Many people like the idea of using Gmail as the default mail app on their iPhone or iPad, instead of Apple’s iOS Mail app. However, they quickly run into trouble when they go to share a link from Safari or a file from another app and find the default Mail app pops up instead of the Gmail app you want to use. Nobody wants to have the same email in two apps at once or deal with duplicate notifications, so is there another way? In a roundabout way, yes, there is.
UPDATE: See How to Share Files, Photos & Links via Gmail on iOS for a cleaner, more recent, solution to this problem that Google fixed in an update to the Gmail app.
The truth is, you can’t completely do away with the iOS Mail app for what I am about to show you. However, you also don’t have to use it to check your Gmail (or your Outlook, AOL, Yahoo! or other email services) in Apple’s default Mail app. Confused yet? Stick with me. You’ll see what I mean.
1. Start by going to Settings >Mail, Contacts and Calendars and add the Google account you want use for email. Your name, email and password is all you need.
2. Here’s the important bit. Once your account has been added and appears in Settings, look for the option just below it that says Fetch New Data. Tap that option and change the setting for Gmail from Fetch to Manual, (see image below).
What this means is that the Mail app is now linked to your Gmail account, but it will not receive any mail unless you specifically tap that app to make that connection, (that’s the Manual part above). So, if you don’t intend on using the iOS Mail app at all, you can go ahead and bury it in a folder on the last screen of your device. If you want to save it for another email account, go ahead and leave it where it is 🙂