Using the Gmail app for BlackBerry

By Adam Zeis on 29 Jul 2010 12:46 pm EDT
Gmail app for BlackBerry

The Gmail app for BlackBerry has been kicking around for quite a while now, yet many users won't give it a second look. I can't really blame them, since having a BlackBerry means having a BIS or BES, so who needs an app for email? Although my BIS email is for my main accounts, I do have some shared email addresses that I don't want being pushed to my device, so this is where the Gmail app comes in handy (I'm sure there are some other good reasons to use it as well). While not totally perfect, its not terrible either. It does have some great features as well as some really bad ones. Hit the jump for a look at what its all about.

The login screen, plain and simple. Toss in your email address and password and you're up and running. Once you login you'll see your inbox.

Gmail app for BlackBerry

Here you will notice your unread messages in bold, and you can click into an email thread to see the entire conversation. This acts much like Gmail on the web, keeping the conversation collapsed if its long and allowing you to click on each message to expand. When viewing a message you have a small set of menu options including Archive, Mark as Read, Add Star, Report Spam and Delete.

Gmail app for BlackBerry

Before the Enhanced Gmail Plugin came along, this was really the only way to get extended options for messages in Gmail. There was no way to archive, report spam, label or add a star with regular BIS mail, so the Gmail app was a great utility for getting these done.  You also have the standard forward and reply functions as well (keyboard shortcuts included). Before we get too far, one of the major flaws I found with the app is that there is no copy/paste functionality. This is a pretty huge downside and I'm really not sure why its not available, and it pretty much sucks sometimes not being able to copy or paste.

From the main screen you can navigate through your mail fairly easily. The menu lets you view your Inobx, Outbox, All Mail, Starred, Spam, Trash and Labels. It works extremely well and is quick when changing between folders. There is also a search option which I've used loads of times and it is probably one of my favorite parts of the app. It works quick and is the easiest way to search your Gmail inbox as it has less options than remote search through BIS and is much quicker.

Gmail app for BlackBerry

You can also choose to "Add Account" which lets you add another Gmail account. This is very cool as you can be logged into more than one account at a time. 

Gmail app for BlackBerry

The settings are slim (and some a bit odd as to why they are included) and there are really only one or two I think are really necessary. You have the option use large fonts for better viewing and ask for confirmation before archiving/deleting as well as the option to notifiy on new mail (thing to note on this one is that you CAN setup an LED and sound in your profile, however the Gmail app does NOT have a banner icon which totally sucks). There are some other settings mixed in to tweak the app a bit, but nothing that I'd lose sleep over.

Gmail app for BlackBerry

Overall I do like the Gmail app. Obviously you'll need a decent reason to use it as there is no point in picking it over straight up BIS/BES. It does have a few good uses - if you have a shared email or want to let someone check their Gmail from your device for instance. Other than that I like to keep it on my device if I need to search for old mail since I'm not a huge fan of the remote search. Its free so definitely worth checking out, but I hope that at some point it gets updated and includes a banner notification and maybe some other tweaks. Hit the link below from your device to download.

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

Using the Gmail app for BlackBerry


Just like most Google apps for BlackBerry, this one is also sub-par. I only use it for slightly more easy access to labels and starred items. That's pretty much it. I never leave it open and anytime I open it, it always makes you manually refresh the inbox which makes no sense whatsoever.

Almost, but not a complete waste of space on any BlackBerry.

although you make good points, the inbox part is semi-incorrect. yes, you can manually refresh it, but it auto refreshes every 15min

1) 15 minutes is way too long
2) It should automatically refresh when launched
3) I've never had this app open for longer than a few minutes so I would have never known about it, lol.

i use this as my main email inbox. i just like that it does the true syncing that the new "2 way sync" doesn't do properly.

I don't use this any more. Before upgrading my phone, I had it loaded on my 8330. I used it on occasion, but it was more curiosity than necessity. The biggest problem I found was the inability to coordinate with the regular inbox. Every time I got an email, I would have to clear it out of the gmail app and the BB inbox. I eventually just stopped using it and just didn't load it when I switch to the 9650.

I have been using this app for a while now. I use it to access my google apps hosted email and a few of my gmail accounts. I just need a simple way to access all of my labels and such and this does it just fine. Although I would like to see a way to start a draft on the app and finish it on the web gui or the other way around. That would be ideal.

