Since Google has ended support for Google Sync aka Microsoft Exchange on Janurary 30th, how can I continue to get mails from GMail pushed?

As far as I know, IMAP does not support push.

I know that there is the offical GMail app, that uses iOS Push notification service, however I would prefer the default Mail App.

  • Google Apps. But it will cost you $5/month. Mar 27, 2013 at 20:29
  • 2
    You'll continue to get push email via Google Sync on your existing devices. However, you won't be able to set up new devices. So until you get a new iPhone etc. you'll be ok in the short term.
    – binarybob
    Mar 27, 2013 at 21:30
  • 4
    I use the GMail app just for the notifications, but do all my reading, composing, etc. in Mail.app.
    – MattDMo
    Mar 27, 2013 at 23:26
  • 1
    Doesn't IMAP support push?
    – Tuesday
    Apr 3, 2013 at 1:37
  • 1
    @timothymh: as far as I know not on iOS, at least not yet.
    – Tim Büthe
    Apr 3, 2013 at 9:05

10 Answers 10


This is a great question and I hope that it will get a lot of answers.

(For the sake of this discussion I'll assume by 'push' you mean 'near-instant notification of new messages.' IMAP has something called IMAP IDLE which is similar but I don't think iOS supports it, or maybe Gmail doesn't, or both. Anyway, I don't want that term to become a distraction, I just wanted to make it clear that my working definition of 'push' is "not waiting for Mail.app to check for new messages every X minutes." I'm also not going to get into a debate about whether we "should" or "shouldn't" be "tied to our email" or "overuse quotation marks.")

Here are the solutions that I am aware of:

  1. Pay Google: A paid "Google Apps" account will allow you to use ActiveSync.

    • Con: I can't find anything to confirm that you can pay for a Gmail account and get ActiveSync back, so you have to change your email address.
    • Pro: Should work reliably, does not require any 3rd party services.
  2. AwayFind: A paid AwayFind account (pricing information available here: http://awayfind.com/plans.php) will let you get push notifications for messages which match certain. You could set this up to alert you to all of your messages, but my guess is that once you use the service, you'd realize that you really only want alerts for some messages.

    • Pro: much better and more granular control over notifications. Works with Gmail or Google Apps (or Exchange, IIRC)
    • Con: 3rd-party service (That's not a 'con' for me… AwayFind uses Google OAuth for login, so you're not giving them your password). I use and recommend their service, but am not otherwise affiliated with them.
  3. Boxcar: You can forward some/all of your email to Boxcar. I used them before AwayFind. They had some reliability issues a few months(?) ago, but I've heard that's gotten much better. Haven't used them for awhile. I think the iOS
    • Pro: Low cost. App is free with ads, US$5 to remove ads.
    • Con: Potential reliability issue, and requires you to forward your email to a 3rd party.
  • 2
    4. Consider switching to Microsoft Outlook? Pros: It's free. They obviously support EAS natively so you can get push email by forwarding your gmail to outlook then adding it as an Exchange account on the iPhone. Cons: Doesn't support IMAP, at the moment which can make things a bit awkward using pop3 on multiple desktop clients.
    – binarybob
    Mar 27, 2013 at 22:29
  • 1
    5. Use your iCloud email account. Pros: You can forward your gmail to the iCloud account to get push email on the iPhone. Cons: Sent email would originate from the iCloud account and not the gmail account (although I'm not sure if there's a way around that)
    – binarybob
    Mar 27, 2013 at 22:45
  • 1
    I use and love the GMail webinterface and do a lot of iPhone mailing too. So switch away from GMail by forwarding the mails is not an option.
    – Tim Büthe
    Mar 28, 2013 at 0:05
  • This question has definite merit on its own, and "change your email address" seems like, well, a non-answer. It's an option, of course, just not an answer to the question as it was asked :-)
    – TJ Luoma
    Mar 28, 2013 at 1:27
  • @TJLuoma I wasn't necessarily suggesting the OP change their email address, merely trying to solve the problem by essentially "proxying" through another push-enabled service. Yes, you would have to have another account, but this would be mostly transparent on the iPhone as you can set it up so that messages can still be sent to and from the original gmail account (at least using option 4). However, as the OP has pointed out this isn't going to work for them as they'd like to also stick with the gmail web client, which wouldn't really work in this scenario.
    – binarybob
    Mar 28, 2013 at 7:54
  1. Use your iCloud email account.
    • Pros: You can forward your gmail to the iCloud account to get push email on the iPhone.
    • Cons: Sent email would originate from the iCloud account and not the gmail account (although I'm not sure if there's a way around that)

binarybob Mar 27 at 22:45

There is a solution here that will allow that to work, you just need to have the Gmail account setup on the iPhone as well.

  1. Go to Gmail web interface, then to Settings -> Forward Account and add your iCloud email to forward all your emails to. I also chose to mark emails forwarded to read, since I don't use the web interface much.

  2. Setup Gmail on your iPhone like you normally would (skip if it's already on there). But under Settings, do not have it sync emails.

