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Gmail for iOS review: More reasons to have two email apps

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The Good The official Gmail app for iOS from Google makes browsing your email easy, and being able to launch other Google apps from within email is convenient.

The Bad There is no unified inbox view for people with multiple Gmail accounts.

The Bottom Line The official Gmail app is a solid option with multiple account support, integration with Google apps, and more features that bring the app closer to the Web-based client.


8.5 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 8
  • Interface 9
  • Performance 9

Editors' note: This review was updated October 6, 2014, with the latest features in version 3.1415926.

Gmail for iOS, Google's official e-mail client for iOS, has evolved over time into a strong offering. And the tweaks keep coming -- the latest version now works with the larger screens on both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus without zooming.

Obviously, the Mail app that comes with your iPhone lets you connect to Gmail accounts (as well as several other services), but with the official app from Google you'll get a few more options that you may have come to rely on using Gmail.

Getting set up

Starting with the basics, once you're logged into your account, you'll get a view of your inbox with a Menu button in the upper left and a "compose email" button in the upper right. Just below that (and above your inbox), there's a search field you can use to search all your email.

As you would expect, Gmail for iOS has most of the basic tools found in the browser-based version. You can read mail and browse through threaded conversations, keep track of important messages in a priority inbox, and organize your mail using starred messages, labels, and archive features. Other features include autocompleting contact names as you type, sending and receiving attachments, an infinite scrolling inbox, and Gmail's excellent search functions. You also can use and manage multiple Gmail accounts; respond to Google Calendar invites within e-mail messages; and search features include predictive text as you type for quick inbox searches.

Google links launch Google apps

Features added in previous updates let you launch the appropriate Google app (if you have it installed on your iPhone) instead of launching a default Apple app when you touch a link in an e-mail. This means that a YouTube link will automatically open the YouTube app, a Google Maps link will automatically open Google Maps, and a Web URL will open Chrome. This is a departure from what we usually see from Apple, which historically has been pretty particular about developers using the core Apple apps already on your iPhone.

I definitely prefer that it automatically opens YouTube and Google Maps rather than browser-based versions, but I'm fine with Safari for most links. Fortunately, you can pick and choose which Google apps will launch automatically by turning any of these behaviors on or off in the Gmail app settings.

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