Friday, 16 November 2012

Push email to your iPhone like a BlackBerry




In this article you will find a solution for getting existing POP email delivered to your iPhone instantly via PUSH a bit like the BlackBerry experience


If you are reading this I guess you have an iPhone or you are thinking about moving to an iPhone. Perhaps you are thinking about making a move from BlackBerry but you are unsure because you have become reliant on the BlackBerry push email technology.  I too have recently been in this position having switched to an iPhone and then after much frustration returned back to my BlackBerry 9900 for the better battery life and email service.  This however was short lived and I have now switched back to the iPhone.  After much research I have discovered a solution that has addressed all of my initial frustrations with it, especially as a business device.   If your business has made a decision to move to iPhone’s then do not despair.

For the benefit of any readers who may be less knowledgeable about all of this, here’s a bit more background on what it’s about before we get down to the different steps on setting this up.

The main issues I had with the iPhone as a business user

As a business user, I need my phone to last the whole day, get my email, allow me to make those important calls, use the apps I need and never have to worry about my phone running out of juice.  The issues that I had were mainly with battery life and email handling.  On days out I had to turn off many iPhone features that I wanted to use and all this to save valuable power.  As soon as I discovered that the battery drain for me was mostly being caused by it fetching email every 15 minutes, I knew what I had to address.  I have several email addresses so it was a longer process over 3G or EDGE each time it checked for new mail. Wi-Fi isn’t always available when you’re on the move is it.

A bit of background about email types POP and ‘PUSH’


PUSH email is sent to the device as soon as it hits your mail server.  The device does not need to keep checking.  This is where BlackBerry have a great product and service.  As far as I know BlackBerry servers also compress the data, which is something I don’t believe the iPhone will do, however the process of getting those messages instantly is the same.  Just be sure to check your data plan with your mobile network to make sure you don’t go over your data allowance.

POP email accounts do not work with PUSH even though it may be switched on in the iPhone settings.  POP email manually checks the server for new mail at various intervals and then retrieves new messages to your device for you. 

For PUSH email to work on the iPhone, you need an email service provider who supports PUSH such as Gmail or Apple’s iCloud.  There are others.

So which email service provider is best for me?

There is debate over the best email provider supporting PUSH, which I’m not going to discuss here but the principle is similar whichever you choose.  Reliability of service and security of your data is probably the most important issue with any service.

As we are dealing with the iPhone, I personally decided to go with Apple’s iCloud as my PUSH email provider having tested it out.  It is also currently free of charge up to 5 GB of storage.  It does a great job at pushing the email, webmail is simple when accessing it from a desktop computer plus the iCloud service is integrated in the new iOS and Mac OS X 10.8.2 (Mountain Lion).  If you are working with apple products and can understand how they all work together, they’re simple, save time and seem reliable so far.  They’re support via AppleCare, if you have it, is also great if you do run into any technical problems.

So how do I get PUSH email to work on the iPhone with my existing email accounts?


Note: This will only work if the forwarding option is available with your existing email service provider.

What you need

There are two things you will need to make this work.

  1. An Apple ID (iTunes account).  If you have an iPhone, you will already have an Apple ID.  This is the account you use to purchase apps, music, films etc
  2. An iCloud email address.  To do this, on your iPhone go to SETTINGS > ICLOUD and login with your Apple ID.  This will create an account with iCloud and then allow you to choose a new email address for iCloud e.g. yourname@icloud.com Once you have iCloud activated you can login here www.icloud.com to login and access all iCloud features from your desktop computer, including mail.

How it works

Now that you have an iCloud email address, any email that goes to that address will be pushed to the iPhone or I guess, any other Smartphone device that support PUSH with the correct setup.

So to get incoming mail (that has been sent to your existing email address) pushed across to your iPhone from perhaps your hotmail, AOL, BT connect, business domain etc, first you need to forward a copy of those emails to your new iCloud email address.  You then setup your iPhone mail settings with the iCloud server, which is possible in several different ways.

So it works like this…

An email is set to John@myowndomainwrittenhere.com

                    / Your server FORWARDS it to yournamehere@icloud.com

                                                 / Your iCloud inbox pushes it to your device inbox


Setup Instructions and Options


IMPORTANT – I assume in these instructions that you still want to receive a copy of your emails on your desktop computer as normal.  This is dependent on whether your email provider allows you to keep a copy on the server when using forwarding.

STEP 1 – iPhone mail settings


Decide on Option 1 or Option 2 below and read the relevant section

Setup Option 1
Use basic iCloud features on iPhone with PUSH
Replies to incoming mail sent from the iPhone will be from your new iCloud email address

Setup Option 2
Use iCloud to benefit from pushed emails
Replies to incoming mail sent from the iPhone will be from one of your existing email addresses

OPTION 1

I trust you now have iCloud activated and that you have registered an iCloud email address as already mentioned.  If not, go back to the ‘What you need’ section above.

iPhone setup


  1. On your iPhone go to - Settings > iCloud > Login with Your Apple ID > Switch Mail to ON
  2. Then go to your iPhone’s main screen and open the Mail App and you will now see iCloud under inboxes and also Accounts
  3. If you delete and organise mail on the device it will also be deleted from the iCloud and vice versa

Your device is now setup to function as described in Option 1.  All replies to emails will be from your iCloud email address, not from your existing email address that the sender used.

