Among other mail improvements, iOS 7 does a better job of selecting the ‘from’ address when replying to an e-mail. But if you’re like me you weren’t able to take advantage of this with the way you handle your Gmail aliases. (A Gmail alias, for those who don’t know, is simply another e-mail address that funnels through your Gmail account.)
It took a lot of hunting around before I was able to figure out the correct setup. I’m writing this up to save other the effort of having to pull together all the pieces of the puzzle.
The way I used to have everything set up was using multiple mail accounts. One was my official Gmail account, and the others had fake incoming e-mail settings and Gmail as outgoing. This worked pretty well except for the occasional error from the Mail app about not being able to contact the incoming server.
The big issue was replying to an e-mail sent to one of my non-Gmail accounts. iOS always replied using the address associated with the inbox which was always my Gmail address. I almost never use it so every time I would have to select one of my other accounts.
These alternate addresses are actually supported by iOS, but not through the Gmail account type. The trick is in setting it up as a regular IMAP account.
Edit 9/2016: Note for TFA Users – Before you continue, a quick note if you’re using two-factor authentication of some sort. Since these instructions don’t use the standard Gmail account type, you won’t be prompted to enter your second factor code. For situations like this, Google allows you to set up what they call an “application password”. Note this down and use the password for for ALL passwords during setup of this account.
Edit 9/2016: Note on Allowed Aliases – One other thing to note is that Gmail will actively prevent you from sending e-mail through accounts that it doesn’t know. After all, you could be sending spam. You have to add the account through Gmail Settings -> Accounts and Import -> Send mail as:. That’s outside the scope of this guide, but there are plenty of guides out there including Google’s documentation. Bottom line is if you can use the alias addresses in Gmail’s web client then you can use it for the instructions below.
Here are the steps. This works the same whether you’re using the iPhone or iPad, but I’ve included screenshots from setting it up on an iPhone.
- First go to the Settings app. Look for this icon:
- Go to Mail, Contacts, Calendars
- If you already have a Gmail account added, you have two choices. The account we are going to add wont’ sync calendar or contacts so you can select only these to sync (blue box) or you can just delete the account (red box).
- Click Add Account.
- Choose Other.
- Choose Add Mail Account.
- Enter your name, full Gmail address, password, and give the account some sort of description. When you click Next, your account will authorize with Google and then you can change more settings.
- Make the following selections.
Account Type – IMAP
Incoming Mail Server: Host Name – imap.gmail.com
Outgoing Mail Server: Host Name – smtp.gmail.com
User Names – Use your full Gmail address
- Choose to sync Mail. (I sync Notes here as well.) Now click Save.
- Your new Gmail account is now listed among your accounts. Touch it to open it up and touch Account to access its settings.
- Touch the Email field.
- Here’s where the magic happens! Touch Add Another Email… to add as many e-mails as you want. (Remember these have to be preauthorized by Google.)
- Once you’ve added your addresses, you can choose one of them for the default, indicated by the blue check ().
- (Optional) The last thing is to do is set mail to be archived instead of deleted. Back at the Account page, touch Advanced.
- Touch Mailbox Behaviors: Archive Mailbox.
- Look for the “[Gmail]” folder and touch “All Mail”.
- Back at the Advanced screen, touch Move Discarded Messages Into: Archive Mailbox.
And that’s it. Your aliases will work without a problem.
Feel free to leave questions or suggestions in the comments section.