I hate, and I mean that strongly the Enhanced Plugin.

So I use gmail in an IMAP setup and I use the Gmail app if I need to do any searching.

It works well and "Move to Inbox" brings an old email back to my blackberry

It is not perfect, but heads and tails better than the plugin

I echo these sentiments completely.

The search function is the primary feature I use in this app.

The plugin flat out stinks.

As the above poster mentioned, this is a deal killer for me. Are you kidding me? Between Google and RIM, they can't give us HTML email for the app? The gmail icon I have for BIS doesn't live up to it's supposedly 2-way synch..if you have gmail and you can live without html email, then I guess the app is the way to go. For me, I'll pass. Total failure in all accounts.

if you use Goole Apps/ your as your gmail then you have to use the Gmail app

that is the main purpose... they need to update it badly

I used this app for the longest time, starting with my old Sony Ericsson W810i. When I upgraded to a Curve 8310, I immediately installed the app. I was let down by the fact that you couldn't copy/paste (as mentioned), the fact that you couldn't attach any files, and the app didn't start with your BB (pretty sure it did on the W810i, but even if it didn't, a BB is a smartphone, and the app should be able to run at startup). If there was one "last" straw, I'd have to say it was the inability to attach anything to an email. I do miss the shortcuts for read/unread, starred/unstarred though.

Adam does bring up an indirect point, that being the fact that remote search through BIS is kind of a letdown. I think I might just download this app again, if only to use as a better email search tool. Once I've found exactly what I'm looking for, I can jump over to the Enhanced Gmail plugin and complete my task there.

The only things I really liked about this app was the icon and UI. I liked being able to visually distinguish between my different email accounts using the icons, rather than just text. But 15 min updates won't cut it, and neither will not being able to open links.

...we all mean that you can't copy text from one email, and then paste it into another. Otherwise yes, you can copy/paste.

I utilize several e-mail accounts on my BlackBerry. I often ran into the problem of having to save numerous e-mails and numerous e-mails with attachments.

I now use the g-mail account as a sort of "cloud" storage for those e-mails. I merely forward anything I need to save to my g-mail account and have full access to them through the app as well as anywhere else. I can then delete those e-mails from my inbox and from my saved messages.

The tradeoff works for me....


I use it so that I do not have to be alerted for emails and i can just check whenever I want to. For stuff I can not cut and paste or click on a link, I just forward it to my blackberry email. Believe it or not, I do not want to be alerted for every new email I get. Plus it looks cool having gmail icon. I can also manage my gmail account whether if I am using my BB or using a computer.

It's not a top 20 app but I do use it often because my college email is only accessible through the it. With the wi-fi turned on it is pretty quick to push the email to my BB usually within 10 minutes or so. Not having a banner icon is a big downside since I tend to "mark as unread" a lot of emails and messages.

I get a lot of email and would like to easily delete like on my BIS. ON BIS you just hit delete and enter and mail is deleted. On the google app you have open the menu, find delete and then hit delete. Too many steps.

If when you are in the app looking at your inbox, push the letter "D" on your keyboard you can bypass the menu part when you want to delete something (press the letter "E" if you want to archive). It's just as fast as deleting on BIS except you cant select more than one email

Nuff Said!! I used it as a backup and also for my other gmail accounts that did not get pushed to my Bold 9000.
Since I switched to my Storm 2 - can't use it!!

Adam, you want to mention another cool feature, if you have several gmail addresses like I do for my daughters PTA, you can toggle between with ease instead of opening up multiple icons.

As soon as I discovered that the BIS email didn't support GMail's special features, I eagerly installed Google's GMail app. Loved it, mostly, for quite a while.

It worked with my GApps hosted domain, it gave me access to multiple accounts simultaneously, gave me access to my real GMail contact list (albeit with a little extra effort for addresses not recently used).

And, of course, it gave me access to the special GMail features (archive, labels, etc.).

As mentioned above, search is great.

Contrary to someone else's comment, it does launch web links in the browser.

