Stay Sane with Multiple Email Accounts on an iPhone by Using Different Apps
Many of us juggle multiple email accounts these days, one for work, one for personal, one for various web signups, and whatever else. While you can easily configure the default iOS Mail app to manage multiple accounts and inboxes and flip between them yourself, another approach is to separate the mail accounts completely by using different apps for each account, and launching them only when needed.
This allows for incredibly simple management of different mail accounts, and you can easily separate work from play, and the spam from the important stuff, by doing nothing more than only using the app that is appropriate for the use. Don’t want to read work email on the weekend? Don’t launch the designated work app. Don’t want to have junkmail buzzing your pocket constantly when something lands in your inbox? Disable alerts for that specified app without impacting the important mail in the others. Plus you’ll have the added sanity bonus of not having a giant number as the red alert badge on the Mail app.
The obvious caveat with this approach will be the dependency on the additional accounts either being Gmail or Yahoo Mail, but considering how ubiquitous those services are it shouldn’t be much of a problem. Head over to the App Store and download one (or both) of the free apps for Ymail and Gmail:
There isn’t much to configure with either app directly, just login with the appropriate account for both or either and you’ll be in the respective emails inbox.
The real trick here is how you use the apps and keep your individual email accounts completely separate, and that’s going to come down to self control and maintaining the boundaries between accounts. You will find that fine-tuning control over Notification Center will help this, which is done in Settings > Notifications > GMail and Settings > Notifications > Yahoo! Mail. For my purposes, I have Gmail set up with a badge but no alert, and an old Yahoo account serves as a bucket for nonsense mail gets no notifications at all.
You can do the same on an iPad and iPod touch of course, and on the desktop side of things it can be best to create a new user account to force that kind of separation – which, by the way, would be an excellent feature in iOS – then either use WebMail, corporate VPN, or configure Mail app differently for each account.