How Does Gmail Work on Android?

by Ashley Poland

When you set up a new Android device, be it a phone or a tablet, one of the first things to do is sync it with your Google account. Once you've signed in with your account, your Gmail is all ready to go -- whether you're using the Android Email app or the branded Gmail app. On a device that isn't yours, you can still check Gmail in the mobile browser.

Syncing Google Account

When you first open a Google app, such as Gmail or the Play Store, you'll be asked to sign in to your Google account. If you have multiple accounts, don't worry; you can choose a primary one to sync to your Android device and add more email addresses to the Gmail or Email app later. One you've signed in with your Google account, your contacts will be synced to your device.

Gmail App

Google recommends using the Gmail app for accessing your accounts for the wider range of features available. In addition to keeping your inbox and messages in sync, you can also see labels on your messages, mark them as important and manage multiple accounts. The Gmail app works by dealing with everything on the servers rather than downloading messages to your phone. If you check your email on your computer, messages will be marked as read on your Android device.

Email App

Tap the Email app, and any Gmail messages in your inbox will be there -- both old and new. The Email app uses Internet Message Access Protocol, which manages the messages on the server, which keeps them in sync to any device you check your email on. If you want to add an extra account, tap the "Settings" button and then "Accounts." You can add both Gmail and other email accounts to the Email app.

In the Browser

If you're on an Android device that isn't yours, or you want to check an email account that you don't want to sync to your device, you can check your Gmail account from the browser. The mobile version of the Gmail website is designed with touch screens in mind. The messages are easy to tap, and all additional clutter such as labels have been hidden. You can still delete, archive, star and mark messages from the browser, as well as reply to and compose new messages.

About the Author

Ashley Poland has been writing since 2009. She has worked with local online businesses, supplying print and web content, and pursues an active interest in the computer, technology and gaming industries. In addition to content writing, Poland is also a fiction writer. She studied creative writing at Kansas State University.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images