Gmail for iPhone Web App: Nice, But I Won't Be Switching


photo1You’ve undoubtedly heard about the new Gmail for iPhone web app by now — but is it worth switching from the native iPhone (s aapl) Mail application? Lifehacker has posted an interesting comparison of features available in the new Gmail (s goog) web app client vs. the native client, and based on the features alone, the web app looks to be the clear winner. In particular, threaded conversations and the powerful search in the web app trump the features available in the native client.

But while it’s clearly a massive improvement over the old version in terms of speed and functionality I’m not going to be switching to it from the iPhone’s Mail app any time soon. The native client does does pretty much everything I need a mobile email client to do and feels faster when moving from one mail to another, so I’m going to continue tapping that “Mail” icon for now.

Having said that, the search feature can be very useful at times, so I’ve added the web app for that one to my home screen for quick access.

Have you switched to the Gmail web app?



The web app is way better. I only use the native mail app as an alternative, but for daily use I always go to the web. Labeling, search and threaded conversation view are more than enough to prefer it. Thanks Google!!

i am husband

I have recently been using the web app for one single reason: the wide keyboard. And because there really isn’t a quality text editor out there (and I use GoogleDocs for most everything now), when I’m doing a lot of writing, it’s not too much of a hassle to send myself an e-mail and then turn it into a Google document later. I just really want that wide screen keyboard.

I do like the other little perks, but for me the big winner is being able to use Safari’s widescreen keyboard.


The mobile Gmail web app has always been superior to the native mail client on the iPhone for the reasons previously mentioned in the comments (and more). Now it is even more superior.

Thanks Google!


My company uses Google Mail as it’s corp email provider. This application works fantastically well, as we use the Google IM/ Talk, shared calendars and shared documents. Sure it’s not seamless, but I now have access to everything I need while being away from the office.

Now, if they can just port it to a dedicated app and add push…

Productivity here I come!

Paul Stone

The thing that keeps me using the built in is the fact that the Gmail mobile interface really doesn’t display HTML newsletter emails well at all (i.e. it doesn’t do the “shrinking” that the iPhone does). For emails with text in, it works really well though as it is much more like the web interface.

Simon Mackie

@Marc I generally do have fairly short conversation threads. My preference probably has to do with the way I use mobile email too. If i was relying on my iphone as my main email client my preferences might be different, but I really only use it to keep tabs on things.

Simon Mackie

@aalexorr just move the mail into “All Mail”, that’s the same as hitting the “archive” button on the web app.


Plus, the web app allows one to ‘archive’ messages. As far as I know, the iPhone only allows me to move messages into virtual (label-based) or real folders.


I’ve never used anything but the webapp. It’s way, *way* better than any client.

The same goes for the desktop.


Unless you have short conversation threads (which means you need to manually cycle through threads to see 1-2 emails each) or must label things while on your phone, I don’t understand why anyone prefers the built in to Gmail’s web interface. I often have long conversation threads and reading a bunch of related emails is infinitely easier that way. I can’t stand having to hit a button every time I want another message (which often isn’t instantaneous). Not to mention that jumps in and out of subjects.

Taryn Merrick

I will probably add the app and have it as a “back up” feature for my iPhone. As a Virtual Assistant, I need to keep a frequent watch on my emails as many are projects or tasks for clients. I funnel all my POP mail through gmail. So the ability to have a search feature is compelling, and while I agree, not a reason to totally switch, it’s a great secondary resource.

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