Stay Sane with Multiple Email Accounts on an iPhone by Using Different Apps

Dec 20, 2012 - 12 Comments

Multiple email accounts on iPhone as managed with 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.


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Posted by: AJ in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Andreas says:

    Completely agree with Mac and Chintan. Is there a way to install WP on an iPhone?

  2. Chintan says:

    I completely agree with Mac. I owned Windows 8 phone for 2 years and this was 1 of the few things i noticed was really nice on Windows phone.
    In that i can check what accounts have how many new emails and open the emails just for specific account based on my priorities of account and ignore emails of other accounts.
    Also WP had a good feature of just showing the number of new emails from the last visit and not all the unread emails count.
    I switched just because few of the apps which i wanted were not available on WP8.

  3. Mac says:

    The main reason to have separate icons is prioritization at different times of day in different settings. Why would I want to weed through spam, order and shipment notifications during a business trip, when wifi time is sporadic? Another is the fact that I can just start a message and send it with only an initial icon selection. One more is looking up and having to read the header to find out is a phishing message, because it came through the wrong account. I’m a compartment person: I don’t mix personal life with work life. I owned a BB and loved the separation. I got a droid and hated all the buttons I had to push, so I got widgets. Still limping there. I use an iPhone for travel and it is the worst: hitting return to see the list of accounts… I guess everyone prefers familiarity, but having used all three platforms I would have stayed with BB if it wasn’t for the smaller number of apps available.

  4. Randy says:

    One watch out is that it appears your default accout can only be selected from within the Mail app, and I wanted my gmail address to be default. After downloading and using Gmail app, I cannot select gmail as my default.

  5. Mark says:

    Why don’t you just sync/subscribe to gmail calendars with iso calendar app ..

    As for mail I just have them all coming into the mail account, why have multiple apps when one will do it all.

  6. Adam Platti says:

    Can you research a solution for calendars? I find it very painful to check two different gmail calendars from iOS.

  7. Steve says:

    I use the Mail App on my iPhone, iPad and Mac to manage 5 different email accounts. iCloud, GMail and 3 other iMAP accounts. I do not see the rational of using multiple programs to keep the mail separate. You can view a combined inbox or view each one individually. It is great to have all my mail in one application.

  8. Robbertvdd says:

    Is Yahoo! really used by real people? In my whole life I haven’t met a single person who used Yahoo! although I get spam from Yahoo! accounts several times a day. In my whole live I’ve got thousands of emails from Yahoo! accounts, but not a single legitimate one. All of them were spam. Here in Europe everyone used Hotmail and now Hotmail and Gmail.

  9. Winski says:

    So folks screaming for years about unified mailboxes, they are here on Macs, iPads, iPhones now for YEARS, and now … USE SEPERATE APPS.


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