Tips for using Gmail on your iPhone

Advice for using Gmail on the iPhone, from set up, to Junk mail filtering, and deleting (rather than archiving) emails.

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  • Junk filter Manage email tips
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Managing your email on your iPhone

Managing your email on your iPhone can be a bit of a chore. You may have multiple email addresses syncing up with the iOS device, Gmail, Hotmail, iCloud, and a work email address that uses Microsoft's Exchange server.

Generally setting up your email addresses to sync with your iPhone is simple, but there are a few challenges along the way.

We've encountered a few problems, particularly with Gmail, so we'll explain the process we went through to fix them, and our best solutions, in this article.

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Next Prev iPhone gmail problems

Managing your email on your iPhone can be a bit of a chore. You may have multiple email addresses syncing up with the iOS device, Gmail, Hotmail, iCloud, and a work email address that uses Microsoft's Exchange server.

Generally setting up your email addresses to sync with your iPhone is simple, but there are a few challenges along the way.

We've encountered a few problems, particularly with Gmail, so we'll explain the process we went through to fix them, and our best solutions, in this article.

 

Step 2 of 13: How to set up Gmail on an iPhone

Go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Add Account.

Select Google. Choose the name you want the email to be sent from.

Add the email address, password, and a description you will recognise (if you have multiple gmail addresses you may want to add Home or Work as part of the description, for example).

Tap Next.

 

Step 3 of 13: What to sync from Gmail

Now select whether you want to sync Mail, Contacts, Calendars and Notes associated with this address on your iPhone.

We use Gmail for syncing various Calendars, so we will make sure this is selected.

We aren't concerned with Contacts from this account though.

If you have limited space on your phone don't sync everything - read how to save space on an iPhone!

 

Step 4 of 13: How to stop Gmail using up your data

If you have limited data on your iPhone contract make sure you go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and set Fetch New Data to Off.

If you tap on Fetch New Data it takes you to another screen where you should make sure that Push is also turned off. That will stop your phone from constantly connecting to the server to see if you have emails waiting.

Finally, if you tap on the email address in this screen you can choose Fetch or Manual. If you don't want your phone to try and access new email when you aren't actually using Mail then select Manual. Then the phone will only try and download email when you ask it to.

Read more tips on how to stop data use on your iPhone here. We also have tips for saving iPhone battery life and how to save space on an iPhone.

 

Step 5 of 13: How to delete Gmail messages on your iPhone

In an attempt to manage all the email that comes in it is essential that we can delete much of the mail we receive.

We noticed, when our work email was moved over to Google's servers, that when we swiped across on an email that rather than offer us the chance to Delete the only options were More and Archive. Delete wasn't even an option in the More tab.

Luckily there is a solution. We'll show you how on the next slide.

 

Step 6 of 13: Stop Gmail from Archiving email instead of Deleting

To stop Gmail from Archiving individual emails instead of Deleting them, go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars.

Select the relevant account and then tap on the Account name.

Now tap on Advanced and scroll down to Move Discarded Messages Into and switch from Archive Mailbox to Deleted Mailbox.  

Now when you want to delete an email you will be able to actually delete it.

 

Step 7 of 13: Manage Gmail via the Gmail app

There is an alternative way to manage Gmail on your iPhone. The Gmail app is available in the App Store.

It's really easy to add a Gmail account to this app. Tap on the menu icon (the one people refer to as the hamburger, or three lines). Next tap on the name at the top of screen and tap Add Account. Now enter your account address and password.

 

Step 8 of 13: What you can get from the Gmail app

The Gmail app offers some useful features, such as Categorized Mail which keeps Social emails and promotions separate from your other email.

You can star email, after which it will appear in the Starred folder. There is also an Important folder, but we would disagree that the majority of these emails are important, some being ones that should have filtered into our Junk mail.

Unfortunately we haven't discovered a way to automatically filter email that isn't from our address book contacts into a Junk mail box. More on that below.

 

Step 9 of 13: What to watch for if you use the Gmail app

Your mail will sync in the background unless you tell it not to when you set it up. This could use up your data allowance.

You could receive annoying notifications if you don't turn them off, which may also eat up your data, and your battery life.

Google being Google, you will also see advertisements.

 

Step 10 of 13: The best way to manage your email

When you get as many emails a day as we do here at Macworld you need a system that makes them manageable.

We have set up a Junk filter in Outlook that sifts any emails that are from contacts that aren't in our Address Book into the Junk filter. This way we never get distracted by emails that don't need addressing straight away.

Just be sure to check (and delete) Junk emails from time to time.

 

Step 11 of 13: How to filter Gmail into your Junk Inbox using Outlook

We have Gmail set up in Outlook on our Mac and we are able to filter any email from someone not in our Address Book, or from a domain present in our safe list, into a Junk mail box.

To set this up we opened Outlook on our Mac, clicked Tools > Junk Email Protection and set it to Exclusive (which means it will only deliver messages to your inbox if the address is in your Address Book).

You can add Safe Domains such as @idg.co.uk to make sure you receive emails from colleagues who aren't in your address book.

To add someone to your Address Book (and make sure that you receive their emails in your inbox) hover over their name and click the contact book icon that appears above.

 

Step 12 of 13: How to filter Gmail into your Junk Inbox using Mail

In Mail go to Mail > Preferences then Junk Mail and make sure Enable junk mail filtering is on. Then choose to Move it to the Junk mailbox. There are a selection of exclusions you can add including: Sender of message is in my Contacts, Sender of message is in my Previous Recipients, and Message is addressed using my full name. 

 

Step 13 of 13: How to filter Gmail into your Junk inbox using Gmail.com

Gmail has spam filters that divert messages that it suspects are unwanted into the Gmail/Spam folder. The problem is that some of the emails you would prefer not to see in your inbox may not be actual Spam. If you want to filter your email you will need to use an email client such as Outlook or Mail (as described above).

You can set up certain filters in Gmail to filter email from contacts (on a case by case basis), but not to filter emails that aren't already in your contacts.

If you know a way that works please let us know!

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