Did you know that you don’t need a Gmail™ app to get your Gmail messages on your BlackBerry® smartphone? Since 2009, BlackBerry smartphones with OS 5.0 and above have integrated native support for Gmail. When you use the Enhanced Gmail™ Plug-in, your BlackBerry smartphone can support multiple Gmail email accounts, have calendar and contact syncing, and access Gmail-specific functions such as Archive, Star, Label, Conversations View and Remote Search. So even though Google® announced it will no longer offer new versions of Gmail app for BlackBerry smartphones, we’ve got #TeamBlackBerry covered. Read on if you want to learn how to integrate Gmail email using BlackBerry® Internet Service.
If you have a Gmail email account, you can integrate it with your BlackBerry smartphone using the BlackBerry® Internet Service, which allows you take advantage of several Gmail specific features on your BlackBerry smartphone using the Enhanced Gmail Plug-in. For example, similar to the Google Mail web application that you can use on your computer, related email messages are grouped into a single conversation, and you have access to several options to help you organize your Gmail inbox such as creating and applying your labels, reporting spam, archiving messages and adding stars to important messages.
Here’s an overview of how to get started with advanced email integration features offered by the BlackBerry Internet Service when you set up one or multiple Gmail email accounts.
Part One – Integrating your Gmail account with the BlackBerry Internet Service
In order to take advantage of the Gmail specific features I’ll be talking about in this post, there are four requirements that must be met:
1. An active data service plan from your wireless service provider
2. A Gmail email account (if you don’t have one, set up a Gmail account now)
3. A BlackBerry smartphone with 64 MB of memory
4. BlackBerry® Device Software 4.5 or later (to find your version, check out how to identify BlackBerry Device Software versions)
Note: If you are using BlackBerry Device Software 5.0 or later, the Enhanced Gmail Plug-in is preinstalled on your BlackBerry smartphone. If you are using BlackBerry Device Software 4.5 to 4.7, after integrating your Gmail email account, use the steps below. You will receive a PIN message with instructions on how to install the Enhanced Gmail Plug-in. For more information, please see KB18415.
1. On the Home screen, select “Setup” followed by “Email Accounts”.
2. Select “Internet Mail Account” followed by selecting “Gmail”.
3. Enter your Gmail username and password followed by selecting “Continue”.
4. Select the “Change Settings” button to customize your settings, such as how your name appears when sending emails and/or the signature that you can optionally use to sign your emails. An important setting here is the Email Account Name – this is what will appear on your Home screen email icon. By default, this value will be your email address, but you can easily change it to something else such as ”My Gmail”. This email icon is important, as the Gmail-specific features I will be discussing next can only be accessed if you view your Gmail email messages via this icon. If you view your Gmail messages using the Messages icon built into your BlackBerry smartphone, Gmail-specific message options will not be available. In the following screenshot, you can see an example of how the “My Gmail” icon appears compared to the standard Messages icon.
Tip: For those using BlackBerry® 7 OS, you can also access the Gmail-specific features from the Messages icon as well as the dedicated Gmail icon that appears on your home screen after integrating your Gmail account.
At this point, you’ve successfully set up your Gmail email account with the BlackBerry Internet Service! In the future, if you need to review or modify the settings for your Gmail account, just repeat step one through three and select your Gmail address when it’s displayed to review/modify the settings.
The next part is how to manage your email using the Gmail-specific options that are built into the Messages application of your BlackBerry smartphone.
Note: For those using BlackBerry Device Software 4.5 to 4.7, install the Gmail Enhanced Plug-in using the instructions that were sent to you in a PIN message after integrating your Gmail account before proceeding any further.
Part Two – Managing your Gmail email address on a BlackBerry smartphone
Being a Gmail user myself, some of the features I absolutely love about my BlackBerry smartphone is how I can use labels, archive messages, and apply stars to important emails from family and friends. Assuming you have successfully integrated your Gmail email address, here’s how to access some of the different features unique to Gmail that are available on your BlackBerry smartphone. Keep in mind, the following features are only available when you are viewing your Gmail email messages after selecting the Gmail email address icon that appears on your Home screen (mine is labeled “My Gmail” in the previous screenshot, for example).