Little things did bug me, most already mentioned:
* No HTML display of the email
* (Related to above) Pictures not displaying in body of email (attachments instead)
* No copy/paste
* Other than pictures, no other attachments would launch
* I wished the "new mail" flag as the BB red asterisk, rather than the yellow star
* I wished there was a banner icon
* I wished that when I was logged into multiple accounts, when there was new mail, and I opened GMail, I wish it would tell me which account had the new mail. I had to cycle through all the accounts until I found the one with new mail (and couldn't stop there, because that might not be the only one with new mail).

I had forgotten about the Enhanced GMail Pluggin, and just recently re-discovered it.

I have come to like it much much better.

* I can launch far more attachment types (barring any size limitations).
* (sort of) HTML rendering
* Pretty faithful/useful rendering of GMail's special features (archive, report spam, labels, etc.)
* True "push" of my emails
* Separate icons on my home screen for each account, with separate red BB asterisks for each account with new mail
* Banner icon (yay!)
* Contrary to someone's comment above, it does work with my GApps hosted domain name accounts just fine
* "Conversations" (collapsed email threads)

I'm actually pretty impressed at how well the GMail unique features are brought into BB email.

There are some syncing oddities, but I can live with them.

The remote search is somewhat useful, but does retrieve odd results sometimes. If I were to reinstall GMail app, it would be solely for the search.

I wish I could bold/underline/italicize in the BIZ email, but I can live without it. I like that it at least renders bold text that is sent to me.

I'm pretty sold on the BIS email for my GMail. I don't see myself returning to the GMail app.

But isn't there also a app that is just Google Mobile? where you can access gmail, maps, calender, and news I have this and it is really easy to use and navigate there are a few these that gmail could improve for sure I would for sure like to be able to have the ability to "delete prior " emails like I can in my other email accounts

i don't like the fact that I can't highlight several emails and delete them all at once! i have to delete each email one by one...that sucks.

One of the key things that makes gmail great is the ability to keep all your mail from forever and then search it using flexible google search when you need to find something.

I started my AT&T account in January 2008 with a Palm Treo 650 (already out-of-date) ended up going Blackberry in December when I found an 8310-Curve on the cheap at Craigslist & tried it out to see if it would work on my "generic" data plan.

The applications not specific to BIS or BES did, and since my primary email happened to be a GMail account, it made it easy to do.

So yes, the GMail app is a MUST have for me, otherwise I'd be logging into GMail via the web browser.

It works well for me, the main drawback being that "rich text" emails aren't always rendered properly, and it only checks for email every 15 minutes. But, with the keyboard shortcuts (thanks a lot for mentioning I for refresh) like R for reply, it's quick-enough to use.

Doing GMail this way, vs how I did it on my Palm Treo (it did have a GMail app available, but I didn't know at the time & used the built-in mail program with the SMTP-POP3 setup) means my email is always "synchronized" properly mobile vs PC.

Copy-paste DOES work in terms of pasting into the body of a new message, or any of the other fields. It does NOT allow you to highlight-copy-paste from a prior message.

I assign the left-key to it to make it quick to bring up.

Being a user who doesn't have BIS and using edge from T-Mobile, this app is a must have. I leave it opened and it does the work. Whenever I want to check it, pressing I will do the trick.

PS. When you get an attachment and try to scroll, it will not let scroll pass the attachment. You'll have to press B and scroll back up.

"This is a pretty huge downside and I'm really not sure why its not available, and it pretty much sucks sometimes not being able to copy or paste."

Remind anyone of the iPhone? Haha

Gmail app doesn't work with my 9000.
I don't have BIS, but i've edge subscription at T-mobile, though gmail says, it need working data connection. At the application's permissions, it is set for allow internet. Any similar experiences anyone?

I tried to read most of the comments but it seems that only me who is using my web gmail instead of Outlook! That's, I usually have all my POP3 email accounts (free and professional) on my laptop MS Outlook. But lately, I found that having those email accounts on Gmail is easier and even will decrease the load on my laptop. So now, I'm using my web gmail for all my POP3 accounts to view, store, and reply from any account I want. I also uninstalled MS Outlook.

When I had my blackberry bold 9700, I needed Gmail app. BUT as others already mentioned, for me these are very important issues that I hope they be solved soon:

- No attachments (download/upload to/from device).
- No option form sending from other POP3 accounts.