How Gmail works

Who I am
Pau Monfort
@paumonfort

What is Gmail for

As I have already mentioned to you in the opening bars of this guide, gmail is the e-mail service offered and managed by Google. It is compatible with most browsers and email clients for PCs, smartphones and tablets. Furthermore, in the mobile environment, it can be used through special apps for Android and iOS.

It has a large number of features aimed at optimal email management: spam filters extremely advanced, automatic detection and blocking of harmful / malicious emails, ability to set filters and blocks custom, integration with third party add-ons and much more.



Having a Gmail account, however, does not only mean having a functional e-mail box available. The same profile, in fact, can be used to access the entire range of services offered by Google: Google Drive and Google Docs, Google Photos, YouTube, Maps, Play Store, Play Music, Play Film and so on.

In its free version, Gmail delivers well 15 GB of space shared between the various services, which can be easily increased by purchasing additional packages. There is also a professional version of Gmail, included in the G-Suite package, specifically designed for companies and which includes, among the additional features, collaborative tools and greater availability of storage space. In other words, Gmail is not just an e-mail account, but a real access key to the entire range of services provided by “big G”!

In the following bars of this guide, however, I will focus my attention exclusively on the functioning of the Gmail email on the various platforms with which it is compatible: AndroidiOS (then iPhone) is PC (Web and client).

If you do not yet have a free account on Gmail, you can create it in an extremely simple way, through the platform that you think is most appropriate (smartphone, tablet, PC and so on), following the steps that I illustrated in my specific tutorial on the subject.



How Gmail works on Android

You have greatly appreciated the potential of Gmail and would like to set up your mailbox on Android? Nothing simpler! In this regard, I strongly urge you to use the official app of the service, pre-installed on the most modern versions of Android and strongly integrated with the entire operating system. If it is not present on your device, you can download it for free from the Play Store.

After starting the app, tap the button OK located at the bottom and check that, on the next screen, the Gmail account that you had configured on Android when you turned on the device for the first time appears, then touch the button Go to Gmail to immediately access the mailbox associated with the specified profile.

If this is not available, or if you need to set up a second email account, tap on the item Add another email address and follow the simple instructions that are provided to you to login using the credentials of your interest. 

Keep in mind that, although the app works optimally with Gmail accounts, it can also be used to manage e-mail boxes belonging to other providers (eg Outlook, TIM / Alice, Libero and so on), by setting the relative IMAP parameters.

Once the first setup of the app is complete, tap the buttons NEXTOK to immediately access the inbox Incoming mail: then specifies if enable notifications for high priority emails using the appropriate item and touch the button OK to use the predefined view categories, that is the "subdivision" of the incoming mail into thematic cards.


  • main - contains messages received from people "in flesh and blood" and those that do not fit into any of the following categories.
  • Social - messages from social networks (new contacts, notifications on messages or profiles, and so on) are grouped in this tab.
  • Promotions - as the name itself implies, this form contains the promotional messages generated by the commercial services to which you are subscribed.
  • Updates - this section groups messages relating to password and device updates, changes to the terms of use, suspension, termination or activation of accounts and the like, mainly coming from the web services to which you are subscribed.
  • Forum - it is a tab that contains notifications relating to new messages from forums, mailing lists, discussion groups and so on.

At this point, you can easily manage your mail using the simple interface of the app: tap on the preview of an email to open its content and use the buttons located at the bottom of the message to reply to senderanswer all (in the case of messages with multiple recipients) or for forward the email. In addition, you can use the buttons located at the top to perform other operations on the message: file it (The square with arrow), delete it (l'icona a forma di basket) or mark it as "to read" (the envelope icon).


Touching the (⋮)You can also access additional operations for to shift the message to another folder, change thelabel, mark it as important, mark it eat spam and so on. To go back to the previous folder, just touch the arrow located in the upper left corner of the screen.


