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Review: New Gmail app for iOS is a mixed bag

Review: New Gmail app for iOS is a mixed bag

The Google Maps app isn’t the only new Google app for users of Apple mobile devices. There’s also a new, free Gmail app that provides users with a clearer presentation and additional controls, compared with the iOS e-mail app. Unfortunately, I find Gmail for iOS also has some drawbacks compared with that integrated app.

Apple iOS already does a pretty good job with Gmail, providing access to your folders and also allowing you to add multiple accounts. You can view Gmail inboxes individually or in a mix with inboxes from your other accounts.

What’s missing is the ability to change settings, such a programming a vacation responder or having the ability to change your signature. In addition to the Apple e-mail app’s ability to delete, move, or mark selected e-mails, the new Gmail app allows you to label your e-mails and report spam.

Unfortunately, though, you can view only one Gmail account at a time on the new app. Also, the Gmail app won’t recognize and hotlink embedded phone numbers and addresses, as it can on other platforms, to allow you to call the sender or find their address on a map by just tapping that text. (The iOS e-mail app does this, too—even for Gmail accounts.) Another quibble: If you’ve added several Gmail accounts but want to remove one of them, you have to sign out of all of them first, then sign in again.

Bottom line: The Gmail app is a pleasure to use, thanks to great-looking fonts and some convenient controls. But as long as it lacks access to contacts, calendar, and other iOS data sources, you may also want to stay logged into your Gmail accounts via the iOS e-mail app.

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