my iPhone gmail push work around…thanks ymail!

by Justin Horn on Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 1:03 am

I’m a bit disappointed that google, the company that is always trying new things and so heavily integrated with the iPhone, does not offer a gmail push service.

After looking around for a while, I’ve found that yahoo offers push email.  To test it out, I connected to my
15 year old account with my iPhone and it worked like a charm.  Since I didn’t want to receive a barrage of spam, as any 15 year old email account would get, I opted to create a fresh account.  I was happy to find I could choose the same user name as my gmail with their new domain (plus ymail seems cooler and more like gmail).

I’m really impressed with the changes yahoo has done to their email system.  If I wasn’t so heavily “invested” in gmail, with different accounts and sign ups, I would choose ymail over gmail at this point in time.  Because of this investment I have decided to stay with gmail as my main email and use ymail as a secondary account for the push feature.

Then I thought of maybe just forwarding a copy of all my incoming emails to gmail to ymail to give myself gmail “push”.  As I was setting this up I thought, do I really want all my gmails being pushed to my phone?  Gmail does a good job of spamming the junk, but I get a lot of non-important emails from newsletters and similar that I just don’t need to read that bad while trying to navigate the streets of Miami.   My solution?  Gmail filters.

I created filters to only forward emails from certain people and subject lines to my ymail to alert me of “important” messages. Here is how you setup the filter:

Step1 – Email Forwarding Filter
Gmail Filters Step 1

Create one filter based on the “From:” field and enter multiple emails in the following format: OR OR

I also added my main email to the “To:” field as I have multipe emails that forward into my main gmail account so this way I can better narrow down what gets forward out to ymail.  This is defineatly something you can leave blank as the From: is the more important field.

*Please note the OR must be in caps, so like OR and not or

Step 2 – Mark as Read Filter
Gmail Filters Step 2

Setup the filter to mark the message as read after it forwards to ymail.  This will keep the gmail inbox nice and tidy.

Step 3 – Reply from Ymail as Gmail
To reply to the message I would simply view my ymail message and click reply.  Then I just tap the “Cc/Bcc, From” field.  Once you tap this field you will see 3 separate lines for Cc, Bc, and From.  Tap the from email and then you should get a popup from the bottom of the screen to select another account to send from.  Select the account and then click on some other field (To:, Cc:, Bcc:, Subject:) to exit that menu.

Setting this From: also places the sent message in your gmail and not ymail which is nice. From the pervious step of marking the message “as read” by the gmail filter, I will not get a new mail notification when opening the main mail app or gmail inbox on the iPhone which is great since I’ve already read the message in ymail.

It’s not a perfect solution as would be if I could gmail pushing directly, but the ability to filter the messages that get pushed is one little plus to the work around.  So who knows what the future holds for me and my adventures in mobile email?  I may switch to ymail as my primary email…or maybe gmail will get it’s act together with push?  Or maybe I’ll like this filter method so much I’ll just keep using the system I have justsetup now?

Site with lots of info on gmail filters you may want to check out

Follow me on Twitter @justin_horn

View 46 Comments
Featured post, iPhone


  1. messaging bay
    July 23rd, 2008 7:19 pm


    You can use gmail to send SMS alert and chat with friends over SMS.

    look at:

  2. 2.
  3. nerio
    July 24th, 2008 10:23 am

    @messaging bay

    that’s not exactly push email… and it seems like you need to sign up with the service to get the sms… I’ll just wait until google adds push to gmail..

  4. 3.
  5. [...] I’m using ymail to get "push for gmail" and it works perfectly. It might almost be better since I setup filters to only forward email I want to know about immediately to ymail. At this point I don’t know if I would use gmail for push directly if it became available because of this filter technique I’m using. One advantage I have is that I don’t need any contacts or calendar from gmail since that is all done with my exchange account. Here is a blog of what I did in more detail if you are interested: When Will Apple?

  6. 4.
  7. TeqnoHaxor
    August 7th, 2008 12:38 am

    In your guide, your screenshot shows a “Mark as read” filter checkbox, however I have tried setting up filters in two of my GMail accounts and this option is nowhere to be found?

  8. 5.
  9. dizzy
    August 7th, 2008 12:46 am

    That’s weird…I’m located in the US maybe the service is different for other parts of the world (unless of course you are also in the US). I just click Settings > Filters > Create a new filter
    Then enter the stuff in the first screen and click “next” and the next screen it’s the second check box from the top. Luckily this isn’t a deal breaker, just means the new message indicator on the mail icon will come up for the mail in gmail as well as ymail.
    Maybe you can post a screen shot so we can see what your screen looks like?