Tip: For those using BlackBerry 7 OS, you can also access the Gmail-specific features from the Messages icon as well as the dedicated Gmail email icon that appears on your Home screen after integrating your Gmail email account.
Adding and removing Gmail Stars
1. Select the “Gmail” email icon to view your Gmail email messages and highlight a Gmail email message
2. Press the “Menu” key and select “Add Star” or “Remove Star” if one has already been applied
- Touch screen users can also tap and hold on the message to produce the same Add Star/Remove Star option
Apply or remove a Gmail Label
You can apply a label or multiple labels to a Gmail email message or conversation to help organize your message inbox. If you apply a label to an individual message in a conversation, the label is applied to all of the messages in the conversation.
1. Select the “Gmail” email icon to view your Gmail email messages, and highlight a Gmail email message
2. Press the “Menu” key and select “Labels” (touch screen users can also tap and hold on a message to produce the Labels option)
- To apply a label, select the checkbox next to the label
- To remove a label, clear the checkbox next to the label
3. When finished, press the “Menu” key and select “Save”
You can also manage labels right on your BlackBerry smartphone. All you need to do is press the Menu key when you are viewing your label list and select “New” to make a new label, or you can highlight a label you want to remove and select “Delete” from the Menu. If you’ve recently changed labels using Gmail on your personal computer, you can also update the labels stored on your BlackBerry smartphone from this menu by selecting “Update”. (Convenient, eh?)
View Gmail email messages with a Specific Label
A really simple feature that I use daily is the ability to view a specific label so I can quickly find what I’m looking for. To view a specific Gmail label, complete the following steps:
1. Select the “Gmail” icon to view your Gmail email messages
2. Press the “Menu” key and select “View Folder” followed by selecting the desired label
If you use a touch screen-enabled device, you also have the option of tapping the “Filter” button along the bottom of the Messages icon to quickly access your label list.
Archiving Gmail messages
A great tip to keep your Gmail inbox organized is to Archive messages on your BlackBerry smartphone. Something to keep in mind: Depending on how you’ve set your BlackBerry smartphone to store messages, an archived message might be deleted from your smartphone after a certain period of time. To review how long your BlackBerry smartphone stores messages, check out the user guide for your BlackBerry smartphone.
To archive a Gmail email message, complete the following steps.
1. Select the “Gmail” icon to view your Gmail email messages and highlight a Gmail email message.
2. Press the “Menu” key and select “Archive”, followed by “Yes”.
For those on touch screen-enabled devices, you can also tap and hold on a message you’d like to Archive and select “Archive” from the popup menu that appears.
In the event you want to move a message that you’ve previously archived back to the Inbox, all you need to do is complete the following steps:
1. Select the “Gmail” icon to view your Gmail email messages
2. Press the “Menu” key and select “View Folder” followed by selecting “Archive”
3. Highlight the Gmail email message, press the “Menu” key and select “Move to Inbox”
Report Spam sent to your Gmail account
The next time you receive some spam email, you can easily mark it as spam and delete it from your BlackBerry smartphone using the following steps. An important thing to keep in mind is if you report a message that is a part of a conversation, all of the messages in the conversation are also reported as spam.
1. Select the “Gmail” icon to view your Gmail email messages and highlight a Gmail email message that you’d like to mark as Spam
2. Press the “Menu” key and select “Report Spam” followed by “Yes” when prompted
Display more lines in a conversation
By default, when you view a conversation in the message list, only the first line of each message appears. You can optionally specify up to four lines in each message by completing the following steps:
1. Open the Messages icon
2. Press the “Menu” key and select “Options”
3. Select “Enhanced Gmail Plug-in Options”
4. Specify your desired settings in the “Lines in Conversation” field
5. Press the “Menu” key and select “Save”
Got a question about using Gmail on your BlackBerry smartphone? Leave a comment and let me know as I’d love to hear from you!
Keep an eye out for an upcoming post on how to synchronize your Gmail contacts and calendar wirelessly with your BlackBerry smartphone.