Suggestion: Gmail IMAP instead of MobileMe

tankgunk

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To spare you the details, IMAP is an alternative to POP access with two way communication between the server and client. In simple words, IMAP is (almost) push email. And Google has recently added IMAP support to Gmail. So all you have to do is turn on IMAP in your Gmail settings, add the account to Mail.app or your iPhone, and map your mailboxes correctly. Actually, that's a little bit of work, so here's the instructions I followed --> How-to: Proper Gmail IMAP for iPhone & Apple Mail. I was only considering MobileMe for push email, and I think this is a lot cheaper (in fact, free).


EDIT: After some discussion, I've come to a general conclusion about my solution. I posted it three pages deep, but it's right here too:

The problem with Gmail IMAP on the iPhone is that the iPhone pretends to support IDLE, but actually polls every 3 minutes or so. So it's fast enough and you still get the exact same email everywhere effect, but it isn't technically push email on the iPhone because it doesn't actually make an IDLE connection. In fact it isn't technically push email in Mail.app sometimes because of bugs. Anyway, all that crud aside, I still think it's an OK free alternative to MobileMe if you only want the push email. If you're looking for true push email, you can get a yahoo address and use that.
 
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Kupe#WP

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In simple words, IMAP is push email.
In the most generalized way, you might be able to say this, but in the specifics of a mobile phone, with its inherent battery limitations, IMAP is most certainly not push email. The constant cross-polling will eat a battery alive.
 

BaLLi5t1c

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I am SO GLAD you mentioned this. That notion crossed my mind when I found out about the mobileME service being subscription-based but I had completely forgot about it since sometime last week.

Does this work as reliably as I would hope?
 

Jeremy

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IMAP is not push email... While gmail works great on the iPhone you have to set up a interval of how often you want your mail checked. Imap or pop... no push.
 

tankgunk

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In the most generalized way, you might be able to say this, but in the specifics of a mobile phone, with its inherent battery limitations, IMAP is most certainly not push email. The constant cross-polling will eat a battery alive.

If you so desire, you can set it to not establish an IDLE connection and just have it check every X minutes, and you'll still get the other advantages of push email.
 
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tankgunk

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IMAP is not push email... While gmail works great on the iPhone you have to set up a interval of how often you want your mail checked. Imap or pop... no push.

It does push, but it's a little buggy. In Mail.app, I get push email for a while, but if I leave it open for a couple hours, the IDLE connection seems to die and I go back to polling. No clue if it's a problem with Google or Mail.
 

BaLLi5t1c

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If you so desire, you can set it to not establish an IDLE connection and just have it check every X minutes, and you'll still get the other advantages of push email.

Also, listening connections don't usually drain a battery in ten minutes, and there's no way that Apple's push system they're using for Exchange and such works without a listening connection of some kind.


So what benefits/advantages would be reaped from this if it's only set to poll at certain intervals?

I was under the impression it did work very much like PUSH email but I know very little about the inner-working of any email services.
 

Jeremy

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It does push, but it's a little buggy. In Mail.app, I get push email for a while, but if I leave it open for a couple hours, the IDLE connection seems to die and I go back to polling. No clue if it's a problem with Google or Mail.

On the iPhone gmail does NOT push. Plain and simple. Sorry.
 

tankgunk

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On the iPhone gmail does NOT push. Plain and simple. Sorry.

Still, your email would show up exactly the same on your mac and your iPhone, with the same stuff read, the same stuff deleted, etc. That's the main reason for me.

I will give you that IMAP by itself does not push, but it does with IDLE. And IDLE support is generally buggy in Mail.app, and although it shows up in advanced settings, IDLE apparently isn't implemented in the iphone (http://blogs.sun.com/chienr/entry/iphone_and_imap_idle_part).
 
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Jeremy

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Still, your email would show up the same everywhere, with the same stuff read, the same stuff deleted, etc. That's the main reason for me.

That's a benefit of IMAP yes. Not push. Two completely different things.

*Now if you want free push, you have the option to use Yahoo. Works decently well on the iPhone.
 
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tankgunk

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That's a benefit of IMAP yes. Not push. Two completely different things.

*Now if you want free push, you have the option to use Yahoo. Works decently well on the iPhone.

I'll also give you that Yahoo is working with Apple to provide push email, but I didn't want to make a new yahoo account just to have my email show up a few minutes earlier. I already have a gmail account and two more through google apps, so I'll stay with my not push option. My email still shows up the same everywhere, just not instantly.
 

Jeremy

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I'll also give you that Yahoo is working with Apple to provide push email, but I didn't want to make a new yahoo account just to have my email show up a few minutes earlier. I already have a gmail account and two more through google apps, so I'll stay with my not push option. My email still shows up the same everywhere, just not instantly.

Or you can forward your gmail to a Yahoo account.
 

tankgunk

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Or you can forward your gmail to a Yahoo account.

A thought, but I'd be forwarding three email addresses to it, and I've done that before. It's a mess. I also wonder if we might see push email for Gmail. The push email that is there for Yahoo is essentially IMAP, the difference being that Apple has cooperated to get the push working (not sure if it's IDLE or not).
 

tankgunk

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If only someone could hack it to make it update every minute...

Just don't ever charge your iPhone all the way. You'll get the most noticeable effect of the hack: shorter battery life. If you really want faster updates it's better to go with something that's actually instant, like Yahoo or MobileMe. Your battery will thank you, because instead of checking the mail server every minute, it is sent a notification only when you have new mail.
 

LOdam7

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Just don't ever charge your iPhone all the way. You'll get the most noticeable effect of the hack: shorter battery life. If you really want faster updates it's better to go with something that's actually instant, like Yahoo or MobileMe. Your battery will thank you, because instead of checking the mail server every minute, it is sent a notification only when you have new mail.
How big of a difference are we talking about. If its like 10-15 minutes, I wont mind.
 

tankgunk

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How big of a difference are we talking about. If its like 10-15 minutes, I wont mind.

I honestly don't think you'd notice too much of a change in battery life, but different people say different things about it. If you're really interested in it, look at this.
 
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