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Inside MobileMe: iPhone Mail

post #1 of 28
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MobileMe upgrades .Mac email on the iPhone to use rapid push updating. Here's how it works, and what's new and different in MobileMe mobile mail, how to configure junk mail and security, and what's still missing.

Inside MobileMe series segments

Inside MobileMe: Secrets of the Cloud and Mobile Push (Friday)
Inside MobileMe: Mac and PC cloud sync and mobile push (Saturday)
Inside MobileMe: Apple's Push vs Exchange, BlackBerry, Google (Monday)
Inside MobileMe: iPhone Mail (Today)

Push vs Fetch

The original iPhone software supported push email through Yahoo but .Mac email functioned like any other standard IMAP accountÂ*on the iPhone. With the new 2.0 update, there's now support for Exchange Server via ActiveSync, offering push email, contacts, and calendar. MobileMe similarly now provides push email, contacts, and calendar, along with bookmark updates.Â*

On the iPhone, Apple distinguishes between "Push," for automatic updates that are delivered as they appear, and "Fetch" checking for new updates on a schedule:Â*hourly, every 30 minutes, every fifteen minutes, or only manually.Â*MobileMe allows for all its message types to be delivered as push, or to be set to a fetch schedule just like a normal IMAP email account.Â*

Email can also be set to push or fetch independently of calendar and contact items. The interface for setting this up is under Settings : Fetch New Data (below; it hasn't yet even been rebranded ("we didn't update our account label to reflect") to the new MobileMe name yet).Â*Turning off push can be useful when roaming internationally where constant data access could wind up getting expensive, or simply to conserve the battery anytime messaging updates are less important than other functions.Â*



Configuring email

Account related settings and preferences are configured under Settings : Mail, Contacts, Calendar (below left). If your email accounts are already configured on the desktop, iTunes will sync them over for you. You can also configure settings manually.Â*

The iPhone presents a list of setup templates for popular email account types, including Exchange, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and AOL (below right). If you want to create a new account with one of those services, you'll have to do that yourself from the web. For most accounts, all you need to provide is an address, username and password once you've signed up.



Missing: Unified Mailbox, Alias support

While you can set up multiple accounts on the iPhone, it does not present a unified mailbox, as Mail does on the desktop. Instead, each mailbox is presented as its own set of folders. This can be confusing because the Mail icon is badged with the total number of new messages on all accounts. You have to navigate through the mail accounts to see which ones have new messages. Mixing messages together in a unified mailbox would be difficult to manage within the limited resources available on the iPhone however.Â*

Each account you set up on the iPhone for either periodic fetch or push updating also has an impact on battery life, as Mail continues to operate in the background. It may help that MobileMe can be configured to check email from another account (such as Gmail) and present all new emails centrally. MobileMe will not attempt to maintain sync with another account's IMAP folders however.

The Mail client on the iPhone also currently does not support MobileMe aliases, so you can't send messages from the iPhone using one of the five alter ego addresses the service allows you to set up (you can use these from the MobileMe web apps). Currently, the only reliable workaround is to configure a Gmail account to send its email out using your MobileMe email alias address and then configure that Gmail account on the iPhone, which is ridiculous. The iPhone only allows you to send mail out from one of your primary account addresses (below).Â*

Apple has started supporting Gmail's plus-style alias addresses, which allow you to append any tag to an email address as a suffix after a plus sign (such as "myemail+tag@mac.com"). This allows you to filter your incoming emails by unique mail-to address, and can help you track addresses you use publicly to determine how you ended up on a mailing list. Both MobileMe and Google simply ignore the tag following the plus sign and deliver the email as if it were addressed normally.



Activating MobileMe push

You have to activate MobileMe's push messaging as it is not on by default. You do this from Settings: Mail, Contacts, Calendar, under your MobileMe Account Settings (below).



If you already have existing contacts and calendar data on the iPhone, you'll need to sync your data to iTunes and then sync it up to the cloud before configuring push, because activating the service will erase all the data currently on the iPhone. After it's wiped, a fresh sync will download from the cloud. If you deactivate push, it will again warn you that the action will remove the synced items, and you'll need to sync your data back over from iTunes.

While you can configure multiple MobileMe accounts on an iPhone, only one account will work to push your calendars, contacts and bookmarks; the others can only be used to check email. You can also have both MobileMe push and Exchange Server set up to sync on the iPhone, but they will not sync or mingle their message data together.

One annoying feature that comes with push email in MobileMe is that the mailbox is only updated upon the receipt of new emails. It is not constantly updated just to reflect read items. That means if you read through all your new emails on the desktop, your iPhone will continue to display an unread count until a new email is pushed over and updates everything in the inbox, including the read email flags.

