Apple Mail vs Gmail: Which Email App is Better on iPhone

Whether you are a student, entrepreneur or end user, you need a capable Email app to get through a busy day. These days, Email apps aren’t limited to conversations and newsletters. Now your Email Inbox is a central place for all receipts, important documents, travel details, gift vouchers, bank information and more. Over the years, Apple Mail, Gmail, and Outlook have gotten better organization, more editing options, etc. developed on several fronts.

Usually, Apple Mail is the default choice for many iOS/iPad OS users. Every year, Apple adds incremental updates to the default mail app with major iOS releases.

Google has been aggressive with Gmail updates and improvements on iOS. So, does it make sense for people to have two email apps on their iPhone or iPad? Will Gmail’s app serve better than Appel Mail?

In this article, we will compare the default Apple Mail with Gmail. The comparison makes more sense now, starting with iOS 14, and Apple is finally allowing users to replace the default Mail and Browser app on iPhone. Comparison will be based on UI, features, composting options, cross-platform usability, and more. Lets start.

Note: For this post, the iPhone X is running the latest Gmail app v6.0.2 in the App Store and Apple Email from the iOS 14 Developer beta update.

Cross-Platform Availability

As expected, the Apple Mail app is only available on Apple devices. You can access the app on iOS, macOS and iPad OS. Gmail does not offer native apps on desktop platforms. You can use the Gmail app on Android, iOS, iPad OS, and the Web.

user interface

Apple hasn’t changed much of the UI for the default Email app on the iPhone. The home screen displays the accounts you added from the iPhone Settings menu.

You can open all Inboxes or go with individual accounts. Apple has kept the Inbox user interface simple and functional. The compose button is at the bottom and the search bar is at the top. Apple Mail supports iOS 13 dark theme which looks great on AMOLED devices.

Apple mail UI 2
Apple mail UI

If you have a Gmail app on Android, you’ll find yourself at home with the iOS variant. Unfortunately, the app still uses a hamburger menu for navigating Email folders on iOS. The Create menu is in the lower right corner.

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I like Gmail’s quick account switcher. You can see your current account profile in the upper right corner of the search bar. Use up/down swipe gestures and switch between added accounts in the Gmail app.

Gmail UI
Gmail home page

Gmail supports the iOS 13 dark theme, but it’s more of a dark gray type and doesn’t look as good as Apple Mail’s app.

Email Organization

Everyone’s Inbox usually consists of different services, subscriptions, etc. Email organization is very important because it is full of incoming mail. Today, all the leading mail apps are in the race to offer better email editing features to separate important mail from promotional mail or newsletters.

Let’s start with Gmail. Inspired by the web version, Google added several tabs such as Social, Promotions, Updates, Forums, and Primary Inbox for public conversations. Google’s algorithms are smart enough to organize incoming emails by category and relevance. When that fails, you will have to manually edit a single mail in any of these folders. Users can quickly press the star in an email to store it in a separate tab for important emails.

Gmail organization

Apple Mail does not offer such organizational capabilities. However, you can set certain contacts and email addresses as VIP and the app will create a separate Email folder for it.

vip list apple mail

Create Mail Options

Apple has added a rich toolbar for organizing Emails. Once you hit compose email, you can tap the little arrow above the keyboard and view the added options.

The formatting toolbar allows you to change the default fonts, size, color, add bullets, numbers, change the layout, and more. The up arrow Send button at the top might confuse some people.

Apple mail compose 2
Apple mail compose

Google has finally added a Smart Typing functionality to its Gmail mobile apps. The search giant offers typing suggestions as you type. Swipe right to accept suggestions or continue typing to ignore suggestions. Unlike Apple Mail, Gmail does not offer these rich editing options, but has integrated the ‘Schedule Send’ functionality to schedule emails.

Intelligent creation
Gmail program

Features Plenty

Let’s start with Gmail first. Gmail lets you create an email signature and set up an Out of Office Automatic Reply. Google also offers Smart Reply functionality that shows suggested replies. It can be useful in some cases.

Gmail added support for Siri Shortcuts. You can set Siri to Send Email. I especially liked the Google Tasks plugin. From any email, you can tap on the three-dot icon at the top and select Add to Tasks.

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gmail siri
Gmail features

My biggest issue with Apple Mail is that all of the Settings options are in the iPhone Settings app (that’s how all Apple default apps work). Apple Mail offers a rich preview when you long-press an email from the notification center.

Apple also offers better swipe gestures on an email compared to Gmail. For example, in Gmail, swiping left on a mail only allows you to do one action. In Apple Mail, you can swipe left and bookmark an email, archive it, or use the more options to reply, forward, move to junk email, and more. I would like to see Apple Notes and Reminders integration in Apple Mail.

My favorite Apple Mail feature is an in-app 3D touch app. You can long press any email and browse quickly and also use various options like Reply, Reply All, Forward, Mute, Archive and more.

Apple mail swipe gesture
Apple mail 3d touch

Unfortunately, none of the email apps offer calendar integration from the app.

Optimize Your Email Experience

Both Apple Mail and Gmail are capable email apps out there. If you already live in the Google ecosystem and have Google Tasks, Smart Compose, Smart Reply etc. If you want to use add-ons, we can recommend Gmail. Apple Mail excels at in-app formatting options and smart use of 3D touch. However, it carries its fair share of hiccups.

Next: Looking for Apple Mail alternatives on iPhone? Read the post below to find the five best Apple Mail rivals on iPhone.

Moyens I/O Staff has motivated you, giving you tips on technology, personal development, lifestyle and strategies that will help you.