What's the Best Way to Access Gmail on an iPhone?

Google finally (finally!) released a native iOS app for Gmail today. Now, millions of iPhone users are debating whether to switch from however they were checking their mail to the new app. Let's review the options.

  • Many people simply ran Gmail into Apple's email client. This works well enough, but you lose some of Gmail's special features. For example, the handling of Gmail's "Important" messages leaves a lot to be desired. And, of course, Apple's native app still doesn't let you attach images from within the email writing pane.
  • Others used the Gmail web client, which retained many of the desktop web's features, but somehow never felt polished. The lack of true offline compatibility is also annoying to anyone who takes the subway.
  • There are some third-party apps, but none seems to have conquered the market. 
  • Now, the new official Gmail app.

I see the new Gmail app as a mild improvement over both the native Apple client and the Gmail web app. It's not going to blow your mind, but the switching costs are pretty low, too. You can use it for a while and then switch back if you find tics that annoy you. For me, the ability to attach images to in-progress emails combined with the passable UI mean that it'll probably become my default, even given all its flaws.

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