Gmail for iPhone: Not a Joke Anymore But Still Not a Real App

Illustration for article titled Gmail for iPhone: Not a Joke Anymore But Still Not a Real App

Two weeks after the horrendous launch of Gmail for iOS where everyone ignored the 4 long years they waited for a Gmail iPhone app and immediately started blasting the terribleness of it (I never felt so together with you guys!), Gmail is back in the App Store. And it's not half bad. But it's still half an app.

What's it do?

It's Gmail on your iPhone. Which is good because everyone uses Gmail. But it's still not great because it's not a real, full fledged app. It's a slightly more reliable version of their web app because it's always there and not in danger of Safari's refreshing. Unlike the previous version that popped up in the app store, Gmail actually works now. Gone are the stutters, the lag, the pain and disappointment of using a mediocre Gmail app and in its place is an app that comes with lower expectations but actually has some use. I hated the uselessness of the first Gmail app and deleted the leper of an app for fear of it contaminating everything around it. Now? I'm keeping it around.


Why do we like it?

First things first: I'm not replacing the stock iOS app with Gmail because there's still a lot it can't do. It doesn't support multiple accounts. There weirdly isn't support for any banner notifications. It doesn't keep many messages offline. And so on and so on. But because I use an Exchange set up for my Gmail to get push e-mail, I like having Gmail as a secondary app just in case I need to do fuller searches. Also, the app is nice. The slickness properties were there in the beginning but it just didn't work. But now that I don't have a fear of crashing the app, the hidden side column is a really smart UI choice and the app is consistent with the new Gmail UI (which you may hate or love).

Illustration for article titled Gmail for iPhone: Not a Joke Anymore But Still Not a Real App


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i still get no notifications despite having turned on the badge and notification center toggles to 'on'.

and as a weird aside, in the notifications settings page, gmail is at the bottom of the list for the notification center. i moved it to the top so it's more visible if i have a lot of notifications, but when i exit that settings page and go back, it's at the bottom of the list again.

i swear by gmail, and won't be deleting the app, but it's still too half-baked.