Activating SSL email security and junk and virus email filtering

You may also need to manually set up the iPhone with SSL security, if you haven't already been using this on the desktop at the time of syncing over email account settings. To do this, you just flip the SSL switch in the Advanced tab of Account Settings for Incoming Settings (IMAP); also check your Outgoing Mail Server (SMTP). Both should be mail.me.com.Â*

The service only handles SSL over port 993 for IMAP and 587 for SMTP. If these settings don't work, your ISP may be blocking the ports. Some ISPs require you to use their servers for email in an effort to manage spam. Similarly, Apple supports gigantic 20MB emails through MobileMe, but some ISPs may limit the size of emails sent through their servers.

Server-side junk mail filtering can be enabled using the Mail web app in MobileMe, and messages identified as junk can be automatically forwarded to your junk mailbox so they never hit your main inbox (below). However, this doesn't seem to be exceptional at catching junk. The Mail client in Mac OS X seems to be more effective at catching spam itself, and simply leaving it open often results in more mailbox spam purging than Apple's server side filters.Â*

Conversely, while there's no configuration for setting up virus email filtering, but MobileMe does this automatically and seems to be very good at catching and removing malware attachments before they are even delivered.



The next Inside MobileMe segment will look at MobileMe's contacts, calendering, and bookmarks on the iPhone.
post #2 of 28
Great review and explanation.

Suggest anybody that is having sync issues step through Apple's MobileMe set up page, (http://www.apple.com/mobileme/setup/iphone/mac.html) particularly Step 4 and after a RESTORE via iTunes.
post #3 of 28
Is there any way for the Mail app on the iPhone to mimic the junk mail filtering on MobileMe? At the moment, I have junk mail filtering enabled on MobileMe at the server side, but the messages that are sent to my iPhone appear in my inbox, rather than the junk mail box that the messages are in when I log into me.com.
post #4 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by hdasmith View Post

Is there any way for the Mail app on the iPhone to mimic the junk mail filtering on MobileMe? At the moment, I have junk mail filtering enabled on MobileMe at the server side, but the messages that are sent to my iPhone appear in my inbox, rather than the junk mail box that the messages are in when I log into me.com.

Perhaps this will help, Does for me.

http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to/vi...e-mail-215977/
post #5 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

Perhaps this will help, Does for me.

http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to/vi...e-mail-215977/

Thanks, but that only told me how to turn on filtering for the mobileme web app, which I had already done, it doesn't help solve the problem for the iPhone.
post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by hdasmith View Post

Thanks, but that only told me how to turn on filtering for the mobileme web app, which I had already done, it doesn't help solve the problem for the iPhone.

That shouldn't be happening so it's either an issue with the MM servers sending incorrect data to the iPhone or it's a problem with the way the iPhone is querying the mail. I think it's a server-side issue, but all you can do is to delete your MM account on the iPhone and set it up again. If That works, geat, if it doesn't then give Apple a call.
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post #7 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

While you can configure multiple MobileMe accounts on an iPhone, only one account will work to push your calendars, contacts and bookmarks; the others can only be used to check email. You can also have both MobileMe push and Exchange Server set up to sync on the iPhone, but they will not sync or mingle their message data together.


Having spent the 1st month of MobileMe on the sidelines after iMac died 6 days before launch (and that was probably a good thing), I feel lost. It is an acceptable trade-off to now have a shiny metal new Mac.

But I now need someone's help.

Short version of my set-up: iPod touch that I have configured to MobileMe/.Mac Mail; also have work MSFT Exchange, which has been configured via ActiveSync on touch to sync just Outlook Calendar & Contacts. Flawless and beautiful on the touch (I'd heard it was but still almost brought a tear to my eye to watch it work yesterday)

My problem? How do I sync those 2 things back to Address Book & iCal on my Mac? Those programs are presently worthless to me at home, since my primary place of keeping them current is at work. I'd like to have them, either auto or manually, kept current. Former/present solution is to use the Blackberry program and sync my Blakberry. But this is unreliable as not everything syncs consistently and often generates duplicates of recurring or recurring or multi-day meetings.

Any suggestions? I came to work this morning assumin there was something I'd not configured properly for the cloud not to have worked last night. This article was timed perfectly, as it appear I may be out of luck?

I lay myself at the mercy of the dozens of far more talented users I read on here every day....
post #8 of 28
Proved my ineptitude by posting same thing twice. Can't figure out how to delete altogether, so replacing with this sad admission of my skillz...
post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZagMac View Post

My problem? How do I sync those 2 things back to Address Book & iCal on my Mac?

