[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!
GPush by Tiverias Apps was heavily hyped in the tech blog world a couple of weeks back. However, if you, like us, tried to get it, you were out of luck. Even with all the hype, the app was not available in the App Store. That was because upon release the developers discovered that their servers weren’t quite up to the task. The app was pulled and the developers went to work on server improvements. Today, the app became available once again and, like many of you, we decided to give it a try. Our results were not as good as we had hoped.
Upon launching the app, you are immediately greeted with the request to use your location. I hate this. Apps that don’t need to know my location shouldn’t include it. This is typically caused by tracking software by one of the app tracking solutions out there. Either way, tracking my location with a push notification app is a little extreme. So, I always deny these requests. After the location modal is dismissed, you can enter your GMail credentials. Here’s the next gotcha. GPush supports one GMail account. That’s it. So if you’re planning to track multiple accounts look elsewhere.
After you enter your credentials your account is registered with the GPush service (servers). That’s it. There is no other function to the app other than to register your credentials and device with the service. Now, sit back and wait for emails.
I received multiple emails during the course of the day today. For each of them I received the typical notification from the mail.app. GPush did not notify me of any of them. Not a good sign. Nothing appears to be happening, and reinstalling the app didn’t resolve this problem. However, it does appear as though Tiverias Apps is aware of the issue. How could they not be? A message on their site today reads in part:
We understand that an app designed to notify users of email, if not working properly, can be quite obtrusive.
It’s not often we give negative reviews on apps here at AppChatter. In fact, if an app isn’t worthy of a review we just take a pass on it, since our time is short and people want to know what is good out there in the App Store. However, in this case, I am making an exception to this rule because this app has received so much press lately and has fallen flat on its face. Seriously, if you’re looking for push notifications for your GMail account, this is not your answer. It will only frustrate you and will not give you the experience you are looking for. For a buck spend your money on Pocket God if you don’t yet have it (it’s a much better experience for your money!).
The one glimmer of hope that we have that GPush will be what we all want is the statement on Tiverias Apps website, which reads:
Our goal is to solve the problems people face with email notification on the iPhone. This includes ensuring GPush works as seamlessly as the iPhone allows, as well as making regular updates to the application based on the requests and reactions of our user base.
With any luck, Tiverias will achieve that goal in the near future.