  10. 6.
  11. [...] sure maybe you could give ymail another try I have all the details of my setup on my blog here: When Will Apple?

  12. 7.
  13. TeqnoHaxor
    August 7th, 2008 2:39 am

    Here’s what my GMail shows:

    BTW Push is actually working, it’s just that when I open GMail is downloading the same e-mails I’ve already received from Yahoo, despite it being set to “Manual”.

  14. 8.
  15. bast
    August 7th, 2008 6:55 pm

    Arf google needs to do it :)

  16. 9.
  17. hav0k
    August 7th, 2008 7:13 pm

    This works perfect for me, but how do you reply using your gmail address on the iPhone?

    When I get an email in my Yahoo mail account on the phone, I open it and tap Reply. The only fields show are To:, Cc:, and Subject:.

    Where do I change what account I want it to come from, so I can make it go to my gmail’s sent box?

    Thanks for the heads up on this, I love it!

  18. 10.
  19. dizzy
    August 7th, 2008 7:33 pm

    Hav0k glad to hear it’s working well for you. After reading my post again I see I kind of rushed through the details of setting the From: address and you probably weren’t the only one that got a bit lost. I have now updated it with more details and even included a screen shot :)

    Let me know if this gets you squared away

  20. 11.
  21. Steve
    August 8th, 2008 6:23 pm

    This is awesome! Thank you so much for posting this. Gmail filters+Yahoo push=win. It works just like you said. I set up per your instructions, and now email sent to my Gmail account from friends is pushed to my iPhone 3g within seconds via yahoo mail. All of my other mail to the Gmail account stays put. Bills due, etc. I didn’t have the “mark as read” option in my setting either, but I set it to archive forwarded mails so they don’t get in the way. I also added a label so those emails go into a “friends folder.”

    One question though. On the filters you added your own email address on the “To:” section. What does that do?

  22. 12.
  23. dizzy
    August 8th, 2008 6:43 pm

    Great, glad you are enjoying the setup! About my own email in the filters I guess I should have explained that… ooops! Going to update this post now to include this, but basically I have some other emails that don’t have a real home, but just FWD to gmail. Gmail let’s you send as if you were sending from these orphaned emails just like they were real. So basically I added this TO filter to better narrow down which emails I wanted FWD to ymail. This probably isn’t really needed for most people.

  24. 13.
  25. hav0k
    August 9th, 2008 12:12 pm

    That’s odd, I don’t see the BCC and From fields at all when I hit reply. Is there a setting I need to turn on to be able to see them? o.O

  26. 14.
  27. dizzy
    August 9th, 2008 12:25 pm

    I don’t think I had to change a setting for that. Do you have both your gmail and ymail accounts setup on your iPhone? You need to have gmail setup on the phone if you want to be able to send from gmail. Also, I’m guessing if you only have one email account setup the From: field doesn’t show up at all becuase there is nothing to select between.

  28. 15.
  29. hav0k
    August 10th, 2008 1:45 pm

    Well, I do have a handful of email accounts set up. I’m just taking a stab in the dark and guessing you’re using the 2.0 firmware? I’m still using 1.1.4, so perhaps those options aren’t available using 1.1.4? Something as simple as a From: and Bcc: field, weird o.O

    Oh well, I just use the ymail as instant email notification, and open the gmail account to redownload the message and reply to it there. Thanks for the ymail help though!

  30. 16.
  31. FrankMurphy
    August 12th, 2008 8:40 pm

    Gmail does offer push through its support of the IMAP IDLE feature, but Apple has not enabled this feature for Gmail in the iPhone’s mail app because they want you to pay for their crappy MobileMe service (which charges you money for doing poorly what Gmail does well for free). The problem is with Apple, not Google.

    It’s true that the iPhone supports push for Yahoo! mail and the workaround you’ve described here is decent, but the problem is that once you’ve set up a Yahoo! mail account, the iPhone’s mail app forces you to use that Yahoo! account’s SMTP server as your default SMTP server (which is why you have to tap ‘from’ and select your Gmail address every time you want to reply to a message, as you’ve shown above). If you set up a MobileMe account, the iPhone’s mail app gives you the option of specifying a different SMTP server as your default SMTP server. The only reason I can think of for this discrepancy is that Apple is using cheap tricks to force Gmail users who want push to pay for MobileMe.

    In any event, eventually someone will come up with a Cydia app that gets around these artificial obstacles erected by Apple and enables IMAP IDLE for Gmail. And they wonder why we jailbreak.

