Google Gives Gmail for iOS Major Overhaul

The company this week began rolling out new features as part of its biggest update to the Gmail for iOS app in four years.

Google, Gmail for iOS

Gmail on iOS has become a lot more similar to Gmail on Android, courtesy of several updates to the application that Google announced this week.

The new Gmail app for iOS represents, what Google says, is the biggest overhaul of the application in four years. At a high level, the updated application features a new look and better transitions between functions, and is designed to run faster on iPhones and iPads.

Updates in the new Gmail for iOS include an "Undo Send" feature similar to that available on the desktop version of Gmail, which allows users a brief opportunity to recall messages after hitting the "Send" button. Also new is the ability for iPhone and iPad users to delete or archive messages by swiping them out of the inbox.

As part of its updates, Google has boosted search speeds so users are served up results and spelling suggestions even as they type.

In addition to Gmail, Google this week also released an updated version of its Calendar application for iOS. The updates allow users more options for viewing their daily schedules, searching for events and looking up dates in different calendars.

For example, the new Google Calendar for iOS supports a new "month view" and a "week in landscape" option so users have more ways of looking through events on their calendar. A Spotlight Search capability now enables users to look for and find more events, reminders and goals more quickly using Apple's Spotlight Search feature.

The updated Google Calendar for iOS also allows users to look up important dates in non-Gregorian calendars. For example, users can add a Lunar, Hindu or an Islamic calendar to Google Calendar so they can see dates from both calendars alongside each other.

Google's last major update of Gmail for the iPhone and iPad was back in December 2012 with the release of version 2.0 of the app. With that update, Google introduced features like profile pictures in emails, new animations and autocomplete predictions for searches.

With version 2.0 back in 2012, Google also introduced a multiple account support feature for its version of Gmail for iOS in response to what it described at the time as broad user demand for the capability. The feature basically allowed users to log in to up to five Google accounts from the menu and to switch back and forth between them by tapping on each account a couple of times.

Gmail is one of several third-party email apps for the iOS platform. Others include Microsoft's Outlook, Readdle's Spark, Mailbox from Orchestra Inc., and AirMail.

In terms of market share, Gmail currently holds the second spot behind Apple's native iPhone app. A recent ranking o the Top 10 email clients by Litmus Software shows that in September Apple's iPhone client held 33.71 percent share, followed by Gmail with a 15.68 percent share.

Jaikumar Vijayan

Jaikumar Vijayan

Vijayan is an award-winning independent journalist and tech content creation specialist covering data security and privacy, business intelligence, big data and data analytics.