Google's Gmail iOS app just got a lot faster

(PHOTO: Reuters)

At last Google is addressing an old complaint about the Gmail iOS app, widely regarded as sluggish. Many users experienced long processing times for new emails to load. With the new update, Google solves the overdue speed concern by introducting support for the background app refresh of Apple's iOS 7.

Software engineer Melissa Dominguez explained in the Official Gmail Blog Post that Gmail now supports "pre-fetching" – a feature that synchronizes messages even before they are opened. This means no more unpleasant system pauses to refresh the Inbox. When the app is opened, the messages are already there. Currently, new messages in the app take some time to appear, even if they are already there.

If you want to fully enjoy the speedier Gmail iOS app however, just ensure the background app refresh is activated.

Secondly, Gmail allows users to sign on just once for Google apps on iOS. This means one sign on will have access to other Google apps as well, including YouTube, Google Maps, Google Drive and others. This holds true with signing off as well.

The two updates enable Google to compete with Apple on its home turf. iOS default mail will not grant you Gmail folders access; and neither can save-email nor labels be entered or executed.

Currently, only Google is capable of bypassing Apple's stranglehold on iOS apps by linking its app collectively. For example, users running Chrome can map links to access Google Maps. If they are logged in their Gmail account, they can set web links to open in Google Chrome, email documents from Drive and use links to open a YouTube app. However, managing multiple e-mail accounts from one app currently does not work in the new Gmail iOS app.

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