Gmail

Chapter 7: Offline and mobile access to mail

Table of Contents

Access Apps without an Internet connections

Offline Mail Overview

Working offline with Google Chrome

Switching between offline and online

Offline data storage

How much data is synchronized?

Connection status

Alternate Access to ‘Offline Mail’

Access Apps mail and tasks from your mobile phone

Mobile phone access

Mobile Web Browser

Mobile App for Smartphones

Mobile App for iOS4+

Mobile sync with POP/IMAP

Access Apps without an Internet connections

Offline Mail Overview

Web-based email is great because you can check it from any computer, but there's one little catch: it's inherently limited by your Internet connection. From public WiFi to mobile broadband cards to fledgling in-flight wireless on airplanes, Internet access is becoming more and more ubiquitous -- but there are still times when you can't access your webmail because of an unreliable or unavailable connection.

Fortunately, there’s a Chrome App that gives you access to your mail when you’re offline. Offline Google Mail is a Gmail app built to support offline access, allowing mail to be read, responded to, searched and archived without network access. After first start-up, Gmail Offline will automatically synchronize messages and queued actions anytime Chrome is running and an Internet connection is available. More than just an offline app, the streamlined user interface, based off Gmail’s popular tablet interface, provides extremely fast response time with a pure, email focused experience.

Working offline with Google Chrome

When you want to use Gmail and you don’t have a network connection, you can access your synchronized messages through the Google Chrome app. Your data will synchronize in the background while you’re working online, so when you’re offline, you’ll have the information you need backed up. If you close Google Chrome while you're online, sync will stop at that time.

You’ve probably noticed that this version of Gmail looks different from the Gmail you’re used to using. You can use the Menu button to access your labels. When you’re reading messages, you can find familiar actions (like “reply all” or “label”) at the top right, under the double downward arrows:

There’s also an option to switch between different Gmail accounts. Not all Gmail features are available offline.

The next time you connect to the Internet, pending actions in your account like sending mail, archiving, labeling, or starring messages will happen automatically. Keep in mind that if you’re working offline in your browser and then you later access Gmail from a different browser or device, you won’t see the changes you made offline until the offline browser syncs.

Switching between offline and online

Depending on your work preferences, you can switch to offline Gmail when you’re in an area with a flaky Internet connection, or you might want to use the Gmail Offline for Chrome app as your primary version if you spend a lot of time offline.

If you work in Gmail offline when you have a slow network connection, it can help keep Gmail responsive, and your changes that require an Internet connection will be synchronized in the background

Offline data storage

Your mail syncs to your Google Chrome browser’s storage on the computer on which you install the app. This means that it could potentially be accessible by anyone with access to your browser. For your protection, make sure not to install Gmail Offline for Chrome on a public or shared computer.

Enabling Gmail Offline for Google Chrome on one computer doesn’t enable it for any other browser, or on any other computer you use. You can still use Gmail on the web on other computers, via Google Chrome or other browsers, without syncing, even if you’ve installed the app on your personal computer. Learn more about how synchronization works.

You can remove offline data from your browser's storage when you don’t need it anymore. Just follow these steps:

  1. Type chrome://settings/cookies into your address bar and press enter
  2. Search for mail.google.com
  3. Hover over the search results and click the X that appears

Keep in mind that uninstalling the Chrome app will not delete offline data from your computer.

How much data is synchronized?

Gmail will synchronize your most recent conversations along with any conversations that seem to be important (regardless of their age). Here's a sketch of how these messages are selected:

Connection status

When you’re working offline, you’ll see a message in the lower left part of the screen. It will show your connectivity status and indicate when Gmail last checked for a connection. Gmail will periodically check to see if a connection has become available and automatically reconnect you when possible.

Alternate Access to ‘Offline Mail’

Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Click the settings gear, then select Mail Settings
  2. Next click the Offline tab and select the Launch Gmail Offline link

Access Apps mail and tasks from your mobile phone

Mobile phone access

In addition to accessing Apps mail from your computer when you're not connected to the Internet, you can also access Apps mail from the mobile web browser on your phone.

