In the wake of the beta release of Inbox by Gmail, an alternative to the Gmail app, the Gmail app quietly received a major update.
Gmail 5.0 recently became available, via apkmirror and brings with it a massive change in UI and a couple additional features.
I’ll get to some UI screenshots in a minute, but first I’ll mention the two extra features that stood out to me (meaning, the only two I noticed).
First, is the ability to add IMAP accounts. In the past, you were able to add POP3 accounts via the settings on desktop Gmail, and now, you can add POP/IMAP accounts in the gmail app. This may not sound super exciting, but when I explain how they did it you may be a bit more intrigued.
Previously, adding a POP3 account just took incoming mail to that POP3 account and dumped it into your Gmail inbox. This was OK but if you wanted any kind of organization you had to create a label for those messages, and a filter to send them to that label. That helped a little bit.
With the update to Gmail for Android, you can add a POP/IMAP account to your Gmail app as a separate account. Meaning, if you tap on the hamburger menu button, then tap on your email address, not only will it allow you to toggle between different Gmail accounts, like always, it now lets you toggle between Gmail AND your POP/IMAP accounts. So now you can use the Gmail app to check all your email, instead of using the Gmail app to check Gmail, and another app (probably the stock Mail app that came with the phone, or perhaps a 3rd party app like K-9) to check your other accounts.
The second added feature is very similar to the first, the Gmail app supports Exchange! That’s right, if your job hates you enough to force you into using Exchange for email, you can check that account right from your Gmail app now as well. This feature doesn’t work right out of the box — so to speak — however, you will need to install this APK first. Once you do that, Exchange will show up under Add Account, right here with POP/IMAP.
Now for some screenshots:
First you’re presented with a video introducing you to the new Gmail.
<--click screenshot to watch video Then a screen showcasing the exciting new feature.
Here’s a slider showing you the steps it took to add my test exchange account to my new Gmail app.
It’s pretty straight forward. It doesn’t seem to support ActiveSync because I had to enter the mail server. So it’s not quite as slick as the stock Email app where you just put in your username/password and it auto-detects your settings for you. But it’s still pretty easy.
As you can see from the screenshots, this new app is all about Material Design, and it’s better for it. The app looks almost identical to the new Inbox app released not too long ago.