To compose a new e-mail message “from scratch”, instead, click on the button capacitor positive (+) lead colored, located in the lower right corner of the screen, while if you want to access the cartelle Gmail (e.g. additional tabs for inbox, outbox, trash, archived mail, spam, etc.) or in the app settings, you can use the button  located at the top left and select the item of your interest from the menu that opens.

Finally, you can use the search bar to quickly find the messages you want to view. Have you seen? It's all really simple!

Please note: if you are not satisfied with the official Gmail app, you can configure your email account in other clients, such as Microsoft Outlook and Spark.

How Gmail works on iPhone

Undoubtedly, the simplest way of use Gmail on iPhone is to install the official app of the service, which can be downloaded for free from the App Store. Once the app installation is complete, tap on the item Log in and follow the wizard that is proposed to you to add your e-mail account: indicate theemail address in the box provided, tap the button NEXT and enter the access password in the field shown next, then tap the button Log in.

If XNUMX-Step Verification is enabled, you will be asked to specify the one-time code received via SMS or to confirm the login attempt using a known device.


Note: if another Google app with which you have already logged into Gmail is already present and configured on your iPhone, you may simply have to confirm that you want to use the account already in use in the other app, by activating the lever corresponding to it (to then confirm the configuration applied by touching the item end located at the top left).

Once logged in, specify if allow whether or not the app sends notifications and indicates the display mode email messages, then tap the button OK And that's it. If everything went smoothly, you should go to the main Gmail interface which, by default, shows the folder of the Incoming mail. From here on, the operation of the app is very similar to what has already been seen on Android.

How do you say? You don't want to install the Gmail app, but prefer to browse email using the app Mail on iOS? No problem: in this case, what you need to do is access the Settings iOS, tap the items Mail, Account e Add account, then tap the item Google and follow the proposed instructions to complete the account setup.

But be careful: by setting up Gmail in Mail, you will not receive push notifications for messages, so you will not be notified in real time when you receive new messages. For more information on this, I refer you to my tutorial on how to set up Gmail on iPhone.

As an alternative to Mail, you can use other third-party clients that support push notifications and allow you to easily set up Gmail accounts, such as Microsoft Outlook or Spark.

How Gmail works on PC

If you intend to use Gmail via your computer, know that you can follow at least two different ways: use the Webmail made available by Google, accessible through any browser, or configure e-mail in a special program, such as Windows 10 Mail o Apple Mail say macOS.

Webmail

To access Google's e-mail via browser, proceed as follows: first, connected to this web page, enter your email address in the appropriate field, press the button Submit on the keyboard, then enter the Password login and that's it.

If everything went well, after a few moments you should have access to your inbox. As you have surely noticed, the Gmail web interface is extremely intuitive: through the left navigation bar, you can access the various cartelle of the mailbox (e.g. the incoming mail, the important messages mail sent, the spam, the basket outgoing mail and so on). In the center of the screen is shown the contents of the inbox folder which, as you can see, is divided into different tabs, which contain the various categories of messages (which Google is able to recognize thanks to an artificial intelligence). The functioning of the thematic cards is the same that I have already shown you in the section relating to Android.

If you don't like this behavior and would like all messages to be shown, without any subdivision, in the Incoming mail, you can disable tab division as follows: click on the button (I.e. at the top right, select the item Configure mailbox from the menu shown on the screen e remove the check mark from all available boxes, except for the tab main. To finish and save the changes, click on the button Save.

Still through the same menu, you can adjust the display format of e-mail, the settings of the same and add new ones graphic themes. If you wish, you can also expand Gmail Web with a series of add-ons, aimed at integrating Google email with other services: to use them, click on the item Install add-ons in the above menu (or on the button capacitor positive (+) lead present in the right bar of the Gmail interface), locate the component of your interest and, after clicking on its preview, press the button Install to add it.

For the rest, the operation of Gmail Web is extremely simple: you can compose a new message by clicking on the button (+) Write located in the upper left corner of the screen, reply to a message already present by pressing the button Reply located at the bottom of the same and access the operations that can be carried out on the messages (deletion, archiving, transfer from one folder to another and so on) using both a practical menu, accessible by right-clicking on the preview of the message of your interest, or using the buttons in the Gmail window, displayed at the top of messages already open.

