LinkedIn Intro does a beautiful job of auto-discovering your environment and auto-configuring itself. A click or two by the user, and she’s up and running with active LinkedIn data in her email app.All this clever engineering hides the fact that LinkedIn is accessing your email on your behalf. Intro uses an IMAP proxy server to fetch your mail where they modify it, then deliver it to your iPhone. Classic Man in the Middle.Is LinkedIn Intro good, bad, or impossible? | VentureBeat.

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Google provides a method for accessing their Gmail service via the IMAP protocol. IMAP is a standard protocol for accessing email but unlike POP3 the email stays on the remote server. With POP3 you are limited to reading your email from one location. With IMAP the email stays on the server and you can read it from any computer. IMAP is the method I use to access my Gmail in Apple Mail. If I read an email in a web browser then it is marked as read on the server and in Mail.app. The iPad also has support for IMAP. Google provides no instruction on how to access the calendar service via the iPad but setup is fairly easy.

Google provides a method for accessing their Calendar service via the CalDAV protocol. CalDAV is a standard protocol that allows access to web based calendars from desktop clients like iCal. From iCal I can create calendar entries that appear in my Google web calendar and vice versa. The iPad also has support for CalDAV. Google provides no instruction on how to access the calendar service via the iPad but setup is fairly easy.

Setup Mail and Calendar

Add AccountsTo first thing we need to do is launch the Settings app on the iPad and click the Mail, Contact, Calendar tab.  We will be presented with several options but we are going to select Gmail.

Google Apps MailEnter your email address, password. The Description field is optional but go ahead an enter something to identify the account especially if you have multiple email account.  Then select Next.

Verifying Google Apps CalendarYou will get a message that your account is being verified.

Google Apps EmailIf your user-name and password are correct, the iPad will login you in and return you to the Mail, Contact, Calendar tab. You will now see a list of your mail and calendar accounts. Select the Mail account you just created (this is why it's important to enter something in the Description field). We are going to ensure that we are communicating securely with Google's servers.  Select Advanced?
Use SSLSelect the switch to ensure that SSL is enabled. SSL is a encryption technology that ensures that the communication between your iPad and Google's servers stays secure. Select "Done" and your mail account will be setup.

IMG_0015Email setup is now complete. Now for calendar. Back at the Add Account screen, select Other. From this screen select Add CalDAV Account.

Google Apps CalendarEnter www.google.com for the server and then add your Google Apps email address and password. If you have a Gmail account enter your email address.  Select None.  You don't need to add anything under Advanced so just go ahead and select Done.  Once your account information is verified you will be returned to the main Mail, Contact, Calendar tab?

IMG_0012You should now be able to sync your calendar and email with Google's services.

What about Contacts?

Neither Google nor Apple provide a way sync Google Contacts with the iPad directly as we have done above with Mail and Calendar.  However, all is not lost.  Apple provides a way via iTunes and setup is easy.

Plug in your iPad and then select it in iTunes.

Picture 1Select the the Info tab.  Click the Sync Address Book Contact check-box.  Then select the All contacts radio button.  Next, select the Sync Google Contacts check-box and click the Configure button.

Google Contacts Login infoEnter you Google ID and password and click OK.  Then click the Sync button and iTunes will sync your current Google Contacts to your iPad.  Each time you sync your iPad, iTunes will sync your any changes to your Google Contacts to the iPad Contacts.  Changes to iPad Contacts are synced back to Google Contacts.

Conclusion

I love Google Apps and I am excited that I can check or update my mail, calendar or contacts from anywhere - a browser, my Mac, and now, my iPad.  I have also written articles on how to sync Google Apps with Mail, Calendar, and Contacts with your iMac.

In a previous post I mentioned that I had already configured my Mac to use some of Google's free services and how I felt that this was a cheap way to get some of the same features offered in MobileMe. Namely, I configured Mail.app for use with Gmail, synced my Address Book to my Gmail Contacts, and connected iCal to my Google Calendar. In this post, I explain how to setup Leopard Mail.app for reading Gmail.

IMAP vs POP3

Google provides three ways to access Gmail, their free email service; via the browser, POP3, or IMAP. The Post Office Protocol version 3 (POP3) is a standard protocol used by local e-mail clients to retrieve e-mail from a remote server and download it to the client. IMAP is also a standard protocol for accessing email but unlike POP3 the email stays on the remote server. With POP3 you are limited to reading your email from one location. With IMAP the email stays on the server and you can read it from any computer. IMAP is the method I use to access my Gmail in Mail.app. If I read an email in a web browser then it is marked as read on the server and in Mail.app.

Configuration

Picture 2.pngConfiguring Mail.app to use Gmail is relatively easy. Google has provided excellent instructions on their Gmail Help web site. I have provided my own version here. I think screen shots help in understanding. Launch Mail.app and click Mail->Preferences from the menu bar. Click on the Accounts tab and then click the "+" symbol on the lower left to start the account creation wizard.

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Enter your name, your Gmail address and password. Be sure to deselect the "Automatically set up account" check box. This check box is enabled by default and automatically creates an entry for POP3 access. We want to setup for IMAP. Now click continue.

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Click the Account Type drop down and select IMAP. Be sure to change the Incoming Mail Server address to imap.gmail.com. Leave the other fields as they are and click Continue.

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The next screen is for setting up the Outgoing Mail server information. Other than entering a description, e.g Gmail, you can go ahead and click continue. This will take you to a confirmation summary page. If it all looks correct go ahead and click create. The new account should now appear in the Account column on the left.
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Tweaks

There are a few small details that will make reading Gmail in Mail.app easier. We will need to change a few things to make Mail.app play nice with Gmail. Google has a number of DO's and DON'Ts that will ensure a smooth experience using Mail.app. Google wants all deleted or sent mail to use the local trash and sent folders. While still in the Accounts tab make sure to deselect all the checkboxes except for "Store draft messages on the server".Picture 9.png

Summary

One of the benefits of using Mail.app with Gmail is that you can now take advantage of all of Mail.app goodness. You can set fonts, colors, backgrounds, and signatures, or one of those interesting templates and pick addresses right from your Address Book. Next post, I'll tell you how to sync your Gmail contact straight with Leopard Address Book.
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