We’d all rather that folks sent short messages via iMessage, or WhatsApp, or another civilized format that encourages brevity, but they insist on email. But what if your emails could pop up on your iPhone’s lock screen and be as easy to reply to as an iMessage. If you set it up right, your regular iPhone Mail app can do exactly that, using Push and VIP email. Let’s take a look.
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.
Sparrow, my favorite mail client for Mac and iOS, has been updated today to introduce POP support to the iPhone — just over a month after it came to the Mac.
Sparrow for iPhone — the third-party email client that has left Apple’s built-in Mail app redundant on my device — has received another major update today, which introduces a number of helpful features and quashes a handful of bugs.
One thing it doesn’t add, however, is that much-anticipated push support. That’s coming later, but you’ll have to pay for it.
Sparrow is possibly the best iPhone app I’ve purchased so far this year; it has completely replaced the built-in Mail client on my device. But it does have a couple things missing: It doesn’t yet support push notifications, and of course, it’s impossible to make it your iPhone’s default mail client.
However, a new tweak for jailbroken devices called Sparrow+ fixes both of these things.
Apple has lost an appeal against a court ruling in Germany to have its iCloud push services restored. The service was disabled back in February after it was ruled that Apple had infringed on patents owned by Motorola Mobility. While iCloud is still available, users now have to open up their Mail app and fetch new email manually, or set their device to fetch email at certain intervals.
Sparrow for iPhone is great. And I mean hands-down, why-the-hell-isn’t-Apple’s-mail-app-this-good? kind of way. I like it so much, in fact, that I am even using it pixel-doubled on my iPad.
But there’s just one problem: no push, and no notifications. To enable local notifications, Sparrow would have to store your e-mail login details on its servers, and deal with all the responsibility that that brings.
The first version of Sparrow for iPhone included a clever workaround to let it poll for mail in the background, but Apple crashed its ban-hammer down on this wrongful use of the network event APIs.
But there’s a workaround, using the excellent BoxCar app and some simple setting up of your Gmail account.
After a German court ruling earlier this month that deemed Apple’s push email services for iCloud (and MobileMe) infringe upon a Motorola patent, the Cupertino company has been forced to disable the service in Germany.
Apple makes it incredibly easy for you to set up a Gmail account on your iPhone — you simply hit the Gmail button when setting up a new account and enter your login details. But with just a little bit more effort, you can enjoy a much better Gmail experience — one that pushes new emails straight to your device as they come in.
Here’s how to set up Gmail the right way on your iPhone.
Twitter for iPhone — née Tweetie — is a wonderful first-party client with almost any functionality you could care to name, but one area in which it loses to some of its competitors is in its lack of support for push notifications.
No worries, though, because along with yesterday’s triumphant debut of Twitter for iPad, the iOS team are also working on integrating push for iOS 4.1.
We’ve been testing push notifications internally. When we launched Twitter for iPad, there was a configuration error that caused us to offer push messages to a small set of users. We’ve stopped sending push messages, but users may see an option to turn on push until we release an updated version of the app. So, push isn’t ready yet but we look forward to rolling this out soon.
As Twitter notes, you may be able to turn push notification on under settings even if you aren’t on iOS 4.1 Gold Master, although we’ve heard reports that it may require uninstalling and reinstalling the app to get working.
Perhaps not so coincidentally, push notification service Boxcar — which does a healthy bit of business in the tweet pushing market — has just gone free for all Twitter notifications.