Brace yourselves, Gmail account syncing is about to get a lot less convenient for iOS and other non-Android devices. The Mountain View company just announced that as part of its ‘Winter Cleaning’ initiative, it will be ditching support for the Exchange ActiveSync protocol next month.

What’s Exchange ActiveSync? Well it’s an XML-based protocol, developed by Microsoft, that allows the synchronization of email, calendar, contacts, and other data between servers and mobile devices. And at this point, it’s the only way to get native Gmail push notifications on your iPhone…

But unfortunately, come January 30th next year, you’re not going to be able to use it. Here’s the announcement from Google’s blog post:

“Google Sync was designed to allow access to Google Mail, Calendar and Contacts via the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync® protocol. With the recent launch of CardDAV, Google now offers similar access via IMAP, CalDAV and CardDAV, making it possible to build a seamless sync experience using open protocols. Starting January 30, 2013, consumers won’t be able to set up new devices using Google Sync; however, existing Google Sync connections will continue to function. Google Sync will continue to be fully supported for Google Apps for Business, Government and Education. Users of those products are unaffected by this announcement.”

So basically, Google Sync will continue to work for users who already have it setup, for the foreseeable future at least, as well as those who have paid for a Google Apps account for business, government, or education. But starting in January, new users will have to use IMAP and xDAV.

I have multiple Gmail accounts, and sync both my contacts and calendar through the service. So needless to say I’m not thrilled with the news. I have been thinking about moving everything over to iCloud though, and this may be the push I needed. We’ll see how this whole thing pans out.

For those of you who don’t use the ActiveSync protocol to set up your Gmail, you’ll be just fine. You’ll still be able to setup your Gmail account on your iPhone through the main Mail, Contacts and Calendar screen in your Settings app.

  • Fer

    Moving to iCloud? I’m moving to Android!

    • on your way out shut the door..

      • dont need to be so hostile dude

      • shut yours too. (lol)

    • MSiqueira

      Because it’s the logical thing to do!

      Google just made your life harder in iOS, then you moves to… Google.


    • thedarkknight80

      Don’t second guess it man, just move on .

      I know this is off topic , but last night we were at a dinner with friends . The age on the table was people in their early thirties .

      Six people were taking and sending pictures to each others with their galaxy note 2 ( using bluetooth and NFC), all happy and enjoying freedom, while the other three looked lost and embarrassed , not knowing what to do with the tiny pictures they took on the tiny screen of their scuffed iphone 5 .

      • jimothyGator

        Cool story, bro. Sometimes, when I go out to dinner with friends, we actually talk to each other. In person. Nuts, huh?

  • David

    How is Exhange ActiveSync the easiest way to sync Gmail to the iPhone. That’s very far from true! The iPhone’s built-in support for Gmail via iMap is by far the easiest and best way to sync gmail to the iPhone. And that will still be supported.

    • wadjj

      That ain’t push dude

    • Do you know what you are talking about?

    • Yea not push, are you high

    • David

      Most customers don’t need push, which also drains the battery faster! iMAP, CardDav & CalDav all have more features then the proprietary ActiveSync.

      • MSiqueira

        In case you don’t need push, this topic does not matter at all.

        But for a tiny little bit slice of people that still relies on e-mail for most of day-to-day message exchanges, push could be a life saving feature.

        In the end, it’s a matter of choice. For those who choose to use push, Google played hard ball here.

      • David

        But using the words “Gmail account syncing is about to get a lot tougher” in the article is very misleading!!! And for unknowledgeable people, they might think this means all forms of gmail syncing. When it fact the IMAP way of syncing will remain, and it is the iPhone default way of setting up GMAIL and is very easy to setup.

      • I do understand your point, but I do not care if I get push calendar or contact at all, that is just a bouns to me. All I concern it the push email.

        For example, I shop online a lot a lot(more than 50k for in 2012), so I have all the credit card to do email alert, if I don’t get push gmail to do it… then I might have to download few more apps and have them to push it through the app…

        Instead of checking it in one pool, I have to jump between few apps…

    • MSiqueira

      You’re just plain wrong with that.

      With Exchange ActiveSync, the iPhone new mail notification arrives before the message actually appear in Gmail Web Inbox!

      With Native Gmail Account, it simply doesn’t do Push. Period.

