iPhone owners wrestle with missing e-mail downloads

in iPhone edited January 2014
As much as the iPhone 2.1 firmware appears to have resolved many outstanding glitches with Apple's device, an increasing number of users say the update has broken background e-mail checks.

Dozens of users in Apple's support forums (1, 2) note that Mail in version 2.1 appears to drop frequent mail checks regardless of whether the device is set to fetch messages on a schedule or to push mail in real time. As a result, these users often don't receive e-mail until they check manually -- even for Exchange and MobileMe accounts that should respond almost instantly.

The problem occurs regardless of the particular iPhone model as well as the troubleshooting steps taken. While some have tried disabling the auto-lock feature to force the iPhone to stay awake, others have tried recreating accounts or restoring the phone entirely, all of which produce the same ineffectual result.

Most of those vocal about the problem, however, have discovered that the issue seems directly tied to the power state of iPhones. As long as the handset is active or plugged into a power source, it continues to receive mail at whatever rate its email settings would dictate. In a user's pocket, however, the phone appears to stop checking altogether until it's woken for use.

A few also report even a powered device failing to receive mail as long as the screen is blank.

Apple's response to the problem has been mixed. At least some customers say they have received acknowledgement from technicians that the problem is widespread, while one Apple representative has gone so far as to briefly join in the discussions and suggest troubleshooting steps.

"I just received a telephone call from the same product specialist, and he confirms that 6 other iPhones in their building are exhibiting the exact same problem," says one of the affected iPhone owners. "This is a global problem. This in their eyes is a 'major' issue and is getting escalated as we speak."

Even so, Apple hasn't as of yet chosen to inform all its technicians and is still asking Geniuses and other staff to perform normal troubleshooting, including phone replacements. For some customers, the lack of a more public and comprehensive recognition is pushing them to consider other smartphones that don't suffer the same e-mail issues.

"Funny how there are articles on loads of sites on how 2.1 does this and that and how great it is meant to be but no one outside forums is mentioning this," one British iPhone owner states. "My friends blackberry [sic] may not look as flash and may not do all the things my iphone [sic] can, BUT IT WORKS."


  • Reply 1 of 87
    count me in as one of the affected. A temporary fix (not guaranteed, but it does tend to work for a couple hours) is to turn off push, power down the phone, then power up the phone and re-enable push. though this is far from ideal, at least its a partial solution.

    really starting to peeve me off that they haven't fixed this yet though.
  • Reply 2 of 87
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    As much as the iPhone 2.1 firmware appears to have resolved many outstanding glitches with Apple's device, an increasingly large number of users say the update has broken background e-mail checks for many e-mail accounts.

    But, hey, battery life is significantly improved with 2.1!

    Oops, maybe this is why.
  • Reply 3 of 87
    I have had this problem before the 2.1 update. The update seems to have helped but not cure this. I am assuming it is a carrier problem because email is not the only thing that stops checking. Today I received a voicemail 2 hours after it was left.
  • Reply 4 of 87
    Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

    But, hey, battery life is significantly improved with 2.1!

    Oops, maybe this is why.

    This problem predates 2.1 for me as well. I believe it was introduced in 2.0.1, but it may have been there beforehand.
  • Reply 5 of 87
    I'm also affected (1st gen iphone). MobileMe was giving me "pushed" mail hours after i received them. So I turned off mobileme and went back to gmail. What a shitty job apple is doing... Also, gmail and my other mail is also very slow and takes at least half an hour to give me the mail, even though i set it to fetch at 15 minute intervals. 2.0 and 2.0.1 and 2.0.2 finally fixed the email problems that have ALWAYS existed for me since 1.1.2. 1.1.1 had worked great for me. And then email stopped working for a whole YEAR. then they finally fixed it in 2.0. But then they broke it again in 2.1. WTF....
  • Reply 6 of 87
    Fetch/push for Gmail has stopped working for me when the phone is not active or connected to power since upgrading to 2.1
  • Reply 7 of 87
    I've noticed that if you reset (hold down both the home and wake/sleep buttons until the apple appears) you can force the phone to get mail too. Annoying, but effective.
  • Reply 8 of 87
    As always, early adopters get to play beta tester. I, on the other hand, wait until everything has been ironed out before buying.
  • Reply 9 of 87
    Originally Posted by Tauron View Post

    As always, early adopters get to play beta tester. I, on the other hand, wait until everything has been ironed out before buying.

