Email Push Notifications

February 8, 2017

If you want to get a notification on your phone the instant you get an email, then push notifications are right for you. How you set things up depends on the email account you're looking to get push notifications for.

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Your college email

If you want to set up instant notifications for your college email, you first need to figure out what email provider your college is using. Most colleges go with Gmail or Office 365.

The easiest way to figure out which one your college uses is by looking at the link you go to when you check your college email. If the link contains:

Your Gmail account

By far, the simplest way to get push notifications with a Gmail account is by using the Gmail app.

Simply download the iOS version or Android version if you don't already have it, and then set up your email account. Push notifications will work right out of the box.

If you're an iPhone user you may be wondering: "but what about Apple's built-in mail app?"

Well, if your Gmail account does not end with "@gmail.com", such as a ".edu" email, then you can get push notifications in the iOS mail app by setting up your email as an "Exchange" account:

  1. During the first step of the account setup process, select "Exchange" instead of "Google", then enter your email and password.
  2. If you're prompted to enter in a "server", just enter "m.google.com".
  3. If you want to confirm that push notifications are enabled, go to the settings app > Mail > Accounts > "Fetch New Data", and ensure "Push" is enabled for your account.

However, if your Gmail account does end with "@gmail.com", then, unfortunately, you're out of luck: push notifications no longer work for free Gmail users in the native iOS mail app.

Note: if you have multiple email accounts and you can't add them all to the Gmail app, head over to our multiple accounts section.

Your Office 365 account

The simplest way to get push notifications for an Office 365 account is by using the Outlook app (iOS, Android).

If you prefer to not download an app, you can set up your Office 365 account as an "Exchange" account with the built-in iOS mail app or the Gmail for Android app, but you might have to configure some server settings that are specific to your college. Most colleges have posted a guide online which details these settings. Just search Google for "[your college] email setup iOS/Android" and you should find a detailed guide.

On the other hand, Outlook's setup process is very simple and they intelligently split your mail into two categories: "focused" and "other". The former includes emails that were specifically written to you (like from a friend), and the latter includes everything else (like listservs and marketing emails).

We use the Outlook app because you can configure it so you only get a notification when something comes into your "focused" inbox, which really cuts down on needless distraction.

Other accounts

If you want to set up push notifications for an account other than Gmail or Office 365 (such as a Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail account), your best bet for getting push notifications is by downloading their app. While the Gmail app or the iOS mail app may support push notifications for these mail accounts, there isn't much evidence indicating so.

Multiple email accounts

If you have multiple email accounts and you want to access them all from the same app on your phone and get push notifications, we recommend the Outlook app (iOS, Android).

Adding an account is incredibly simple, and the app comes with some really great features which we mention above.