Better iPhone Gmail POP Mail

Just a quick update… not sure what was going on yesterday, but I am getting sent mail in my inbox. Damn you GMail!

I really don’t like POP email, but the last thing I want to do is create a new email account just to gain IMAP access to forwarded Gmail. I currently forward my Fastmail.fm (atmasphere.net) mail into Gmail and have gotten very comfortable with the tags, search and ubiquitous access from my various devices. Until the iPhone I was using either webmail on the N800 or the J2ME mobile Gmail application on my various Nokia mobiles. Of course there are no applications or java on the iPhone and we already know Gmail does not offer IMAP access.

Because Gmail is unique in what it does, things don’t work as you expect or don’t work at all when you leave the Gmail world. Tags are not something understood by any other mail application and there did not seem to be any way to stop Gmail’s sent mail from showing up in my in-box until today. There is also no way to get Gmail Mobile / POP to respect my preference for identity (atmasphere.net vs @gmail.com) since the settings are a bit rudimentary for each account with no advanced options available… As a result of this limitation, I’ve been keeping BOTH my Fastmail account and Gmail account on the iPhone to make sure I can send as atmasphere.net when I want, not Gmail. As a result I get multiple notices for each mail since one forwards to the other… yes this makes me nutty!

This tip is actually so obvious I can’t believe I did not think about it – though given the setup “wizard” in the iPhone’s Mail client it’s perhaps not so obvious to think out of the box a bit. To start just set up a new account – don’t pick a preset, instead choose Other. As you will see when you select POP (or IMAP or Exchange) you can set up your email address to be different from your login credentials on both incoming and outgoing servers. I used my atmasphere.net email address as my address, and my gmail stuff on the server end. Incoming should be set to pop.gmail.com and outgoing to smtp.gmail.com. The iPhone will default to use SSL on both ends… slide down to advanced to confirm it’s set, but it should be by default. One final piece you might want is to force Gmail incoming mail to default to recent mode which will make sure you are always getting the latest stuff — even if you POP from another machine. To do this just set your username on the incoming server to be recent:you@gmail.com and that’s it.

This method works great! While I can’t fix the things that don’t work outside of Gmail (tags) or add true features (IMAP) I can at least make Gmail less silly by not including my sent mail in my inbox. I can also keep a single account on the iPhone instead of multiples to make sure I can send with the right identity. I hope Apple and Google make it easier for iPhone users to have more advanced access to Gmail with a pending update.

Hat Tip to my buddy Eddy who suggested this today on IM and has brought some sanity to the situation.

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16 Replies to “Better iPhone Gmail POP Mail”

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  3. Jon, does this really not give you sent messages in your inbox?

    I used the traditional pop settings on my Sidekick for the last n years, and I was always receiving messages I sent back into my inbox.

  4. I’ve found that deactivating recent mode stops new Gmail POP messages from arriving… I’ve got things mirrored in a FastMail IMAP account and those continued to flow…

  5. David,

    I found that deactivating recent mode stops gmail messages sent from my iPhone from coming into my inbox but it does not stop messages sent from directly from gmail on-line from coming into my inbox.

    I did not set up my gmail account as a Pop account is that my problem? Is anyone else having the same issue I am having?

  6. I also struggled with this and ended up forwarding (and archive) all my Gmail to my .Mac account (which now has 10GB of space) – it works out really well – you get the best spamfilter from Gmail and full IMAP functionality by .Mac and access to offline mail and perfect iPhone for usage.

    You can set your outgoing mail as smtp.gmail.com if you like and that way a copy of all your sent mail is also available in your Gmail account which I intend to keep as a backup/archive in both cases.

  7. It might be worth noting that the Gmail IMAP-settings DO work even if they’re not official anyomore. Just set up IMAP Gmail on my iPhone after reading your post.
    And yes, the POP setup does make inbox copies of every mail you send out. Very annoying.

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  9. Until a week ago I used Windows Mobile and found a solution to the outgoing messages showing up in incoming, I simply use different accounts for sending and receiving. With POP3 this works really well and I did the same thing on my new iPhone (using 'other' with Gmail) and it worked really well too. I wonder though, I use a limited data plan, so the amount of data transferred is an issue, and I wonder whether it's cost-wise to go IMAP or stick with POP3.

  10. Until a week ago I used Windows Mobile and found a solution to the outgoing messages showing up in incoming, I simply use different accounts for sending and receiving. With POP3 this works really well and I did the same thing on my new iPhone (using 'other' with Gmail) and it worked really well too. I wonder though, I use a limited data plan, so the amount of data transferred is an issue, and I wonder whether it's cost-wise to go IMAP or stick with POP3.

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