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  • GMail Push Using Google Sync

    image via Google

    I'm a heavy Google products user. Though I sort of instinctively mistrust the way Google is becoming more and more sort of a SkyNet with its tentacles into everything (Google Shopping? really?), I do move around a fair amount for my work, and so it's really useful for me to have easy access to my docs, calendar and email, etc. from anywhere I can get connected.

    Back in February, we got "Google Sync," which used Microsoft ActiveSync technology to keep your Google and iPhone contacts and calendars synchronized. And more recently, the folks at the Googleplex have extended that to enable push Gmail on your iPhone. I decided to give it a try.

    Google suggests that you begin by doing an iTunes sync of your phone so your data is backed up. This is an excellent idea, as you'll see.

    To set up Google Sync, you just need to add a Microsoft Exchange account in the Mail, Contacts, Calendars screen under Settings (note: you can only add one Exchange account, so if you already have one on your phone, you can't take advantage of this hack). Put your full [email protected] address under Email, and leave Domain blank, and enter your full email address again under Username. Enter your password and tap Next.

    Google says you may see an Unable to Verify Certificate warning if you use "googlemail.com," but I use gmail.com and i saw it anyway... and I also see it again every time I go on a different WiFi network. If you see this warning, click Accept, and a Server field will appear on the Exchange setup screen: enter m.google.com and tap Next.



    The next screen will allow you to choose which Google services you want to keep synced, and whether you want to delete your existing Contacts or keep them on your iPhone. I chose to keep mine so I could evaluate what I got and what had changed.




    When the sync completed, I checked my Contacts list. My friends' Google pictures were also imported with their contact info, which was kind of cool (but of questionable usefulness: I know what my friends look like!), which was an easy way to tell what was Google and what was original I realized that some of my duplicated contacts had information split across them: email address on the Google Sync import, phone number on the iPhone contact.

    What I did to clean it up was revert to my original, backed up Contacts list in iTunes, and selected the "Sync Google Contacts" option under the Info tab. This gave me the option to merge my existing contact information with what I had on Google.



    To enable push notification, then, all you have to do is set the “Fetch New Data” option under Mail, Contacts, Calendars to “Push."

    The real-time notifications are cool, and I like the fact that Google Sync keeps my data consistent on all the various devices (my MacBook, my ThinkPad, and my iPhone) I use throughout my work and personal life. Unfortunately, though, the power draw of this feature, combined with what appear to be very real ongoing iPhone battery issues, make it impractical to keep this function on all the time. Just in standby mode, no calls or anything, my battery was down to half by the evening.

    If the power issue is resolved, Google Sync is a really handy tool for keeping your contact and calendar info organized. As it is, though, it makes me have to be too aware of my battery status to be more than a nuisance, and having to intentionally enable and disable the function pretty much defeats the purpose of a background sync.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: GMail Push Using Google Sync started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 36 Comments
    1. inzandity's Avatar
      inzandity -
      Mine doesn't seem to like to sync anything above 3 days. And when I set it to anything above 3 days, I get error messages and it won't sync at all. Usually the message is "Cannot Get Mail The connection to the server failed."

      Anybody else have this issue and find a resolution for it?
    1. brentbizzle's Avatar
      brentbizzle -
      Quote Originally Posted by Lecram25 View Post
      Anyway to sync my current calendar events from my iPhone to Google calendars?

      Also, any idea why mail that I delete from the newly-created Google Sync account doesn't go into the "Trash" (nor does it show up in the trash at gmail.com)? The only way to find it is through "All Mail" (PITA).

      While I understand that I deleted the mail, I never truly delete any mail that is in my trash as I always like the idea that I can dig through it again at a later stage.
      Google set this up on purpose. What sets Gmail apart from all the other mail services is the concept of archiving mail, not deleting it. So when they created their exchange server they set up the delete function to actually move the mail into All Mail, essentially archiving it. It's written in their blog.

      Quote Originally Posted by Carlosreef View Post
      Because of the battery drain, I wish there was a quick way (sbsettings toggle) to turn on/off Gmail push!

      I also use my iphone as an alarm at night so having push notifications in the middle of the night was not working too well for me... hehehe
      There is an SBS toggle for Push Mail. It will turn off the push function for mail and it will revert to whatever fetch setting is applied. When using the push function the mail app just continuously runs in the background. Using this toggle works because after applied, it won't run in the background anymore!

