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iPhone Users Rejoice As Gmail Embraces IMAP

Gmail started rolling out IMAP just yesterday, so if you don't see it in "Settings" yet, don't worry - it's coming

Do you use Gmail on your iPhone through the browser? By going to m.gmail.com you can get the full Gmail experience including conversation view, search, and more. Best of all, from this week, users can now sync their inbox across devices instantly and automatically: Gmail has launched free IMAP, so that whether you read or write your email on your iPhone or on your desktop, changes you make to Gmail will be seen from anywhere you access your inbox.

iPhone users, says Google, can learn how to start using IMAP in a matter of minutes by going here, where the Gmail team have a video explaining how IMAP works on the iPhone.

David Murray, Associate Product Manager for Gmail, gives a good example of what this will mean to iPhone users. Writing in the official Gmail blog he says:

"As some of you know, IMAP is the best way to access your email from multiple devices (e.g. phone or desktop). It keeps the same information synced across all devices so that whatever you do in one place shows up everywhere else you might access your email.

For example, I can:

  • read an email in Gmail, then
  • move it to the "Starred" folder on my iPhone, then
  • archive it by moving it to "All Mail" in Thunderbird, then
  • see all of those changes on my Blackberry (or any of the above devices for that matter)."
For the past few years, Gmail has offered POP access, which is similar to IMAP but lacks one critical feature: your changes made on other devices aren't seen in Gmail when you log back in. Instead you are presented with a list of unread mail, and you must re-read and re-sort everything.

Well, now Google is "doing IMAP." As Murray writes, "In fact, we are doing it for you for free on all devices and platforms."

More Stories By iPhone News Desk

iPhone News Desk monitors the new world of the iPhone to present software developers and IT professionals with immediate updates on related technology advances, software and business trends, new products and standards in the iPhone and i-technology space.

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Most Recent Comments
marijonas 10/25/07 02:40:38 AM EDT

>>Anyone seen support for IMAP IDLE functionality

Yes! Tested with FlexMail 2007 on Windows Mobile 6. Not as fast as push-email, but it works!

Andy Dodd 10/25/07 02:26:16 AM EDT

The question is - does Gmail's IMAP implementation support IDLE? If so, then effectively Gmail can provide push email to mobile IMAP clients now. They could have done this as part of the rumored "gPhone" push, in order to provide a push email service for the new phone.