Yesterday, Google announced that Gmail users who use IMAP (instead of POP) can now synchronize notes created and edited on the iPhone with Gmail. Naturally, my first question was what about Google Apps (name@domain.com) and Google Sync (Exchange) users? Turns out it is indeed possible.


Yesterday, Google announced that Gmail users who use IMAP (instead of POP) can now synchronize notes created and edited on the iPhone with Gmail. Naturally, my first question was what about Google Apps (name@domain.com) and Google Sync (Exchange) users? Turns out it is indeed possible.

Google Apps is easy. If you use IMAP on your iPhone then you just need to turn on Notes. Go to Settings, “Mail, Contacts, Calendars,” select your account, and flip the switch on Notes (see the screenshot below).

Unfortunately, Google Sync users have a couple of extra (counter-intuitive) steps. You already have an Exchange account on your iPhone where you can switch on and off Mail, Contacts, and Calendars. Notes is not an option. You must set up a new IMAP account with your Google Sync credentials and GMail’s IMAP settings:

Incoming Mail Server: imap.gmail.com

Outgoing Mail Server: smtp.gmail.com

Turn off Mail since you already have email set up with Exchange. Turn on Notes (see the screenshot below).

Now, when you use the Notes app to create a note on your iPhone it will appear in your GMail account with the label “Notes.” To access it you must search for “label:notes” or click on your Notes label in the sidebar. Unfortunately, you cannot create notes from your computer by sending yourself an email and then labeling it with “Notes” which makes this a one-way solution. I recommend using Google Tasks or Simplenote if you want the ability to create and edit notes from multiple devices.

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  1. You can create a new note on your Mac by using “New Note” under the file menu of Mail.app… (Control Cmd N)

    1. Haha, posted at exactly the same time!

    2. You need an account set up in Mail.app to do that. What if you use Entourage at work? Or gmail.com? I believe true two-way syncing can be done from any device.

  2. You can in fact sync notes within Apple Mail back to your iPhone using this method. So it is 2-way.

  3. you could do all that… or just use something like <a href-“http://evernote.com>evernote – then you could have notes sync without any work around and you could have geotagged photos as well as audio capture notes

  4. I have been using gmail with imap on my iphone since I’ve had it. I use gpush or 15 minute “fetch” to get my messages. I like how seamless mobile me is, and don’t mind paying for it.

    Is there any advantage (other then push) of using google sync instead of imap on my iphone? Does google sync (exchange) work as well and keep everything the same on all my machines as imap does?

    Just curious what the differences are, and what the pros and cons are of each.

    Also I have heard mixed reviews regarding what drains the batt quicker – push, or fetching. Some say fetching uses the bat quicker since you are always fetching for new messages, and the push is on the server side (google) and only sends you a ‘push’ when their server receives a new message. Then others have said the push uses way more bat because you are always ‘on’…so I’m just curious what you guys think..


    1. Google Sync is AMAZING. It syncs contacts, calendars, and email perfectly. Then what you do is turn on contact syncing in the Facebook app. Facebook will add photos of your contacts to your iPhone, and those photos will be synced to Google. So sweet.

      Push definitely definitely definitely drains the battery. Just fetch every 15 minutes.

  5. How can we shift the notes on the iphone to the notes that are categorized under an email address so that they are synced there. is there a fast way?

  6. or you could just tick the sync notes box in itunes, rather than doing this…

  7. Hi david…i read ur post n i configured a separate imap ac. for gmail
    as advised but i dn get at the option to toggle the mail n notes function..
    I evn have an xchange a.c for google…
    I need the notes to sync with gmail asap as im gettin the new iphone…
    Plz help buddy

  8. I’m developing a desktop and mobile solution that syncs notes with Google Docs instead of through Gmail IMAP. The desktop version is currently available and the iPhone version is coming soon. Check it out at http://www.notesync.com.

  9. After downloading the newest SW version, I no longer have the notes option. I only have mail and calendar. How can I get it back?!

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