Push Gmail on the iPhone (Ugh)

There are a lot of things that I really love about my iPhone over my old Android phone, but I do miss how nicely Gmail was integrated.

I have a personal Gmail email account as well as a Google Apps email account for work, and I would like to received push notifications for work. Last year Google came out with Google Sync, a service that imitates Microsoft Exchange so that you are able to sync contacts, calendar, and email easily to your iOS device. Like so many things, Google Sync is great in theory but lacking in two important aspects in practice. While this will give you push Gmail on your iPhone, it’s been my experience that the push notifications are a bit flaky. The issue that really makes it useless for me though is the inability to delete emails from my iPhone. Sure I can archive them, but one of the great things about having a smartphone is that I can weed through emails while I am out and about. I have no desire to keep all email communication permanently. I want to be able to delete emails without having to fall back to the web interface. I still have the Google Sync Exchange account setup on my iPhone, but I disabled the mail part. To be fair, I haven’t noticed any issues with contacts or calendars syncing.

Then I setup the my Gmail account as IMAP account (which was how my work email account was already setup) and changed the Advanced Settings to delete messages and store drafts on the server. When I had set it up using the Gmail wizard on the iPhone I was not provided with those options.

All is well on the delete issue, but now I have no push notifications. Apparently Google and Apple don’t do IMAP push the same way that the iPhone does. Very strange since Yahoo does. Go figure. So I downloaded Boxcar from the App Store and now I’m getting push notifications for both accounts. However, for this to work I have to forward my email from my accounts to Boxcar so that it can send me push notifications. I don’t really like the privacy implications of this, but it’s free and it works.

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