      On a side note about battery life, I'm on 3.1 with my 3G and I haven't really noticed a big difference with my battery using Gmail's new push solution. However, I have done a couple tweaks on my phone using these two tutorials:

      Speed Up Your iPhone/iPod by Removing Launch Daemons

      [LIST] Language Packages to Delete on 3.0 :: Increased Performance

      While I have definitely seen less memory usage, I have also noticed a much more stable battery life and it isn't dying so quickly.
    1. Lecram25's Avatar
      Lecram25 -
      Quote Originally Posted by andygev35 View Post
      You can use Sync-in-a-Blink to sync your contacts and calendar events to Google before setting up your Exchange account. That way you won't lose anything.
      Thanks, I'll try it when I get a chance.

      From Google Sync: Known Limitations:

      *Actions in Gmail
      When using Google Sync, certain actions in Gmail may have different behavior than you're used to. For instance, if you "delete" a message from your Inbox, this will actually archive the message. Check out our complete list of how actions taken on your device will affect your Gmail interface.
      I guess that answers my "trash" question.
    1. andygev35's Avatar
      andygev35 -
      If push notifications are bothering at night, flip your phone to silent. The alarm app is still audible, even in silent mode.
    1. sphangman's Avatar
      sphangman -
      " My friends' Google pictures were also imported with their contact info, which was kind of cool (but of questionable usefulness: I know what my friends look like!) "

      if you know what they look like .. and don't think they're useful .. why the hell are you adding their pictures in the first place ?
    1. rwin84's Avatar
      rwin84 -
      maybe ill get a gmail account just to play with this... nah...
    1. lord ryttingham's Avatar
      lord ryttingham -
      Quote Originally Posted by Lecram25 View Post
      Any way to sync my current calendar events from my iPhone to Google calendars?
      When you add a new event on your iPhone, the second-to-last detail you can edit is the calendar. By default it's just your iPhone's calendar, but if you select it it gives you the option to add that event to any of your Google calendars (at least the ones that you sync with). Hope this helps.
    1. imagineThiss's Avatar
      imagineThiss -
      this definitely drains the hell out of my battery... my phone now drains just in stand-by... if i think about using my phone at the same time.. i am now only able to use my phone at half of what i use to be able to maybe even less... Ahhh think im gonna ditch the push option but i love it.. i dunno fetch wasn't so bad with elert set up.. it was semi fetch
    1. Happy Noodle Boy's Avatar
      Happy Noodle Boy -
      Quote Originally Posted by sphangman View Post
      " My friends' Google pictures were also imported with their contact info, which was kind of cool (but of questionable usefulness: I know what my friends look like!) "

      if you know what they look like .. and don't think they're useful .. why the hell are you adding their pictures in the first place ?
      If said friends also have a Google account and they've bothered to fill up their profile (with picture) then when you add them as a contact/friend Google pulls the picture from their profile to your contact info.
    1. Wolftamer's Avatar
      Wolftamer -
      I have been loving the new push. It pushes to my phone faster than the web site does.
    1. Lecram25's Avatar
      Lecram25 -
      Quote Originally Posted by lord ryttingham View Post
      When you add a new event on your iPhone, the second-to-last detail you can edit is the calendar. By default it's just your iPhone's calendar, but if you select it it gives you the option to add that event to any of your Google calendars (at least the ones that you sync with). Hope this helps.
      Okay, I've seen the option, but what I would like is to take my existing calendar events and sync them to/with Google.
    1. andygev35's Avatar
      andygev35 -
      You can do that with sync-in-a-blink or GooSync.
    1. Lecram25's Avatar
      Lecram25 -
      Thank you for the replies.

      I ended up syncing with iTunes (Info -> Calendars -> Sync calendars with: Outlook), sorting out my multiple calendars, exporting to a CSV, and then finally importing to Google Calendar.
    1. kraziebone's Avatar
      kraziebone -
      Anyone having problems with resizing images or erasing custom ringtones when using google sync? Any way to fix this?
    1. mdc929's Avatar
      mdc929 -
      ive done too much to simplify things now
      i just have my gmail forwarded to my mobile me which is set to push
      though MMS cut down my email use dramatically :-p
    1. vhl71's Avatar
      vhl71 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Wolftamer View Post
      I have been loving the new push. It pushes to my phone faster than the web site does.
      Is the push slow today? it takes more than 10 mins for gmails to be pushed on my iphone.
      Used to be a lot faster on my old 2G almost within a min or so

      Today i got the brand new 3G and its a lot slower..

      Is it just a coincidence or 3G is worse than the old Edge for gmail push??