in Technology

Getting push email on the iPhone

The iPhone does some really remarkable things and has some amazing features. One feature I really wanted to get working was push email. Not only for the increased battery performance, but for the reason the Blackberry was given the more descriptive name of Crackberry.

I heard that Yahoo provides push mail for the iPhone, so I decided to try it out. Setting it up was very easy, and push actually seems to work – that is if you aren’t forwarding your email. Yahoo Mail doesn’t push mail where the To address doesn’t match, even though the envelope address is correct. The basically means that push works fine if you are only using your Yahoo email address directly, but not if you are forwarding email from somewhere else, like Gmail.

Not being satisfied with the Yahoo solution, I started looking elsewhere. MobileMe started looking better and better, so I finally caved in and signed up for a trial. Email push works excellent so far, but I expect nothing else from Apple. It seems to push email being forwarded from other accounts too!

The one area where MobileMe lacks, and this is a big one, is the support for custom email domains. If you have your fancy personal domain, you of course want to use it for email, but there is no good way of doing thing with MobileMe! Google Apps is currently lightyears ahead of Apple in this department.

The scenario looks like this: I use Google Apps for email, but a filter in Gmail forwards the email to MobileMe and marks it as read in Gmail. MobileMe then pushes this to my iPhone, and when I reply, I just choose the Google account as the sender. This requires that you enable both email accounts in your iPhone. That is why I mark the email as read in the filter – otherwise it would eventually be seen by the Mail app in the iPhone as an unread email.

This is a bit awkward, I know, but the only real alternative is setting up your own Exchange server. (or waiting for Google to get their act together and supporting push for the iPhone)



  1. Seems like a quite expensive solutions just to get push. Consider using Prowl together with AppGmail. Just leave a server running somewhere and have it run a custom python IMAP idle script (google and you shall find 🙂 and forward all IMAP notifications directly to your phone. Otherwise, you probably already know that Google activated ActiveSync for their accounts, a very nice solution as well.