the full list of known issues for iPhone:

    - Full search capability of your Gmail is not yet available.
    - We don't yet support editable drafts.
    - When using Google Sync, certain actions in Gmail may have different behavior than you're used to. For instance, if you "delete" a message from your Inbox, this will actually archive the message. Check out our complete list of how actions taken on your device will affect your Gmail interface.

  3. Didn't this already exist? I've had Gmail on my iPhone (set up by choosing "Microsoft Exchange") for a long time now. What is the difference between what I had and this new setup?

  4. It has the push technology, so, if i have it right,

    your gmail doesn't have to periodically check to see if you have mail, case the message is coming from the server, and "pushes" it onto your phone.

    so , in theory, you get your mail, exactly when you get a mail, plus, your gmail doesn't have to keep checking inbox on an interval.

    please correct me if i am wrong, or elaborate


  5. > While Google Sync is also available for Blackberry [...], push Gmail only works for Windows Mobile and iPhone

    There's no need to make Google Sync work via the BlackBerry for gmail, either. BlackBerry already has push email using IMAP idle and the BlackBerry Internet Server (BIS). When a new message arrives, Google pings the BIS and the BIS sends it to your phone. Google sync on the BB is useful, however, for contacts and calendar items (though it'd be nice if it'd sync to its own device side calendar rather than the device default).

  6. It would be nice to be able to setup more than one Exchange Account since I already have my work account setup in Exchange.

  7. This doesn't work for me. All my contacts have disappeared along with my calendar data. Tried resetting the exchange server setting and still won't work.

  8. Is there any way to change number of days of email you want to download or is it set by Google to 3 days?

  9. I think the GPush iPhone app is still the best way to do the push gmail, it uses less power and I think it might actually be faster.

  10. This is great news by Yahoo. It launch the Yahoo mail for iPhone, windows Mobile. I tried in my iPhone and it's works properly.
    Thank you for provide the useful information.....

  11. I connect to gmail with my NOKIA S60 email-client via IMAP and receive e-mails on my phone as soon as they are sent to me. It works as soon as you enable automatic retrieval (even if you choose to retrieve only every 2 hours)

    So on Nokia S60, email-retrieval via Exchange access is not necessary as via IMAP you already get your mail pushed directly.

  12. @Brian G:

    You can change the number of days to sync. That's an iPhone feature.

    @Faizal Rahman:

    Yes, it works for Google Apps, as well.


    I don't think Google supports push over IMAP.

  13. TQ, able to do it so. Actually I'm confuse with push notification. This update not pop-up push notification, its only push real-time email from server to iPhone when connected.

    @Alex Chitu Thanks again for this news.

  14. wow i just love the iphone and i can;t live without it and push mail seems quite interesting and bandwidth is just improved.nice

  15. @ Alex Chitu
    Well maybe it isn't push, but surely there is an always-on connection to the IMAP server that instantly (matter of seconds) delivers my e-mails on my Nokia E51.

    I have set the automatic retrieval schedule to every 30 minutes so that when it happens that my phone loses the connection with the IMAP server it wil reconnect in 30 minutes.

  16. I have two or three email accounts all coming to my gmail account, not via forwarding, but via adding them as additional accounts. I would like to always reply from one of them, not my gmail account, but now using push and outlook it seems to always reply using the gmail account. Is there a way to allow selection or always use a different account?


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