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How to Sync Business and Personal Email Accounts with an iPhone or iPad

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One of the best features of your Apple iPhone or iPad is its ability to keep you connected wherever you happen to be. The Mail app offers a powerful and feature-packed solution for accessing and managing your existing work and/or personal email accounts. Jason Rich will help you set up, sync, and utilize the Mail app built into your mobile device, allowing you to access and manage one or more of your existing email accounts from virtually anywhere.

Apple's iPhone 3Gs and iPhone 4, along with the iPad tablet, are among the most advanced mobile communication tools in the world. By offering wireless Internet connectivity from virtually anywhere, you can be more productive and better connected than ever before.

While you may use online social networks (like Facebook and Twitter) as well as instant messaging and text messaging to stay connected with friends and family, most business people rely heavily on telephone conversations and email to maintain contact with coworkers, superiors, customers, clients, suppliers, and other individuals or businesses they work with on a professional level.

Using the iPhone or iPad, you can maintain access to and manage multiple email accounts simultaneously. However, while the Mail app built into Apple's mobile devices is powerful, it has a few limitations, like the ability to add or retrieve certain types of email message attachments.

Currently, users can send and receive photos, videos, most types of graphic files, PDF files, and a few other file types as attachments to an email message via the iPhone. Several additional file types, including Word documents, can be opened and viewed (but not edited) if they're received as an email attachment. Files created using Apple's iWork apps (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote)—as well as Word, Excel, or PowerPoint files—can also be attached to emails and then sent or received and viewed/edited on an iPad.

If you receive an email attachment associated with an incoming email message on your iPhone or iPad, but the attachment is in a file format that isn't yet compatible with your device, you will be able to see that an attachment is present, but you will not be able to open it using the Mail app on your iPhone or iPad. In this case, you can simply tap the "Mark As Unread" link that appears when you open an email, and later download and view the attachment using your desktop or laptop computer.

If you receive an email attachment that is compatible with the iPhone or iPad's Mail app, open the email message and tap on the attachment icon. Based on the file format of the attachment, choose which app you want to open that attachment with, or choose the Quick Look option to preview the attachment. For example, if the attachment is a photo, you can open that photo using the Photos app that's built into your iPhone or iPad.

As each new version of the iOS operating system gets released, the Mail app on your iPhone and iPad becomes increasingly more powerful and useful, particularly for business or work-related purposes. Released in November 2010, iOS 4.2 dramatically upgraded the Mail app, especially for the iPad.

The Mail app that comes bundled on your iPhone and iPad is fully compatible with most types of email accounts. It works seamlessly with email accounts associated with Microsoft Exchange, MobileMe, Yahoo!, Google, and AOL, as well as virtually all POP3 or IMAP email systems. In other words, you should be able to sync all your existing work and personal email accounts with your iPhone and/or iPad using the device's Mail app.

Setting Up Your Existing Email Accounts on the iPhone or iPad

The first time you use the Mail app to access your existing email accounts, you'll need to spend a few minutes to set up the app with your email account information. If you don't already have an established email account, you can sign up for a free email account from Yahoo Mail, Google Gmail, or AOL, for example.

Assuming you have an existing email account and want to access it from your iPhone or iPad, begin by tapping on the iPhone or iPad's Settings icon from the Home Screen, and scroll down to the "Mail, Contacts, Calendars" option (shown in Figure 1). Tap on it.

A new set-up screen will appear with the heading "Accounts" displayed at the top of the screen. At the bottom of the Accounts section of this screen will be an "Add Account" icon. Tap this icon to set up an existing email account on your iPhone or iPad.

When the "Add Account" screen appears (shown in Figure 2), determine what type of email account you currently have. Your options include Microsoft Exchange, MobileMe, Google Gmail, Yahoo Mail, or AOL Mail. Your iPhone or iPad will automatically configure the device to sync with one of these types of email accounts. Tap the logo for the appropriate email account type, and fill in the fields displayed on the next screen that appears.

Typically, to add a Gmail or AOL account, for example, all you'll need to provide is Your Name, Email Address, Password and an Account Description (such as Personal AOL Account). Once you've filled in each field using the device's virtual keyboard, tap the "Next" icon that's located in the upper-right corner of the screen. Your iPhone or iPad will access the Web and verify the account information (as shown in Figure 3). This process could take a minute or two. When the verification is complete, tap the "Save" icon and you will be returned to the Settings Accounts screen.

Once your email account information is entered correctly, press the Home button on the iPhone or iPad, and tap on the Mail app's icon from the Home Screen to launch it. From the Mailboxes screen of Mail, scroll down to the email account you just added and tap on it. This will open up the Inbox for your email account. Your iPhone or iPad will now sync with your email account's server, and download copies of your emails.

If your email account type isn't one of the ones listed under the "Add Account" screen when you access the Mail, Contacts, Calendars screen under the Settings option, tap the icon marked "Other" that's located at the bottom of the "Add Account" screen. At the top of the next screen, you'll see an icon labeled "Add Mail Account" under the "Mail" heading. Tap on this icon.

Using the iPhone or iPad's virtual keyboard, you'll now be promoted to input your Name, existing email address, password, and a description for the account. Tap the "Next" icon that's located at the top-right corner of the screen to continue. The message "Looking Up Account" will be displayed for a few seconds. A new screen, labeled "New Account" will then appear (as shown in Figure 4).

At the top of the "New Account" screen you'll see two icons labeled IMAP and POP. You will need to contact your email account provider or your employer's IT department to determine what type of existing email account you have, if you don't already know this information.

Whether you tap the IMAP or POP icon, you will be asked to enter some technical information pertaining to your existing email account. For example, you'll need to know your Incoming Mail Service information (the Host Name, User Name, and Password) along with your email service's Outgoing Mail Server information (the Host Name, User Name and Password). Again, this is information your employer or email account provider will supply.

Once you've entered the appropriate information pertaining to your existing email account, tap the "Save" icon that's located in the upper-right corner of the screen. Next, press the iPhone or iPad's Home button and access the Mail app.

This email account set-up process needs to be done only once for each of your email accounts. Using the Mail app, you can manage as many email accounts as you wish from your iPhone or iPad.

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