Here at AppChatter we’ve been on a quest lately to find the best way to get notified when you receive email. We’ve even resorted to forwarding our email to a Yahoo! email account, since the iPhone/Touch supports push for Yahoo! out of the box. We were also delighted when Google announced last week that they now natively support push GMail via Exchange. However, if you have more than one GMail account then even the Exchange solution wont help you for more than the first one (only one Exchange account can be setup on your device at a time). Needless to say that with everything we’ve tried so far, nothing is perfect.
Mail Notifier by Enflick Inc is trying to overcome all of these limitations. We announced Mail Notifier a few weeks back and and then waited to get an app code from the developer and for the past couple of days have been using the service.
The one thing that Mail Notifier offers above all of the other solutions thus far, is the ability to have push notifications for more than just GMail. In fact, Mail Notifier will bring push notifications for your AOL, GMail and Windows Live (Hotmail) email accounts. What’s even better than that is if you have more than a single GMail account (or any of the others) you can configure the app to push notifications for all of them.
As I mentioned earlier, we’ve been using Mail Notifier for a few days now and unlike anything else we’ve tried thus far this app actually works and works well. We’ve consistently been notified on all incoming emails on multiple accounts using Mail Notifier. Setup is as simple as entering your credentials to one or more of the three email types and away you go.
The one drawback, if there is one, is the rather steep price. At $4.99 Mail Notifier is one of the more expensive options we’ve tested so far. However, that price comes with many advantages over any other option: It actually works, you can push more than one GMail account (or AOL or Hotmail), it’s a single cost that you’ll easily get your value from if you depend on email notifications.
If you’re like us and have been looking for a way to get push notifications from all of your various email account types then we urge you to take a look at Mail Notifier by Enflick Inc. After 4 days of use, we’re impressed and happy with this service.
Update: The latest update to Mail Notifier (v.2) brings some great enhancements. The enhancements are:
- Option for a silence period (No getting woken at 2am when that spam email comes in!)
- Selectable ringtones for each account
- Support for custom IMAP accounts
- Option to launch web mail from notification
- Option to hide email contents in notification for privacy
We’ve been using Mail Notifier now for several weeks (since we first got the app code) and must say that it has continued to perform as expected. Notifications arrive quicker than GMail push or any other push notification app we’ve tried. This is a truly set and forget type of service. The reliability and speed of notifications has prompted me to remove all onboard (native) iPhone notifications for mail and I now rely solely on Mail Notifier.
[Note: For iPhone Users Only] There is a lot of desire out there from GMail users to have push notifications to their iPhones. In fact, I’m one of them. The recent attempt to provide push notifications by GPush, an app by Tiverias Apps, was an utter failure. However, their immediate success to the top 100 list shows that there is indeed huge demand for this type of service. The real solution is for Apple and Google to implement it the “right” way. However, in the meantime, while we wait for the powers that be, what are some alternative solutions?
I have been looking into this scenario for a few days now. Unlike others, I don’t mind fetching my email every 15 minutes. I know it’s not the best for battery life, but I deal with it. I can’t be bothered with the cumbersome solutions that some have proposed of running a desktop client on your computer that notifies your iPhone when you get mail – too tedious. I want something I can set and forget.
Probably the most consumer friendly solution here is to use another email provider to push your notifications. Yahoo! mail and MobileMe both support push notifications to your iPhone. MobileMe provides a very nice integration, why wouldn’t it? it’s Apple’s solution. However, MobileMe will also set you back $99.00 per year.
The cost-free way is to use Yahoo! Mail, and it’s super easy to setup and works excellently. Here’s what you do:
- First and foremost, if you don’t already have one go and get a Yahoo! Mail account. You will use this email account as your push notification account on your device.
- Now that you have your new Yahoo! Mail account, you must add it to your iPhone. Go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Add Account > Yahoo! Mail and enter the values as you set them up in step 1.
- Ensure that Push is enabled. Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data. Should read “Push” if it doesn’t, slide the toggle to On. At this point, if you were only to use Yahoo! Mail you will have push notifications for that account.
- The last piece of this is to forward your GMail to your Yahoo! Mail. Since forwarding happens near immediately, when Yahoo! Mail receives it the notification should show up on your iPhone fairly quickly. To do this step, you must sign into your GMail account on a computer. Go to Settings (top of page) > Forwarding and Pop/IMAP then click the radio button to enable forwarding. Enter the email address you setup at Yahoo! Mail. Click Save Changes.
- You’re pretty much done now, except to give it a test try. Send yourself an email to your Yahoo! Mail account. You should be notified by Yahoo! within a minute, or less.
I should note that you will want to keep your other GMail accounts on your iPhone. This way you can use the GMail account for replies and keeps your GMail synced should you read an email in the GMail account, etc.
We keep hoping that one of these firmware updates from Apple will enable true GMail push notifications. However, in the meantime, we’ll continue to work around the deficiency and come up with our own creative solutions! I should also note that this same trick will work for any email account. Now that you have the Yahoo! part setup, forward any email account to your Yahoo! email and it will push it to your device. Enjoy!