  3. Setup your iCloud account to send using your Gmail address.

    • Setting -> Mail, Contacts, Calendar -> iCloud -> Account -> Advanced Mail -> outgoing mail server -> TURN iCloud SMTP server OFF and turn other SMTP servers on, choosing your smtp.gmail.com settings associated to the appropriate gmail account. HIT DONE.

A few things about this setup... When you go to reply to a message, it will show as if it's sending from your iCloud account, it does not. It is just using the settings you just set that are associated with the iCloud account.

This only works if you don't really use your iCloud account and you only need to reply via one Gmail account. I had several Gmail accounts, but only respond from one, so this is not a big issue for me.

  • I like this solution. Feb 17, 2016 at 4:56

Jailbreak your iOS device if that's an option and let it pull mails more often. 15 minutes may be a long time, but a polling time of one or two minutes might be fine.

This will not give you full push mail, but will be fine for most use cases. Mail isn't for instant messaging, anyway. You might trade some battery time and data transfer for the increased pull time, but when I used a poll time of one minute I didn't notice any substantial loss.

  • Well, I used mail as instant message with my friends, so for me it is.
    – Tim Büthe
    Mar 28, 2013 at 0:06

Mailbox App, By Orchestra, Inc (c)., free at iTunes. Supports push for Gmail. Use Mailbox App for the notification Part and Apple (c) Mail client for processing (reading, forwarding, etc).

  • Is it confirmed that Mailbox pushes mail? I haven't found any evidence online
    – Druska
    Sep 27, 2014 at 0:16

When I got the iPhone 5S, I was quite surprised that I couldn't instantly receive my gmail. I have figured a quick alternative that works for me. I downloaded the google app, set it up, and it is hidden on a different page of my phone. When I get an email, I immediately get notification through the app. It even shows up on the locked screen. Now when I open the phone, I check my iPhone app and it loads the mail. From there I can read, reply or archive (you can't delete anymore). That does however, clear out the mails from the app so I never need to go there. While it's not the perfect world answer, it gives me my instant notification.

Hope that helps!

  • Rob, thanks for your answer. This aproach has one done side: When you get the notification about that new email, and you unlock your phone immediatly, it will take you to the Gmail app.
    – Tim Büthe
    Oct 7, 2013 at 9:43
  • BTW: even with the old iOS/Mail version, the emails were never deleted when you pressed the trash can icon, you can still find them in "All mail". This is the default configuration which can be changed in your Gmail preferences.
    – Tim Büthe
    Oct 7, 2013 at 9:47

I have switched to AltaMail (info) which handles notifications for IMAP, POP & Exchange via either a forwarding address or a Mac/PC application on my own computer. Not quite as simple as Apple Mail but you can add contact sounds and use the calendar to disable for meetings.


I've spent way too many hours on this. As of Today July 10th 2014, if you are on IOS 6, the only FREE solution available to have that precious PUSH instant notification and yet manage the sound alerts without having a slow app (or something that will drain your battery), is to have both Altamail and Gmail installed for 2 different purposes.

I've installed Altamail, then forward my Gmail account to Altamail (by following the instruction they provide), and than, within Altamail, set the email notification the way I want it using filters (the Mail equivalent of VIPs) cuz I dont want to receive an alert for ALL my messages!). Then I put Altamail somewhere on my iphone where I dont see it, cuz I'm actually going to use it only as an app that PUSHES my incoming messages instantly.

Then I install Gmail, log in, and set notification to NONE. I'm actually going to use Gmail all the time, but I dont want their slow and unpredictable push notification system.

Then in my Iphone settings: - I go to Notification and select Gmail and slide the "notification center" button to the left to disable it. - Still in my iphone settings, I go to Altamail and enable banners and sounds.

And that's it!

It sucks that Gmail or Altamail doesnt provide all these simple features. This is the only FREE solution I've found. Gmail isnt good at sending instant incoming messages and Altamail is way too slow when it comes to opening a message or load the entire conversation.

So that way you get both!

Hope this will allow some of you to avoid all the time and energy + useless downloads and useless account creation on many websites + Imap and pop3 information reading I've been through. None of the above solutions really works, even though some of them sound easy and logical (like Icloud or Exchange that dont work anymore)!


If you want to receive Gmail, contacts, and Calendars on your iPhone, you need to set up 3 different accounts in the mail accounts area:

gmail - this will push your mail. Don't bother trying to turn on calendar.

CalDav - This is in the "other" section of mail account, and you just set up the serve as google.com and fill in your gmail account info. This will load your calendar.

CardDav - Same as CalDav set up, and it will load your contacts.

  • Why is this better than enabling all of them at once?
    – daviewales
    May 22, 2013 at 11:26

Suzumail is a paid app that can push gmail to your iPhone.


Gmail app pushes better than any anything available. You just gotta get to know the official Gmail app better, which has improved significantly over the years, and then make an informed decision. Considering the options offered by the official Gmail app bringing in native Gmail webmail features, its definitely better than iOS Mail, though its not as swift in transitions and consumes 60% more battery than iOS Mail.

Its safer and efficient to sync Contacts and Calendars consolidated as a Google account than separately as CalDav & CardDav.

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