About software, technology and random things


iPhone Mail Push Notification without App and for free

Hey guys!

It's been a little while and I've come to own an iPhone now 🙂

One thing that frankly bothered me a little was the fact that apparently you can't have your mail show up automatically (especially with that nifty little badge with the number of new mails in the main menu) if you

  • have a mail account on a server that doesn't bring Apple Push Notifications
  • and you don't want to let your Mail app check on your mails periodically.

The best solution would of course be Push Notifications. But how would you do that without having to buy an extra app (and risking a trust-wise questionable third party to get your login details) and/or registering on such a website that creates an e-mail address for you, maybe even in exchange for subscription fees?

Actually, the latter part gave me the solution itself. As it says on the Wikipedia page for Push e-mail (iPhone/iPod touch section), Yahoo! Mail supports Push Notification - even for free accounts!

So what can we do with that?

We can set up a separate account at Yahoo Mail that will exclusively handle the e-mails we want to be Push Notified about. And in conjunction with appropriate mail filter rules we can redirect e-mails to our actual e-mail account(s) to the new Yahoo Mail address.

On the iPhone/iPod touch we keep the actual, old e-mail account as it is and create a new one (Setting => Mail, Contacts, Calendars => Add Account) for the Yahoo Mail address. We choose of course Yahoo Mail and enter the correct details. You can leave the Outgoing Mail Server settings as they are.

Now, why do we keep the actual account on the phone and why would we leave the Outgoing Mail Server settings on Yahoo settings if we wanted to keep that Yahoo address hidden from everyone else (and also replying with another e-mail address would be mildly confusing to the person who wrote to you).

Well, personally, I just use the Yahoo account as a pure Push Notification service. I see the number of new mails in the badge on the top right corner of the Mail app icon, I navigate to the Yahoo inbox folder, delete the mails (maybe clear it altogether), navigate back to my main mail account and read (and reply to) the new mails from there.

You get my point?

Hopefully that's of good use to you. For me, it saves me the trouble of having to buy an app which I'm probably not going to like completely 🙂

PS: If you run into trouble on Yahoo Mail with having all your forwarded mail dumped into the spam folder, set up some rules to move mails with "To: [email protected]" into the inbox folder. That should take care of it.