    • AndyDontCare

      I’d think the majority of people don’t need push. I use the IMAP solution simply because I make my own appointments and fetch is the perfect solution for me. In fact, I really can’t imagine someone with such high demand for time that you’d need anything pushed to you.

  • Dan

    I wouldn’t move entirely to iCloud… their email service is a decade behind Google. I tried using it for a few months but It’s so cumbersome and lacks a lot of functionality.

    • Falk M.

      iCloud email is just good for the fancy email address.
      And even that only applies if you still have a good ol’ is also pretty fly, is just stupid.

      • Guest

        my email address is kurt@kurt****.com obviously my last name instead of the stars. i only pay 7 bucks a year.

      • Falk M.

        Good for you, so?

  • I get new iPhone every year… so I will lose the Gmail Exchange with next iPhone…

    I guess I will install the official Gmail app as push notification, but I will still stick with as the default emailing app, because fetch will kill the battery…

  • umm time to use my icloud email..there is always yahoo. and microsoft…@gmail is not a necessity

    • Yea think I wanna move to yahoo mail over gmail. Maybe it comes with map quest rather than that confusing Google maps

  • Yea this might be the thing that pushes me into android’s door. But I am one of those “waning in popularity” jailbreakers

  • SimonReidy

    There’s another feature we lose from ActiveSync too, and that’s the ability to invite contacts to meetings you create in your Google Calendar, using the iOS Calendar app. When you sync Google Calendar via Caldav the option is gone. Caldav is fetch only too.

    I can recommend using the newer “CardDAV” option for syncing Google Contacts though. It syncs Google contact fields with you iOS Contacts much more accurately than Active Sync (supports many more custom fields), however it’s fetch only too. But you don’t reàlly need push for contacts.

    I think I’m going to just stick to the new Gmail App for most things (at least it has full Push support) and find a good 3rd party Google Calendar app that supports invites.

  • Still very functional,

    GMAIL to sync email, calendars, notes.

    For contacts CardDAV in others.

    It works kind the same, but it’s fetch not push, but i guess it’s not that much big deal for me.

    And also worth it mention that the link to select specific calendars changed.

    • Falk M.

      Except no.
      All this is about is calendars and contacts.
      Quite frankly, those are best done via CalDAV and CardDAV.
      Only idiots would complain about those two and the problem in question is Push for email.
      Eventually we will have a new IMAP standard though I guess that will support ActiveSync-like synchronization, so I’d guess this is not a permanent loss.

  • Sanjay Vyas

    Google is moving towards open protocols like CardDAV and CalDAV
    rather than proprietary protocols like ActiveSync. Infact, there are
    problems with ActiveSync and I am thrilled to have an alternative like
    CardDAV. For example, try syncing a contact from GMail contacts who has 2
    mobile phones listed and ActiveSync (MS Exchange) will drop one and
    sync only one. CardDAV not only allows you to sync 2 (actually
    unlimited) mobile numbers per contact but you can even change the label
    from “Mobile” to “iPhone” or “Android” or “Wife’s mobile” etc.

    • Falk M.

      That would be justification for that part, however, losing ActiveSync for Mail is what’s really sh*tty here.
      No more Push, unless you use the Gmail mail app.

  • Glad I have it set up already, using it just to sync special ready-made google calendars to my iPhone and Outlook on my PC. The rest is taken care of by iCloud.

  • soundmanbrad

    I’m Curios to see if a jailbreak dev can make a tweak to use the push from the gmail app to control the fetch of the stock mail app. In other words, use the gmail app to provide push for the stock mail app. It should be doable, right? We’ve seen it for the sparrow app as well.

    • Why need jailbreak for it? Just use for notification and then open when there is new email.

      90% of the time, I don’t use the lockscreen to open email.

      • soundmanbrad

        I use LockInfo a great deal.

      • But don’t we have it now without jailbreaking?

  • I don’t want to use ICloud for the simple reason that I can’t guarantee forever and ever using IPhone. I don’t want to tie myself to one company. Who can see the future? Remember when nobody would use anything but a Microsoft product? How soon we forget. This removal of Activesync troubles me. I had it working extremely well for me…. I will have my IPhone for 2 years, they say it will keep working…. Moved my friend to ICloud because she told me she’ll never buy anything but an apple phone, but as for myself….

  • Google might be inventing something new.