Google's Gmail for iOS App Gets Faster

Incoming Gmail messages are now prefetched and visible as soon as users open the app, according to Google.

Google's Gmail app for iOS has received some speed improvements that mean faster email message loading for users on their mobile devices.

The new speed enhancements were touted in a March 5 post by Melissa Dominguez, a Gmail software engineer, on the Google Enterprise Blog.

"Whether you're checking your email first thing in the morning or as you're waiting in line at the grocery store, you want to get your messages as quickly as possible," wrote Dominguez. "With today's update to the Gmail iOS App, it's easier to do just that."

In the latest version of the app, users will find support for a new background app refresh, "which means your Gmail messages will be pre-fetched and synced so they're right there when you open the app—no more annoying pauses while you wait for your inbox to refresh," wrote Dominguez. "This feature requires iOS 7, and you'll also need to turn on background app refresh and notifications (badge or any other type) for the Gmail app."

The new Gmail app also now supports sign-in across Google iOS apps, including Maps, Drive, YouTube and Chrome, she wrote. "Sign in to one, and you'll be signed in to all (this also works for signing out). So you won't have to type in that 27-character password or retrieve your 2-step verification code every time you navigate to another Google app. You may need to re-login after you update the app, but then you'll be all set."

Users can download the latest version of the Gmail app for iOS at the Apple App Store.

Google is frequently adding new features to its Gmail apps for iOS to improve their performance for users. In May 2013, Google tweaked its Gmail app for iPhones and iPads to allow users to select Google default apps for viewing videos and maps or to surf the Web, rather than using Apple's built-in apps.

For iOS users, that meant that they weren't automatically locked in to using the Apple apps if they selected the new Google default apps in the Gmail application on their devices. That may not be ground-breaking, but it was apparently a move by Google to continue to inch its way further inside Apple's popular devices and gain more control over user behaviors with those devices. That version release also enabled users to sign out of a single account at a time, instead of having to sign out of all accounts at once. Users could also now switch between emails in up to five accounts.

In March 2013, Google unveiled its new Google+ apps for iPhones and iPads, adding several improved features for photos, posts, user profiles and user communities.

In February 2013, Google+ unveiled app improvements that made it easier for users to access their other online iOS and Android apps more seamlessly and quickly through a new Google+ sign-in feature that allows users to tie their Google+ sign-in process to the sign-in processes for their most-used non-Google apps on their desktops or mobile devices. The new feature allows users who sign in to Gmail, YouTube or any other Google service to use their existing credentials to sign in to apps outside of Google, which speeds things up for users. The improved sign-in process also makes it easier for users who access Web-based and mobile versions of the same app.

In April, Gmail will celebrate its 10th birthday, having begun service on April 1, 2004.