Gmail 3.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 001)Gmail 3.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 002)

Google’s free Gmail app for the iPhone and iPad is being continuously improved and that’s a good thing.

Now, I myself am a Mailbox convert so the only reason for keeping Gmail on my device is to occasionally check out new features. If anything, today’s Gmail update gives me two new reasons to reconsider handling my email in Gmail more frequently. Now available, Gmail 3.0 brings out two major improvements.

Firstly, the app now uses Background App Refresh, a new iOS 7 technology which lets apps ask the operating system to retrieve new content even if they’re not running. As a result, switching from one app back to Gmail immediately serves up-to-date inbox, negating the need to manually refresh content.

And secondly, it improves the experience by signing you in automatically using the same Google Account defined in Google’s other iOS apps, such as Maps and Google+…

“Whether you’re checking your email first thing in the morning or as you’re waiting in line at the grocery store, you want to get your messages as quickly as possible,” reads a message posted on the official Gmail blog.

Support for Background App Refresh lets Gmail pre-fetch and sync messages so they’re right there when you open the app. Note that this feature requires iOS 7. You’ll also need to enable Background App Refresh and Notifications for Gmail in iOS Settings.

As for support for Google’s Single Sign-On, it works as advertised.

Sign in with your Google Account in Google Maps, Drive, YouTube or Chrome, for example, and Gmail will put up that account’s profile pic allowing you to automatically log in by tapping on it – no user authentication required whatsoever.

This is especially handy if you’ve protected your Google Account with 2-step verification. Also, when you sign out in one app, Single Sing-On will automatically sign you out across all Google apps on all your devices. 

Note you may need to sign in to Gmail again after this update.

Download Gmail 3.0 free in the App Store.

The app is compatible with an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS 6.0 or later.