  32. 17.
  33. Jeff
    August 28th, 2008 12:03 pm

    Great idea, so I went to signup at Yahoo. Problem is every time I send a test email from numerous places it takes 20 minutes to 2 hours to receive the pushed message. Pretty bad considering the none pushed email comes in every 15 minutes. My .me is within 10 seconds (though will be canceling that before the trial ends).

    I did opt for a @rocketmail address, not sure if Yahoo may be having any problems today. Could signup for a ymail. I just didn’t like the name cause I bet some people will send to

  34. 18.
  35. dizzy
    August 28th, 2008 12:15 pm

    Jeff, I just tested mine sending from my work account to my gmail then forwarded to ymail and pushed to my iPhone in under 30 seconds. The thing about @ymail isn’t a big deal for me since no one knows this address for me. I don’t plan on sharing the address with anyone or using it to sign up with any websites. I get virtually no spam to this account and it’s nice to view important messages (as I only forward messages from people I want)…even faster than searching on gmail.

  36. 19.
  37. Tathagat
    September 25th, 2008 4:48 am

    Here is a free push gmail email to iPhone solution (notifier).

  38. 20.
  39. imdbh
    October 2nd, 2008 11:46 am

    Thanks for all the good tips. I do have one question though. If one sets up as you have suggested with gmail and ymail then when you reply it’s always from ymail. From what I understand, to reply from gmail or another acct one would have to have those accts active on the iPhone. That means I’m getting double emails since my other accts are being forwarded to gmail and then on to ymail. Any suggestions?

  40. 21.
  41. dizzy
    October 2nd, 2008 12:08 pm

    There really isn’t a way around having both gmail and ymail on your phone. The one thing I did as explained above is to make gmail filter forward it and always mark it as read. So you still have a copy in your gmail and ymail, but when you check your mail app it only shows up as new under ymail. You can do a quick reply from the ymail account as gmail as explained above, but most of the time I don’t need to reply right away and just delete the messages from ymail. If I want to reply later I just find it in my gmail account. Basically just using ymail as an alert system for important emails that come into my gmail. Hopefully in the future gmail will support direct push, but until that happens this is a pretty good work around if I do say so myself :)

  42. 22.
  43. imdbh
    October 2nd, 2008 12:36 pm

    ah, ok. I’ll try that suggestion. Thanks!

  44. 23.
  45. BT
    November 2nd, 2008 6:18 pm

    The push through yahoo is instant for me. I don’t even check it through my yahoo account on my phone. I just use the push to alert me of an email. When I get the push alert, I just go to the appropriate IMAP account and do a manual check. This way I get instant alert and I don’t have to drain my battery unnecessarily with fetching data.


  46. 24.
  47. Alex
    December 22nd, 2008 1:34 pm

    Hey man, thank you SO MUCH for this amazing guide. I was pulling my hair out with the “double notification” on the mail icon, and this really helped me out! I would have never though to make the GMAIL filter.

    Question though: is there a way to make your FROM email address default to gmail, even though you are using ymail?

    Dude this guide is amazing, you are great!!!

  48. 25.
  49. Alex
    December 22nd, 2008 1:37 pm


    I am using POP with university emails to my gmail, which then is forwarding to my ymail

    Any idea on how to add the University emails to the iPhone so that I can reply FROM them? (without double checking the mail?)

    Anyway, like I said thanks again. You should really strive to have this published somewhere notable because I told TONS of friends this idea and they are so happy!


  50. 26.
  51. dizzy
    December 22nd, 2008 3:16 pm

    @Alex So you don’t think When Will Apple is notable? :) Not sure about it getting published anywhere, but at least we come up on the first page of google searches on this topic and have visitors like you to spread the word! Glad you found the guide useful.

    I don’t know any way to have ymail default to the gmail account in the FROM field. I tried deleting the ymail SMTP server account, but it is locked in. If you find a way please let us know so we can update this guide!

    As far as the POP3 account goes I figured out a way to do this…it’s not pretty, but it works. Setup your POP3 account as normal. Then go back and edit the account. Change the Incoming Mail Server – Host Name to something like “off” instead of the valid server. Also, make sure this account is set to manual and not fetch. Now when you go into the main Mail App page to check ymail (or any other accounts) it will not be able to pull any emails for that POP3 account and always be at zero, but you will get an annoying popup that says it can’t connect to “off”. Although in testing this I didn’t always get this popup, so shouldn’t be that big of a deal. One more thing to consider. Most SMTP servers that you POP3 to require you to authenticate. A lot do this simply by keeping your IP as trusted for 15 mins or so after you login to the POP3, but since you aren’t loging into POP3 under this setup you may need to enter your login info in the edit mail account screen for the outgoing mail server on this account.

    Good Luck!

