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How to add push alerts to Sparrow for iPhone

Sparrow for iPhone launched today missing push alerts, an essential e-mail capability. Boxcar now comes equipped with Sparrow integration, which allows for an easy workaround.

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If you are familiar with the popular push alert app, Boxcar, you'll already know it's capable of providing push alerts for a healthy list of different services. One of the more interesting features of Boxcar is the capability to customize the app that is opened with each alert.

For example, if you're using a Twitter app that lacks push, you can use Boxcar to alert you of new Mentions, then set it to open the Twitter app instead of Boxcar when the alert is received (assuming the app is supported by Boxcar).

After posting about the release of Sparrow earlier today, Boxcar let me know they had integrated Sparrow, which was great to hear. With a lack of push alerts in Sparrow, it only seems fitting for Boxcar to integrate Sparrow into its e-mail alerts.

  1. To get started you will need to download the free Boxcar app from the App Store, if you don't have it already.
  2. Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET
  3. You will need to add the e-mail service to your Boxcar account. Scroll down the list of services until you find the E-mail Account option. Select it.
  4. Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET
  5. You will want to change the Opens section from Boxcar to Sparrow. You can also change the sound that is made when an alert is received, as well as the alert style. The default alert style is to display the full e-mail in the alert, so if you prefer more privacy, make sure to change it.
  6. Save your settings when you are done. An e-mail will then be sent to your account e-mail address providing you with the instructions to finish setting up Boxcar e-mail alerts.

    In the e-mail you receive from Boxcar, you will be given a unique e-mail address to use in setting up your alerts. You will then need to go into your e-mail account settings and forward incoming e-mails to the Boxcar address. If you receive a lot of e-mail, or even if you just want to save some sanity, you can set up e-mail filters to only forward e-mails based off of sender or subject.

  7. Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET
  8. Once you have set up forwarding to your Boxcar e-mail address, have a friend send you a test e-mail. If all is working properly, you will receive a Boxcar alert that will then launch into Sparrow once you open it.

A little weary about forwarding your e-mails to Boxcar? I can't say I blame you, but if it makes you feel any better, Boxcar only keeps the sender and subject line of any e-mail forwarded to the service.

It's not a perfect solution, and sure it involves some extra steps, but for those who can't live without push, it will work.