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Gmail vs the iOS Stock Mail app for iPhone. What should you use?



iOS Stock mail app versus the Gmail app showdown

Long before we had iMessage and WhatsApp to become the standard means of communication, we had e-mail. We still do. Although, it is now limited to business and promotional use only. Well, my point is that now that we use only for Business purposes, a perfect e-mail management app is essential.

Another aspect of this story is that we used to prefer e-mailing people only using a PC. Although, it’s not the case anymore. Around 60% of the e-mails exchanged are viewed on mobile. Now, 60% is a huge amount. So, it is quite important to be satisfied with our needs by the right app to handle e-mails.

Well, we have two contenders here- Gmail and the stock iOS Mail app.

Starting off with the comparison, I am going to categorize this post into various aspects that come into play while considering for an e-mail app.

E-mail Services

Both the apps offer standard e-mail services. Though Google’s Gmail came in late with the allowance of adding e-mail accounts that are not on Google’s own service, it is now available.

With the stock iOS app, you can add these accounts as listed in the screenshot below:

Stock iOS app email accounts

These are the e-mail accounts offered by the stock iOS mail app.

With Gmail, you get these:

e-mail services offered by the Gmail app.

These are the e-mail services offered by the Gmail app.

In this round, it seems like the stock iOS app wins as it features one service more than what Google offers. Although, AOL is not a popularly used e-mail service nowadays.

E-mail handling

This is probably the most crucial part of the whole experience. If there is improper e-mail handling, where most of the tasks have to be done manually by yourself, the app is unquestionably not worth it. Let’s see what each of the apps here has got.

Gmail offers a better experience with e-mails divided into sections based on what type the e-mail is. If the mail is a promotional one, it goes into the ‘Promotions Section’. Similarly, social mail goes to the ‘Social’ section. The app also has separate sections for ‘read’ and ‘unread’ mail.

While this is not the case with the stock iOS app. e-mails are not segregated type-wise but rather displayed under one single label which is your account name. It does not happen to have separate sections for ‘read’ and ‘unread’ e-mail as well. But, it has a small advantage against the Gmail app. And that is the ability to club all the inboxes and display messages altogether, which is kind of useful at times.

I guess Gmail is a clear winner here!


Both the apps are highly functional but one is slightly better than the other one. It’s time to find out which one’s which.

Gmail app functionality

These are the swipe options from the Gmail app

By functionality, I mean the ability of the app to perform certain functions. On the Gmail app, you can swipe right or left on the e-mail listings to archive the e-mail. A long press would result to display a slew of options which include archiving, trashing, marking the e-mail as ‘unread’ and many more useful options.

The stock iOS mail app is much easier to interact with as compared to the Gmail app. The main power of the app endures in the inclusion of 3D touch. Using 3D touch, you can take a quick preview of the contents of the e-mail through a slight press. A further increase in pressure will result in revealing all the contents of an e-mail. For a busy person like me, it is the perfect feature.

Stock iOS mail app functionality

These are the options available while swiping left on an e-mail listing in the stock iOS mail app.

Additionally, you can swipe left to unveil some options such as flagging the e-mail, archiving the e-mail and many more options. If you swipe right, you’ll get an option to mark the e-mail as unread.

Also, e-mails in the stock iOS app look more minimalistic while those in the Gmail app look more colorful. It all depends on personal preference from here on.


Composing is the essential part of the e-mail process on which a lot of factors of a company’s success are related to.

Gmail app e-mail composoing screen

Gmail app e-mail composing screen.

The Gmail app has a clean interface consisting of three text boxes asking you to enter the e-mail recipient, the subject, and the main message respectively. Alternatively, it has a one-tap option to include attachments into the e-mail. A simple drop-down beside the recipient input box allows you to add the ‘cc’ and the ‘bcc’ addresses. However, the Gmail app doesn’t offer text customization as it does on its web address.

Stock iOS mail app e-mail composing screen.

Stock iOS mail app e-mail composing screen.