The MacOSXHints forums are a much better place for these questions. It's fine here, but they are designed for helping people and resolving these issues.

This site may help you: http://discussions.apple.com/thread....8102&tstart=45
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post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by hdasmith View Post

Thanks, but that only told me how to turn on filtering for the mobileme web app, which I had already done, it doesn't help solve the problem for the iPhone.

I am not sure what you problelm is. My junk mail on MobileMe and my Mail on my Mac end up in the JUNK folder on my iPhone using the directions supplied.
post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

I am not sure what you problelm is. My junk mail on MobileMe and my Mail on my Mac end up in the JUNK folder on my iPhone using the directions supplied.

Well at the moment, the junk mail is left sitting in my inbox of the iPhone rather than the junk folder. Whilst not a big problem, it's still frustrating.
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by hdasmith View Post

Well at the moment, the junk mail is left sitting in my inbox of the iPhone rather than the junk folder. Whilst not a big problem, it's still frustrating.

You've stated this already, but you haven't stated the steps you've made to rectify the situation.
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post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by hdasmith View Post

Well at the moment, the junk mail is left sitting in my inbox of the iPhone rather than the junk folder. Whilst not a big problem, it's still frustrating.

It is probably how your PUSH and FETCH is preferenced.

I have my MobileMe Sync on my menu bar and hit the SYNC NOW if I alter any emails, contacts, calendar files or preferences on my Mac. Check your MobileMe account to ensure your Junk mail is working properly.

I would suggest checking you MobileMe Set Up. Follow the directions to the letter*. Even RESTORE your iPhone via iTunes. Most of my issues and in particular my friends/colleagues/clients has been simply not setting the preference properly.

Good luck.

*Remember the adage, too many cooks spoil the broth. Best you stick to Apples directions.
post #14 of 28
As evidenced by the comments on this very thread, this article does yet another poor job in terms of identifying things that are wrong with MobileMe Mail. It's detailed (ish), but on the other hand really lacks any answers for the large numbers of people having problems with the MobileMe service. It carefully dances around the problems without seriously getting into them, perhaps for fear of making Apple look bad again. This author's bias is showing once again in other words.

How about mentioning that every single part of the Apple MobileMe mail experience has a different interface and a different UI than every other part, and how terribly confusing this is to most people? The desktop Mail.app, the MobileMe web-based email, and the iPhone email all have completely different sets of settings and preferences, all laid out in completely different ways.

How about going further than just mentioning that some parts are "push" and some parts are "fetch" and how this causes all kinds of serious problems with syncing your email?

How about owning up to the fact that while the entire basis of IMAP mail clients is picking and choosing which mail folders you wish to sync, that Apple does not currently even allow that functionality?

How about talking about the hidden "non-sync" features of MobileMe mail. For instance if you never check your "sent items" folder, it will not be synced (to save time presumably), yet Apple clearly implies to it's customers that this folder is in fact synced?

The article is "okay" (for what it is), but each and every one of the things I mentioned here are serious issues that your reviewer seems to want to gloss over. Let's have *all* the facts, not just the positive ones with a nice "we love Apple" gloss over the top.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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post #15 of 28
Hello.

I still don't get how deleting a message on my iPhone MobileMe account deletes it from Mail on both my MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. I mean, what's up with that?

What's a guy have to do to keep that from happening?

elearn
post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by elearn View Post

What's a guy have to do to keep that from happening?

Don't delete your mail. It's IMAP, so it's all tied together.

I'm trying to setup POP for MM mail but it's not working. I'm guessing that it's disabled.

edit: You need to add an 'Other' mail account and use mail.mac.com for your incoming mail serveand smtp.mac.com for your outgoing mail. SSL looks to be optional, but I'd use it.
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post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple has started supporting Gmail's plus-style alias addresses, which allow you to append any tag to an email address as a suffix after a plus sign (such as "myemail+tag@mac.com").

Google isn't the one who came up with plus addressing, which you appear to imply. Many e-mail providers, like FastMail, supported this method of addressing before Gmail even existed.
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Mixing messages together in a unified mailbox would be difficult to manage within the limited resources available on the iPhone however.*

Would anyone care to comment on this?
post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

As evidenced by the comments on this very thread, this article does yet another poor job in terms of identifying things that are wrong with MobileMe Mail.

Thanks for your tireless lack of approval.