  52. 27.
  53. Brandon
    January 8th, 2009 6:14 pm

    You can avoid the duplication and still have the option to send from your gmail account. First, delete the Gmail account you have in the iPhone mail client. Then set up a new one, but rather than choosing ‘Gmail’ when you’re setting up, choose ‘Other’ and manually enter the servers, etc. When you enter the incoming server ( just put a different username/password in for it, so it will bring in mail from, say, a dummy gmail account that you set up. Then enter the username/password for the gmail account you want to be able to send from in the outgoing server ( Obviously, you won’t be using the same username/password for both the incoming and outgoing. Voila!

  54. 28.
  55. Patrick
    January 16th, 2009 5:11 pm

    I have been using a yahoo account to push my gmail to my iphone for a couple of months and it has been great. However, two days ago, i started receiving all of the spam from my gmail account on my iphone. this was not a problem before and i have not changed any of my settings. I have gmail set up to send all email to yahoo becasue I don’t want to miss anything. Why did the spam filter stop working? The spam is in my spam folder when i log in to gmail. any ideas?

  56. 29.
  57. dizzy
    January 27th, 2009 6:52 pm

    Patrick, are you still having this issue? I have yet to see this happen. I do get some message that match my forwarding filter that go to the spam box, but those are never delivered to ymail. Maybe it has to do with the fact that everything is being forwarded. You should try setting a filter to forward anything sent to your email in the TO: field filter. This will basically forward everything, but will be done with a filter instead of the general forward which should occur after the spam check. Let us know how it works out for you.

  58. 30.
  59. Jamie
    February 3rd, 2009 5:35 pm

    I had the same issue as patrick, just set this up for the first time..
    Have switched it to a filter rather than forwarding all, we’ll see what happens!

    Currently using NuevaSync to sync all contacts and calendars to Gmail – says they’ll soon support push email, can’t wait!

    (For extra geekiness, I have a second calendar setup on gmail which links to a Dopplr account. Because of the OTA sync any event which has a location created in my Travel calendar automatically updates Dopplr with my travel plans :-)

  60. 31.
  61. Harry
    March 19th, 2009 1:34 pm

    Guys, there should be a way to add the yahoo mail account under other, t.e manually set it up, then under outgoing server write down the smtp for google mail.. I´ve been trying this, but having problams getting the settings for the yahoo incoming mail server correct.
    This would actually be the perfect gmail push workaround, without the yahoo smtp at all..

  62. 32.
  63. Justin
    March 19th, 2009 1:40 pm

    Harry, I tried to do exactly what you are saying for a couple days and then gave up. If you figure it out please let us know!

  64. 33.
  65. John
    May 28th, 2009 11:30 pm

    This is an amazing find! I love this to get around the 20 cent per message texting that horrible AT&T charges. I tell my friends to text my gmail, which forwards now to my push Yahoo. This way I get it, but can reply from my gmail. Lovely! Thanks

  66. 34.
  67. Dan
    July 24th, 2009 7:24 pm

    you are the man!!!!!!

    this worked perfectly.

    Also.. as an FYI for anyone in Canada who uses Rogers as your ISP… Rogers and Yahoo are partnered so if you have an email address as I do, you can just use that account to forward all your gmail to as it works with PUSH. Just choose the Yahoo option when creating a new email account on the iphone but put in your rogers email address.

  68. 35.
  69. Julie
    July 28th, 2009 11:53 am

    Hi there, I’ve created the filters as you have instructed above but I don’t know why it doesn’t work. I’m not sure what I have done or not done correctly. But when I set up my gmail to forward all incoming emails to my ymail account, it does work. But I also get the same emails in my gmail account (not as unread). Please help. Do I need to reset something in the forward settings? Or do I simply do as you have instructed above (but it doesn’t do push emails to my ymail). Would appreciate your help. thanks.

  70. 36.
  71. MrPotStirer
    August 7th, 2009 11:40 pm

    I have a 3GS Iphone and followed your instructions. I took my first gmail address and setup my filter. The filter included gmail1 OR gmail2 OR Firstemail I then forwarded it to a ymail account. I also goto my other gmail accounts I setup and forward it to my main account that contains the filter. When I send something from an outside account to one of these I get the email in ymail. When I go to the Iphone and click on the email and CC/BCC and it everything appears, but the From field.

  72. 37.
  73. EmailPush
    April 6th, 2010 9:56 pm

    Hey guys, if you want your gmails pushed right to your iPhone there’s an app now called EmailPush! It shows you who its from the subject and even some of the body. It’s awesome. I’m the developer and I will give out a promo code out to anyone who wants to try it FREE! Just send me an email. You can find my email in the application description in the app store.

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