Many users occasionally complain about fetch/push notification problems with Gmail. If you've configured Gmail into the stock Mail app or use the Gmail app, you probably faced issues where you don't get routine alerts for new incoming mail.
There can be a few problems that could cause this but before we go troubleshooting, let's first understand what the whole thing about fetch, push and manual refresh is all about.
Apple does not allow “push” notifications from Gmail (or any IMAP-based email) app. A “Push” notification is where the app automatically detects when there's a new email and pushes a notification about that. The app is constantly “ON”, checking for new email so that the moment a new email lands, you get notified.
So, since Apple doesn't let Gmail do push notifications, you will never be able to assign a “push” method for Gmail: neither from the stock Mail app nor from the Gmail official app.
There are two other options available for checking for mail: fetch and manual.
Fetch is where the app checks for new email frequently. You can set this frequency to be anything from 15 minutes to hourly (and as a redundant feature, manually). When you set fetch for 15 minutes, the app will automatically check for new emails in the background every 15 minutes. Needless to say, this means consumption of battery/resources.
Manual is where you open the app and manually refresh to check for new email. Unless you pull-down to refresh, the mail app will not check for new email, and therefore, not notify you.
So what to do if you stopped receiving notifications from Gmail (or any mail that you have setup)?
- Open the Settings app
- Scroll down and tap on Mail, Contacts, Calendars
- Tap on Fetch New Data
- Tap on the Gmail label (or whatever name you have for the Gmail account)
- Tap on Fetch
- Now go back
- Under FETCH, select Every 15 minutes (or Every 30 mins / Hourly depending on your preference)
- Press home button to return to the homescreen
You'll notice that having a quicker/more-frequent fetch is actually a problem. It affects iPhone's battery drastically. Too bad “Push” is only for iCloud email.
If you use the official Gmail app, push notifications are part of the app although technically, push works more like that of Exchange ActiveSync. The official Gmail app relies on iOS's push notification service. It is highly recommended that you use this official app instead of using fetch on the Mail app.
But what if push notifications from the Gmail app stop appearing? Two solutions exist:
- Sign-out of your account in the Gmail app. Wait for a while and then re-login. This should reset the push/device data associated with the account and fix the push notification problem.
- Re-install the app.
Note that Gmail's push works independently and is not akin to native iOS push.