App review: Gmail for iOS
Version 2.0 of the Gmail app looks better and performs faster than its predecessor
- Clean interface
- Support for five accounts
- Label integration
- Fast load time
- Very limited settings
Now that it has support for up to five accounts, Gmail is the way to go for users of the service. It’s free, runs fast, and looks better than its predecessor.
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Since the Gmail app was first launched for iOS, it gave no real incentive to switch over from Apple’s default Mail app, especially because it could only house one account. Version 2.0 has not only given the app a rejuvenated look and improved operating speeds, but finally added multi-account compatibility. Unfortunately, Google still hasn’t done much on the settings front for smartphone users.
The Gmail app is well constructed, and mirrors the desktop experience for the most part. The interface is simple and organised. The black and white scheme is helpful, particularly as it allows photos, labels, and other important features to be noticeable. It’s a significant improvement over the previous version which appeared cluttered and congested in comparison.
Each email has been given three lines, which is enough to see the sender’s name, title, and a very brief preview. It makes emails easy to look through, although an option to collapse this previewed view to just a headline could be a useful feature for a busy inbox. On the left of each email is a check-box, and the right features the date (or the time if was received on the current day), a star which can be checked, and the label (if the user has added one). If an email is ticked, a small menu appears from the bottom of the screen with relevant options: mark read/unread/spam, mute, label, move, archive, and delete.
The menu can be accessed by tapping the designated button in the top left. This allows you to go through folders. The settings button is visible once the menu is open, although there isn’t much to do there. You can set a mobile signature or choose to use your desktop one (but you cannot customise the latter), as well as enable a holiday responder, but that’s it.
The search bar, which appears at the top of every folder, has been upgraded to show predictions as you type.
The best feature of the new Gmail app is support for up to five accounts. Once logged in, you can head to the menu, tap the name of the account you’re currently in (this appears clearly at the top), and this will brings up all of your accounts. Simply select the one you want.
Google has managed to integrate labels well. Application is simple: tick the email, tap the up arrow, tap ‘label’, and make your selection. This might seem like a long process, but only takes a few seconds. While they are good to use in the app, they cannot be customised on a smartphone.
Overall, the app loads and operates quickly and we didn't notice any of the jitter and delay that can be found in other optimised apps. This will depend on the handset that you use though.
Requirements: iOS 5
Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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