The stock iOS mail app is a bit complicated to use. It shows the ‘Cc/Bcc’ option as default and can be changed in the settings. Apart from that everything is similar to the Gmail app’s interface except it is more minimalistic. The biggest drawback here is that you cannot easily include attachments. It took me nearly 4 days to find out how to actually include attachments. Unlike the Gmail app, sending an attachment is not a ‘one-tap’ process. You have to tap and hold the blank space in the composing area until the regular text-editing black bar appears at the top. From there, you can select the option to include attachments.

And just because of the inability of the stock iOS mail app to easily append attachments, this round goes to Gmail.


This is not the most important feature to be considered in an e-mail app, but it surely is dependent on personal preference. As for me, I’m a person that wants immediate e-mail notifications from the app. I get worried if an e-mail takes even 5 seconds longer to arrive and I’m not notified about it through the app.

Speaking of that, the Gmail app is by far the best app that I’ve ever come through. It has a perfect notification system. I instantly get notified of new e-mails. Although, it doesn’t go well with the rich notifications of iOS. For those who don’t get what I mean, rich notifications are notifications that you can interact with without opening the app. For example, when a WhatsApp notification arrives, you can 3D touch on it and get a longer preview of the message and in turn reply to it. The Gmail app sucks at providing rich notifications.

The stock iOS mail app indeed supports rich text notifications, but the whole thing becomes pointless. I’ll explain why. You can only get instant notifications if you have an iCloud e-mail account. Gmail does not support instant notifications on the stock app. The closest option is to push notifications containing e-mails that arrived 15 minutes earlier. While this couldn’t be a problem for most of the people, but it’s surely a problem for people who widely use their Gmail account.

Although, for those who don’t care about getting e-mails in time, the iOS stock mail app is good for you.


I just want to say one thing that personal preference wins all the time. For those who have been using the stock iOS app for a long time may love it. But for those who are just starting out, the Gmail apps seems like a better option.

Get Gmail for iOS and Android.

Interested to know what’s on my iPhone? Read this:

What’s on my iPhone? Episode 1.



  1. Layia

    July 13, 2018 at 12:35 am

    Good man! Look at an important offers for you.

  2. Alex

    August 12, 2018 at 7:54 am

    The writer of this post must be F*CKING HIGH! Gmail is the worst email client app ever invented with circus colours. Seriously, I use Outlook on Android because Gmail is just a pile of sh!t.

    • Taha Broach

      August 12, 2018 at 8:09 am

      Good. Your opinion is valued here. I agree; Outlook is the best. Though, this comparison doesn’t include Outlook. Also, most people love colors in their e-mail app, instead of a lifeless, plain interface.

    • Raul

      October 30, 2018 at 4:05 pm

      I love it when stupid people call other people stupid.

      Nice article – instant email notificcation or not ?! – that’s the question.

  3. Dan Smart

    October 8, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    Gmail app will show Email security warnings. Native app will not. That’s a huge problem when 95% of attacks are sourced from phishing emails (SANS Instituter).

  4. Chaula

    November 4, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    The main question I have been unable to get answered at any iOS vs Gmail client aps article is this:

    I have 4 different gmail accounts but have limited storage on my 16gb iphone. On my MAC computer, when I view my gmail accounts, I do so with my browser with the understanding that all these hundreds of emails stored on each account are stored on the gmail server….whereas on my iphone, using iOS native mail client, all mail is downloaded to my phone, using lots of storage space.

    So my workaround is that I only check 3 of the accounts from my iMAC at home and have the one, most important, business account coming directly to my iOS native mail client on my phone. I check it more often than I do the other 3 accounts.

    But when I travel, I have to use the safari browser on my iphone to check the other 3 accounts, and lately, every time I do that, I am offerred the opportunity to download and use the gmail ap as my main mail client and to have quick access to all my accounts from the phone.

    The only advantage I can see to this would be if the ap grants access to the gmail accounts, but all the actual correspondence remains stored on THEIR server, thus freeing up storage on my iphone.

    Hence, I could delete the native mail ap, elect to use gmail as the default mail ap and have greater storage capabilities for my books and photos and music on the iphone.

    Can anyone answer this question?

    • Taha Broach

      November 4, 2018 at 5:36 pm

      That’s a great observation. Although, I don’t get what’s the question here?

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