Through the search bar located at the top of the page, you can also quickly search for e-mail messages based on sender, recipient, subject, size and many other parameters.

Email client

You prefer to configure Gmail email within the program you usually use to consult emails, such as Windows 10 Mail or MacOS Mail? No problem, you can easily add Gmail to the email client of your choice!

To do so, however, it is essential activate IMAP of Gmail, that is the protocol that allows you to consult and manage e-mail from multiple devices at the same time, avoiding the occurrence of synchronization problems of various kinds. You can easily activate IMAP of Gmail by acting on the option you find in Forwarding and POP / IMAP and IMAP of Gmail settings: for more details on this procedure, I invite you to consult the appropriate section of my thematic guide.

Once this is done, you can conveniently configure Gmail in your email client, exactly as you would for any other account: if you have never done this before, I invite you to consult my guide on how to enter another email , in which I explained how to add a new mail profile within the most popular desktop email clients (Windows 10 Mail, Outlook, Mail and Thunderbird).

How Gmail works offline

Among the many features of Gmail, there is certainly the possibility of using it also in offline mode: in practice, you can ensure that the e-mail already received is made available even in the absence of an Internet connection, by adjusting the synchronization settings of the latter. In this way, it is possible to consult the e-mail (and possibly the attachments contained therein), carry out search operations among the messages and send new ones, even in the absence of a connection to the Net. If it is your intention to understand how Gmail works offline, then read on: below I'll explain how to act both on PC, and on smartphones and tablets.

PC

As for the computer, it is possible to use the Gmail web interface in offline mode only if the service is accessed through the browser Google Chrome, available for most of the most common desktop platforms (Windows, macOS and Linux). If you don't have it, you can install it by following the instructions I gave you in my specific guide on the topic.

After opening the browser, therefore, connected to the Gmail website, log in using your account credentials, then click on the button (I.e. collocato in alto a destra and seleziona la voce Settings give the menu that you come purpose.

At this point, fai clic sulla voce Offline placed on the upper navigation bar, put the check mark next to the item Attiva post offline and adjust the settings as you see fit: indicate how many days of messages you want to synchronize by acting on the appropriate drop-down menu and specify if download attachments or less.

Finally, define the behavior of Gmail offline if you need to log out of your Google account: keep the email data on the computer, in the form of cookies, making them immediately available at the next access; or delete everything, thus making it necessary to re-synchronize later.

When you are done, click on the button Save Changes located at the bottom and, without disconnecting from the Internet, wait for the Gmail data to be downloaded to your computer: depending on the number of days to be synchronized and the presence or absence of attachments, this operation could take up to a few hours. During this time, the e-mail service may seem less "responsive": don't worry, the situation should return to normal when the synchronization is complete.

Once the data download is complete, you will be able to access Gmail through Google Chrome even without an Internet connection: you will have the possibility to consult the emails already received, to search within them, to open the attachments and to write new ones messages, which will then be sent as soon as you connect to the Network again (in the meantime, the emails to be sent will be stored in the Outgoing mail).

Obviously, you can also access Gmail messages offline by configuring your account in any email client, as explained in the appropriate section of this tutorial.

Smartphones and tablets

The app of Gmail per Android e iOS it does not require additional configuration to consult the e-mail in offline mode, since it is activated by default: in practice, it is sufficient to open the app to view the e-mail messages already downloaded and to compose new ones (which they will then be sent as soon as the Internet connection is active again).

What you can do, again, is to specify the days of messages to sync: to do this, after starting the app, press the button  located at the top left, touches the item Settings and tap on the e-mail account on which you intend to act.

Next, identify the section Data Usage, check that the box Synchronize Gmail is marked with a check mark (if not, do it yourself) and tap the item Days of mail to synchronize to set the period that suits you best; if you wish, you can define whether or not to download the attachments via Wi-Fi by clicking on the appropriate box.

How Gmail works

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