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2011-08-10 07:33:02

iPhone/GMail Multiple Account Issues

For the longest time I've used my GMail account to manage all of my other email accounts. My email from, RMU, MAC, etc. all are connected to my GMail account so I can access it all in one place. Recently, however, I ran into a problem.

MAC switched their internal email from Novell GroupWise to GMail. This was a great thing! But because of this the way I "forwarded" messages to my personal GMail account had to change.

Previously, with Novell, I had a rule that would literally forward all email from my MAC account to my GMail account. That worked great. But that stopped working once they switched to GMail. RMU did that a long time ago, so I knew I could connect the two accounts. That is what I was going to do with my new MAC GMail account.

I did it. No problem. Over the course of a couple hours hundreds of emails from my MAC email account were imported into my personal GMail account. Awesome! Here's where the problem starts.

Mail, the email application on the iPhone, is stupid. So very stupid. You would think that email clients would show email based on date, with the most recent being at the top. That makes sense. That's what pretty much every mail client ever made does. That's not what Apple Mail does.

The Mail app, instead of putting the recently RECEIVED messages at the top of the list, puts the recently MODIFIED messages at the top of the list. Normally, this is not a problem, unless you do what I did with connecting multiple accounts together.

Using the web interface, I connected my accounts and watched as hundreds upon hundreds of messages appeared in my Inbox (marked as Unread, which is another rant for another day). In the web interface of GMail, everything looked great. Messages were sorted by date RECEIVED and all was well. Then I opened Mail on my iPhone.

All of a sudden I was transported back to 2007. Seriously. Every email message on my iPhone was from 2007. Apparently, during the import process from my MAC account to my personal GMail account, the older messages were the last to be imported. Thusly, they were the most recently MODIFIED according to my personal GMail account. And because Apple Mail sucks, they were downloaded to my iPhone as if they were new. *sigh*

But there is a fix. Do not fret. If you ever have a problem similar to this and need to "refresh" your mailbox so that the most recent email messages appear first, follow these steps.

  1. Open the GMail web interface
  2. Create a new label called "test"
  3. Select the first page of messages (around 100)
  4. Move To > test
    • This removes the messages from the Inbox
  5. Click on the "test" label on the left to show all messages with that label
  6. Select all messages
  7. Move To > Inbox
  8. Labels > uncheck "test"
  9. Delete the "test" label
Now the first 100 messages in your GMail account have been modified, and the next time you open Mail on your iPhone it will download those messages and you will be back to normal.


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