The iOS Gmail situation is an unmitigated nightmare of epic proportions
I'm not saying anything new here, and I levy this exact same complaint every time I use an iPhone. Please, just allow me to vent for a moment.
I have two Gmail accounts: one personal, one for work. I take advantage of many (but not all) Gmail-specific features like archival, conversation view, labeling, and so on.
Here are my horrible, disgusting options.
- "Gmail" accounts in Mail.app. Pros: if you're willing to tap and hold a bunch of times, you can eventually get to a menu where you can choose between archival and deletion. Cons: doesn't push in realtime; interface is deeply inefficient and frustrating for anyone accustomed to Gmail's web view and/or Android app; can't access archive/delete menu from the swipe gesture on individual emails or conversations; takes a billion taps to switch accounts; can't choose different reply-to addresses (which I use extensively).
- Exchange accounts in Mail.app. Con: can't choose between archival and deletion. Showstopper.
- Official Gmail app. Pros: notification support; attachment support; looks familiar to a Gmail user. Con: no multiple account support. Showstopper, and an embarrassing one at that.
- Sparrow. Pros: supposedly quite good. Cons: no 4-inch display support, no notifications, and — oh yeah — it's a dead product. Showstopper.
- Gmail web view. Thank goodness Google has put some effort into its web view for iOS, because I end up falling back on it daily. Pros: looks and works like you expect Gmail to work; seamless multiple account support. Cons: it's a web app; no notifications; no real attachment support.
Unfortunately, people seem to be "okay" with these options. When I raise hell about the situation, I'm often told "most people aren't email power users like you are," "it's Google's fault for breaking compatibility with email standards and conventions" or "not everyone uses Gmail." That's not acceptable to me. Apple has made virtually no attempt to move the email needle in the same way Gmail has in the past decade — when I open Mail.app, I feel like I'm looking at a circa-2000 philosophy of how email is supposed to work and look.
All of these options are deeply flawed and will eventually chase me from the iPhone and back to Android, just as they do every year.