    You could end up waiting a LONG-TIME, my friend! :-)
  • Reply 10 of 87
    eaieai Posts: 417member
    I've noticed this too, though I hadn't given it much thought. Not a massive issue for me, but I'd like it to work again...
  • Reply 11 of 87
    I've had this problem since the 2 series updates came out, I was hoping that each new update would take care of the problem but it hasn't. I have the first series iphone and it worked good for the first year with no problems with e-mail but hasn't worked properly since the new 3G phones came out. This is like getting yesterday's newspaper today and that's not acceptable.

  • Reply 12 of 87
    Since the latest release my email delivery has been intermittent - as highlighted above in the other posts. Hadn't put two and two together but now it does seem to only receive Exchange messages when either charging or I am actively using the device to surf the web etc.
  • Reply 13 of 87
    I too have this problem on my 1st gen phone. This has been an issue for me with my GMail account on and off over the last year. 2.0 and 2.0.1 seemed to have finally totally fixed it for me (though everything else about that firmware was broken), then 2.1 REALLY killed it. The worst consistency with fetch has been with 2.1. Every now and then it seems to fetch on its own, but I'd say only about 5% of the time. Plugging the phone in does not seem to change anything despite it working for others.
  • Reply 14 of 87
    since the update to 2.1 - my exchange account seems to be updating more consistently. - my ".me" account, doesn't update unless i "wake" the phone and go into the account - regardless of the iphone being set on "fetch" -
  • Reply 15 of 87
    I don't think it's a power source issue, I wonder if the issue is if it is scheduled to fetch mail and it doesn't have a signal it gets thrown off from there. If it's in someones pocket they are more likely to be impeding the signal to the phone. My .me mail account has always worked as advertised, as has my gmail account.
  • Reply 16 of 87
    one email improvement seems to be that you can delete email when you're in an area with no signal (like an elevator or a plane) - when I tried to do this before 2.1 - i would get a message that the network was unavailable and that the emails couldn't be moved (presumably to the trash) and they would all reappear as though not deleted.
  • Reply 17 of 87
    I pay for mobile me, i pay line rental, yet when i post a complaint on apples forums it gets removed and i get a warning email EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE APPLE.

    THIS IS A JOKE what a HUGE error to make, did they not test this 2.1 firmware AT ALL?
  • Reply 18 of 87
    My apple account has just received a warning because i posted a long to this news site article on the forums in apples help section.



    Seems ther take on this is to shut their CUSTOMERS up.
  • Reply 19 of 87
    Originally Posted by al82 View Post

    THIS IS A JOKE what a HUGE error to make, did they not test this 2.1 firmware AT ALL?

    No, it was not tested at all. They paid a 16-year-old kid to cobble it together in his mom's basement and then pushed it out on iTunes with no testing whatsoever. Isn't that how all companies do it?

    Geez, I'm so sick of these whiners. Everything was pleasant (but admittedly not perfect) until iTunes/iPod for Windows. Then we got this huge influx of people who have complaining on the internet as their hobby. Now the iPhone has made it worse.

    From the article -- six people had a problem and the guy labels it a "global" crisis. Ummm... no.

    I'm not pretending that Apple is perfect, but you Windows whiners need to get a grip. Feel free to return all of your Apple gear so the signal to noise ratio on the internet can return to normal.
  • Reply 20 of 87
    I've had this problem from day one on my iPod touch. It's not exactly new.

    There are lots of times when the software does not check for mail and many many times when it does not sync your mail folders. It has a "smart" (i.e. - dumb) algorithm that lets it save power by not doing all this stuff 24/7.

    For instance IMAP clients are supposed to sync all your mail folders all the time so that it's always the same everywhere. iPhone and iPod don't even come close to this functionality.

    If you don't check your sent mail folder on your mobile for weeks, it won't sync it for weeks. Also even if you set your mobile client on your iPhone to use the local trash, it will still fail to move an email to the trash if it can't connect to the server. Conversely, if you set the mobile client on the iPhone to use the trash on the server, it will keep a copy in the local trash, a copy in the trash on the server and a copy in a folder on the client that is synced with the trash on the server. Giving you three trashes. Hands up anyone who has looked at their iPhone/iPod and seen about a dozen stupid duplicate folders underneath the regular set. Every single person I know with one of these has.

    Needless to say syncing all this and keeping track of the things wilfully synced and purposely *not* synced (despite your clear direction to the software to sync it), is a nightmare. It's no wonder that they cant get all this nonsense straight.

    It does make me wonder though why they don't go the simple route and adhere to the standard IMAP situation where everything is synced always. It would be far easier to keep under control even if they do have to admit that the battery life sucks that way.
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