Now you can test the push feature by sending an email to your iCloud email address.  You may need to manually open the Mail app on the iPhone the first time to create the connection.  All future emails should then be pushed to your device automatically.

NEXT STEP - PLEASE GO TO THE FINAL SECTION ON MAIL FORWARDING

OPTION 2

I trust you now have iCloud activated and that you have registered an iCloud email address as already mentioned.  If not, go back to the ‘What you need’ section above.

iPhone setup
  1. On your iPhone go to Settings > iCloud > Turn the mail option to OFF
  2. Back to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  3. Add account > Other
  4. Add mail account
  5. New Account
  6. Name = Your name  as you want it shown in the inbox of those receiving your mail
    • Email = Your existing email address e.g. your business domain or BT connect etc.
    • Password = The password of that same email account e.g. BT connect etc
    • Description = iPhone mailbox name e.g. My email via cloud
  7. Next
  8. IMAP should be selected (NOT POP)
  9. Incoming Mail Server
    • Host Name = imap.mail.me.com
    • User Name = yourname@icloud.com (insert your iCloud email address)
    • Password = Associated iTunes account password
  10. Outgoing Mail Server
    • Host Name = The outgoing mail server of your existing email e.g. BT connect
    • User Name = The username of your existing email account e.g. BT connect 
    • Password = The password of your existing email account from e.g. BT connect
  11. Next (continue if it can’t verify the server details so long as you are 100% certain they are correct)
  12. Save
  13. Go back to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data
  14. Now turn Push ON and tick Manually under the Fetch options below
  15. Then go to your iPhone’s main screen and open the Mail App and you will now see your new email inbox under inboxes and also Accounts
  16. If you delete and organise mail on the device it will also be deleted from the iCloud and vice versa
Your device is now setup to function as described in Option 2.  All replies to emails will be from your existing email address e.g. BT connect or whichever you chose to be your reply address. These will not be sent from your iCloud address.  NOTE: If you forward email from several different email addresses to the iCloud address, all replies will show as coming from your chosen email address in the setup procedure above step 5.

Now you can test the push feature by sending an email to your iCloud email address.  You may need to manually open the Mail app on the iPhone the first time to create the connection.  All future emails should then be pushed to your device automatically.

NEXT STEP - PLEASE GO TO THE FINAL SECTION ON MAIL FORWARDING


FORWARDING

Step 2 - Forwarding all existing emails to your iCloud address


IMPORTANT: - Make sure your email client on your desktop computer (e.g. Outlook) is setup to leave a copy of your email on the server for at least a few days otherwise you may not receive all of your email on your iPhone if you, a colleague or a family member uses your desktop while you are out.

Now that your phone is ready to receive email you need to setup a forward from each email account that has mail you want received on your phone.  You may have one or even ten different email addresses that people use to contact you.

Still want email to arrive on your desktop?

For me, it was important that every email I am sent arrives not only on my iPhone but also on my office and home computers.  In this case, you must make sure you setup your email forward to keep a copy of forwarded messages.  This is normally a tick box.

How to setup a forward


To do this you need to go to the mail server where your various email address settings are accessible.  Using BT connect as an example, I had to do the following:


  1. Go to myoffice.bt.com and login to my account using their webmail service
  2. Go to my account settings / options
  3. Find the forwarding options (On BT connect it was under Connected Accounts)
  4. Type in my iCloud email address where the mail will be forwarded to
  5. Tick the box ‘Keep a copy of forwarded messages’ (This allows my desktop to also receive them)
  6. Save and logout

It may take a few minutes for the forward to activate.

Contact your email provider or administrator for direction if you need it. 

Done!

That’s it.  You should now have an iPhone that thinks it’s a BlackBerry (at least with it’s email).


FAQ


Q. Can I set this up iCloud / iPhone Push for multiple accounts i.e. so that I can send email from more than one of my email addresses, e.g. to reply to business email using my company address and personal from my personal address??

A. The quick answer is NO.  It is only possible to setup one inbox on the iPhone using the above method with iCloud.  You would need more than one iCloud email address to do this and Apple only issue one iCloud address per Apple ID as used for iTunes. I guess you would have to setup another Apple ID for this purpose however you would need to check Apple’s Terms & Conditions.  I take no responsibility for that one!

LINKS:


Link to Apple’s iCloud mail server settings http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4864?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US

These recommended steps worked for me and I now have many email addresses forwarded to my iPhone in real time as I did with my BlackBerry.  My experience so far is that my iPhone battery is lasting longer allowing me to leave other apps etc. on whilst out and about.

I do not give any guarantees that this will help your battery life as it is dependent on too many other factors such as how many accounts you have, how much email you receive and which other apps and settings you have active on your iPhone at any one time.

If battery life is still an issue for you, checkout the iPhone covers you can buy with an external battery built into the case.  Type the phrase ‘iPhone external battery case’ into a search engine and you’ll see a multitude of products on offer.

These settings worked for me.  If you follow these steps you do so at your own risk and I accept no liability if you find them not to work as intended, or you create problems due to errors made in the setup process, or due to future changes made by any service or service provider after the date this article was written.

Please feel free to add comments below.  I hope you find this information useful.

Steve @ Wholestone

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