Best Practices for Using Google Apps with iPhones and iPads
These days it’s pretty rare to walk outside and not run into people staring down at their phones or tablets, madly typing away. No doubt about it, we have all become incredibly reliant and attached to our gadgets. Smartphones now account for over 50% of the mobile market with 90% of that being either Android or iOS devices. Today I’d like to highlight best practices for using Google Apps in conjunction with iOS devices (iPhones, iPads, even iPods).
There are two main ways to access your Gmail account using the built-in mail client in iOS:
- Create an account by selecting Gmail. The advantage of this route is that it’s very simple to do (as easy as entering your username/password) and it will begin syncing everything. The downside is that you do not get your mail/contacts/calendars pushed to your device immediately. Push allows Google’s servers to update you instantly with any new developments as opposed to having your phone manually check the server at different set intervals (options are 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour or off/manual).
- The other choice is to set it up using the exchange protocol. Using this method will allow you to receive push updates which means as soon as your colleague sends out a calendar invite for that meeting at 2, you’ll get a notification. This does require a bit more setup but in the latest version of iOS it's been simplified. This is definitely the preferred method with Google Apps. One of the only downsides is that any application using push notifications will drain your battery (as its constantly communication with the server) but it isn’t a substantial hit.
Set up Google Sync with your iOS device
- Another option to consider is using Google’s new and improved gmail app. It works really well and has the clean minimal style Google is known for in their iOS design. There are a lot of cool features such as being able to swipe between messages instead of hitting the inbox button each time. The only downside is that you no longer have the unified inbox that the default mail client offers.
Official Gmail App
Being able to have all my documents synced up and on the go is an absolute lifesaver. If your team has yet to switch your fileserver to Google Drive, I highly recommend one of our previous blogs: Can Google Drive replace your file server?
Google released their drive app last year and has added some amazing features in the past couple months. Very similar to the web version, you can upload files, access anything in your my drive or shared with me folders, make changes to documents, collaborate with other users in real time and more. Another great feature they recently added is the ability to sync files for offline usage.
Whether you set up your Google Apps account via the regular Gmail method or via exchange, you will have the ability to sync your calendars. Being able to view colleagues schedules is a definite must for most organizations. By default, your iOS device will sync only your primary calendar but within a few simple steps you can customize which users you would like to see and/or edit.
Similar to Calendars, you will have the option of syncing contacts when setting up your mail account using the native mail client. Your regular contacts will show up as a separate folder that can be viewed in the same list as your icloud contacts. You will also have an option to search through your global address list by accessing that within the contact groups panel.
A few other recommended Google related downloads.
Google Chrome – Great alternative to Safari, allows you to sync your account and import your bookmarks.
Google Voice – Call folks with your custom number on the go.
Google Maps – Obligatory choice for navigation, sync with your account to pull contacts and view history.