Quote:
How about mentioning that every single part of the Apple MobileMe mail experience has a different interface and a different UI than every other part, and how terribly confusing this is to most people? The desktop Mail.app, the MobileMe web-based email, and the iPhone email all have completely different sets of settings and preferences, all laid out in completely different ways.

Their interfaces are appropriately different. And most people will simply sync their configured accounts to the iPhone. Inventing this as a problem is hogwash. It is exceptionally easy to set up email on the iPhone from any number of sources, and clearly superior to other smartphones.

Quote:
How about going further than just mentioning that some parts are "push" and some parts are "fetch" and how this causes all kinds of serious problems with syncing your email?

There are no problems with "syncing your mail" related to the fact that calendars and contacts on the desktop sync rather than push updates up the cloud instantly. Further, this article is about mail, which is push on both the iPhone and desktop. Email updates are by definition "push" because they send when you send them rather than queuing up to sync at intervals as contact and iCal updates currently do. Again, more pointless rabble rousing.

Quote:
How about owning up to the fact that while the entire basis of IMAP mail clients is picking and choosing which mail folders you wish to sync, that Apple does not currently even allow that functionality?

Attempting to maintain sync with a number of different IMAP mailboxes would be completely impractical on a handheld device over a mobile network. Apple does the appropriate thing by allowing you to access any mailboxes you've configured, and updating them only as you visit them.

Quote:
How about talking about the hidden "non-sync" features of MobileMe mail. For instance if you never check your "sent items" folder, it will not be synced (to save time presumably), yet Apple clearly implies to it's customers that this folder is in fact synced?

Again, it would be stupid for Apple to assume that every user wants to spend their battery keeping their seldom used IMAP mailboxes in sync all the time. If you want to access emails you've sent, you hit sent items and refresh them. Let go of the idea that your ability to imagineeer features is somehow a strike against Apple's actual engineering efforts to build a workable device.

Apple also only iterates the first 25 messages in each folder. I currently have 1,300 messages in my inbox, and many tens of thousands of emails in my MobileMe folders. I don't want all that synced on my iPhone, as it would never be able to do anything else. I can however access any of that as needed on demand. Previous articles noted that MobileMe is missing an email server-side search option, which is a critical omission that needs to be addressed.

Quote:
The article is "okay" (for what it is), but each and every one of the things I mentioned here are serious issues that your reviewer seems to want to gloss over. Let's have *all* the facts, not just the positive ones with a nice "we love Apple" gloss over the top.

There are several examples of missing or incomplete features in the article, and you have been unable to articulate any other real examples of flaws that haven't been covered. That indicates your insistence of a conspiracy to hide the truth is wildly overblown.
post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Push vs Fetch

The original iPhone software supported push email through Yahoo but .Mac email functioned like any other standard IMAP account*on the iPhone. With the new 2.0 update, there's now support for Exchange Server via ActiveSync, offering push email, contacts, and calendar. MobileMe similarly now provides push email, contacts, and calendar, along with bookmark updates.*

On the iPhone, Apple distinguishes between "Push," for automatic updates that are delivered as they appear, and "Fetch" checking for new updates on a schedule:*hourly, every 30 minutes, every fifteen minutes, or only manually.*MobileMe allows for all its message types to be delivered as push, or to be set to a fetch schedule just like a normal IMAP email account.*

That's too simplistic. IMAP has supported push email for years with the IDLE protocol. I've been using it for years on my Symbian phone. Almost every mail server running off a cPanel based hosting company has had IMAP IDLE support for years. Apple Mail on the desktop in Leopard supports it. I don't recall if Tiger did.

I would suspect that MobileMe actually uses IMAP IDLE to push email updates as does Yahoo Mail on the iPhone.
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prince View Post

Attempting to maintain sync with a number of different IMAP mailboxes would be completely impractical on a handheld device over a mobile network. Apple does the appropriate thing by allowing you to access any mailboxes you've configured, and updating them only as you visit them.

No, the appropriate thing would be to give you the option to sync each mailbox, while making the default behaviour not to sync them.
post #22 of 28
erratum
post #23 of 28
erratum
post #24 of 28
erratum
post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

erratum

hehe I put that picture at about 1993 for the jeans. That makes the kid about 25yo.
http://homepage.mac.com/fortunecookie/.Pictures/jd.jpeg
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post #26 of 28
post #27 of 28
Quote:

I think you need to use you http://homepage.mac.com/%user_name%/ address.
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post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I think you need to use you http://homepage.mac.com/%user_name%/ address.

Thanks Solipsism.

My son was on and decided to host his iPhone speed.

By the way, you were pretty close. Just a few years off. But close enough.
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