UPDATE: As Cult of Mac reader lepht points out below, there are contrasting opinions on whether push actually saves battery life. Check out his post here to see a different point of view. Also note tordofm’s comment below, and the original article I linked below, both of which support the push as battery saver idea.
You have a couple of options when setting up your email accounts on an iPhone or iPad: Fetch and Push. While Push is only available to more modern email accounts like Gmail, most of us have at least one account that can utilize this email service.
But what’s the difference, really? And how do you set it up on your iOS device? That’s why we’re here.
First of all, the terms fetch and push refer to how your email gets to your iPhone or iPad. With Fetch, your device connects to the internet, checks your email server for new emails, and then downloads them. With Push, it’s the server that does the heavy lifting, notifying your email client when there’s new email to be downloaded.
Fetch is typically set on a timed basis, while Push happens in real time. Fetch will use up your battery faster, as it requires your device to check the email server, while Push only needs to let the email server know where to send the notifications. If battery power is an issue, try to enable Push on your iOS device, if available.
Launch your Settings app with a tap, and then tap into Mail, Contacts, Calendars. Scroll down below the Accounts section, and tap the Fetch New Data section. Make sure Push is toggled to ON, and then tap each of your accounts below to set the schedule to Push, Fetch, or Manual.
If you set Manual as your schedule, your email will only show up on your device when you launch your email client. This is ideal for those with limited bandwidth or battery life. If you set Push on an email account that has the feature, you’ll get your email as it arrives at your email server in real time. This saves battery life, too, since the only activity happens when you actually get email, rather than on a set schedule.
If you set your email schedule to Fetch, scroll down to the section where you can set it to every 15 minutes, every 30 minutes, or hourly. This way, you can still get your email, but it will be on that specific schedule. You can also set the fetching schedule to manual, which will only go and get email when you launch your client.