How to enable offline email access from the iPad and iPhone

The iPad and iPhone are a great tool for mobile working, but working on email can leave something to be desired. Don’t get me wrong, the native email client has many things going for it, but the way it deals with data can be annoying. With the amount of drive space that are available on both the iPad and iPhone, even on the low end models you would have thought that Apple would have made it easier to store and search email when not connected via WiFi or 3g.

As with most Apple deficiencies there are Apps available that compensate more than adequately. The App I’ve been using to get over this particular problem on both the iPhone and iPad (it is a universal app ie. works on both) is called OneMail and at $1.99 is great value.

OneMail enables you to setup email accounts in which the mail can be downloaded offline and searched offline.

Once the mail is downloaded offline then the App uses advanced search filters to find keywords that you specify. I recently had the pleasure of a BlackBerry user gloating how easy it was to use email on his BlackBerry and we did a comparison except I cheated and used OneMail. He was blown away by how quick it was (searching for common email between both of us, I was done before he had even managed to narrow it down) and how accurate (pity he thought it was the native iPhone email App – he will get a shock if he ever swaps devices !)

The other nice facet of OneMail is that if you use a GMail account you can choose to offline mails from specific GMail labels. This is actually how I use the service. I aggregate all my emails from my different email accounts to one GMail account and then setup a label system for certain emails based on subject or recipient or content, and I setup one mail to offline the particular labels I want to always have access to, even with no network.

Once you find an email you can view it and choose to reply or send an email by clicking on the sender or CC’d address. This will launch the normal iPhone email creator and it will be sent through your normal iPhone email client, which again is neat.

OneMail has an interesting history in that it is based on an App called ReMail which was purchased by Google. The ReMail team made their code open source and OneMail is only one of a number of Apps in the App Store that chose to launch their own App based on this. Some are free, but OneMail is the only one that works on the iPad and iPhone and they made some enhancements with regards to stability. If you are interested in finding out more about ReMail and how it works you can do so here.

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