Google doesn't charge you to access Google products from a mobile phone, but depending on your service plan, you may be charged by your mobile provider for text message or data network usage. Check with your provider for more information about fees associated with accessing the Internet from your mobile phone.

Because mail is a data intensive product, we recommend an unlimited data plan.

Depending on the type of mobile device you have, you may be able to access your Apps mail account in up to three different ways:

1. Browser

2. App

3. Sync - Reviewed in Chapter 5 »

Learn more about the options on the left to help you find the method that suits you and your mobile device best.

Related videos:

Mobile Web Browser

Apps mail for mobile browsers offers a number of great features:

To access your school Apps mail account, go to http://mail.google.com/a/myschool.org, replacing 'myschool.org' with your actual domain name or whatever your email address is for you@myschool.org.

When accessed in a mobile browser, Gmail is not automatically refreshed.

To refresh your current view, you'll need to do it manually. For example, if you'd like to refresh your inbox, select 'Reload' or 'Refresh' from your browser's main menu. You can also select the Inbox link at the bottom of the page to trigger a refresh.

Tip: on Android or iPhone devices, tap the word Inbox in the title bar, or tap the refresh button.

Multiple sign-in support

Just like on your desktop, you can now to sign into multiple accounts simultaneously. To sign into an additional account, click on the account switcher at the bottom of the threadlist, then click ”Sign into an another account.” You can quickly switch between accounts by selecting the desired account from the Accounts menu.

Mobile-specific signature

We know that autocorrect and other mobile spell-checks can be frustrating as you are typing on the go. Let coworkers friends know that you are responding via your mobile phone so that they understand why you might have sent a message that you are meeting for "common core" and not "commodore". It's an easy way to make them understand why your message might be short or have a few typos. To create a mobile signature, from the menu view, press the new settings icon, choose your signature, and then check the box that tells us you want to activate it. If you ever want to disable the mobile signature, you can uncheck the box and we will use your desktop signature instead.

Vacation Auto-Responder

Ever forgotten to set your out-of-office auto-reply in Gmail before going on a trip? You don’t have to worry about that anymore, since you can now set your auto-reply using the mobile interface. Simply choose a start and end date and specify your message, just like on the desktop interface.

Mobile App for Smartphones

For some supported mobile devices, you can download the 'Gmail for mobile' application which you can use with your school Apps mail account.

The Gmail for mobile application is an email program from Google that you can install on a supported mobile device. Like Apps mail in your phone's browser, the Gmail app keeps all your actions in sync with the Apps mail server but is faster and offers support for checking multiple accounts. To download the app, point your mobile device's browser to http://m.google.com/mail.

The Gmail for mobile application is an email program from Google that you can install on a supported mobile device. Like Apps mail in your phone's browser, the Gmail app keeps all your actions in sync with the Apps mail server but is faster and offers support for checking multiple accounts. To download the app, point your mobile device's browser to http://m.google.com/mail.

If you have an Android device, your phone most likely came with a preinstalled Gmail application, which offers features similar to the Gmail application on other devices but adds support for push email. In order to have this Gmail application work with your school Apps mail account, you must have the entire phone set-up with your school Apps account (you@myschool.org and not me@gmail.com).

Mobile App for iOS4+

The Gmail app is available in the App Store for any iOS 4+ device. The app includes the following features:

Mobile sync with POP/IMAP

If you prefer to use your mobile device's native email client - like the mail software installed on the iPhone or Windows Mobile phone, you can integrate your school Apps mail address with your device using IMAP or POP.

Review Chapter 5 for more information on IMAP and POP access. Make sure your device is supported for IMAP sync. Gmail does not support mail sync via Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync or SyncML at this time.

More information for your phone: http://www.google.com/support/mobile/bin/topic.py?topic=13545