Gmail App for iOS – Pros and Cons

[ This mini-review was originally written in mid-November 2011, when Gmail App for iOS was back to AppStore, and published on Google+. Today Google released an update for Google Sync (ability to easily delete messages instead of archive them – something I was missing in the native email client), so I recalled this text and reposted it here also. ]

I decided to try the new Gmail App over this weekend. Here is a short summary:

1. The Gmail App has Gmail-style threaded view that I really miss in native iOS client. Also, the UI look and feel is synced with the new style of the browser version of Gmail.
2. The Gmail App allows me to do a clear separation between corporate and private mailboxes – work Exchange goes to native client, Gmail – well, to Gmail. For me, it is very convenient to see if it is personal of work-related email before I run to check it out. Also, with this separation I can disable notification sounds on any specific email account (the work one, i my case).
3. Other reviews report that search here is much better. I had no chance to test this on my own today, but native search was sometimes… say, frustrating.

1. The main concern about Gmail App is that it is not fully integrated in all the applications on iOS like the native client – and there is no hope for such integration. Of course, you can compose emails using native address book or browse for picture attachments, but other apps the utilize sharing via default email client (for example, Genius Scan) obviously are out of scope here.
2. It seems that Gmail App is not so fast in getting emails as Gmail account defined in the native client via Google Sync with Push. I have no reliable idea what is the reason for this behavior…
3. There are no modern-style banner notifications in the Gmail App for some reason. Yet, I hope this is something to be added in the future versions.

As you may see, there are both pros and cons of using new Gmail App instead of the native email client, and I’m still not sure if it will survive on my iPhone. But I will test it for few more days…

Update (January 2012): Still using Gmail App. It is definitely slower that native client, but the threaded view and the ability to easily archive, delete and star messages keeps it alive for me.

How to download large video from iPhone to PC

Some time ago I have to download a lot of photos, including several videos, from my iPhone to my WinXP PC. The copy took 20-30 minutes, but finished without any errors. This weekend I had some spare time to sort the photos and suddenly realized that several videos have zero size. Fortunately, I had no time for clean up the photo library on the iPhone during this period and the originals survived. However, copying the files one per time lead to the same effect – Windows Explorer silently failed after 1-2 minutes of trying, leaving the empty video in the target folder. Looks like the limit is around 200Mb…

The workaround is simple – it appears¬†that iTunes leaves the last full backup on the hard drive (on WinXP it is under “C:\Documents and Settings\\Application Data\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\”), and this backup contains plain copies of all photos and videos from the device. All files have computer-generated names (even w/o extension), so there is no immediate way to determine which file contains the video that you need. The simplest option will be to sort those files by size, copy the largest ones to another folder, appendthem “.mov” extension and watch them one by one in some video player.

P.S. This issue was first mentioned on Apple forums 1.5 years ago, even before the release of iPhone 4, but not fixed yet.