New to the world of smartphones? We've got you covered. Here's a no-nonsense, simple guide to everything email from the Vodafone eForum's JeffKinn.

smartphone email

Just got yourself a brand new smartphone? You’ll no doubt want to start downloading apps, playing games, checking Facebook and watching movies on it straight away. But there’s another big thing your new phone is invaluable for, and it’s the thing that made smartphones ‘smart’ in the first place: email.


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Whether you’re looking to get alerts whenever the office wants to reach you or just want to stay in touch with friends, getting your email accounts set up on your phone is a must. Luckily, Vodafone eForum Community Champion JeffKinn is here to help you do just that…

Understanding everything email

jeff kinn

“I’m old enough to remember a time before mobile phones,” says Jeff, reminiscing, “when it was difficult to access emails when you weren’t at a computer. How things have changed over the last decade! The smartphone revolution now means that we all have little email devices sitting in our pockets – now every mobile operating system has email support at the heart of its functionality.”

But, as Jeff explains, having email capabilities on your phone and getting it set up are not one and the same:

“Despite email’s ubiquity, there are still a number of issues and pitfalls with it that can cause us problems,” he tells us. “First of all, it’s important to recognise the different types of email accounts that we can come across.”

Ready for a crash course on email tech? Here’s Jeff’s explanation of the three basic email types:

1. Microsoft Exchange
“This is still the standard in most companies, and it allows email, calendar and contacts to all wirelessly sync between your phone and your computer. That means that if you make a change in one place, it’s automatically synced to the other place via the email Exchange server.”

2. POP3
“Most ordinary, personal email accounts are POP3 accounts. The phone and the server hosting the email may not sync as regularly, so the phone and your email client on your computer won’t always stay in tune with one another until you manually refresh things. This is also true of contacts and the calendar.”

“This is a sort of halfway house between POP3 and Exchange. If the account is set up properly, changes made on one device can be reflected on other devices.”

“When you are setting up your email account on your smartphone it helps if you know what type of account your email is,” says Jeff. “Most devices have pre-installed setup wizards for the most common account types – such as Exchange, Gmail, (that includes your Hotmail and email addresses), Yahoo, AOL and iCloud on iPhones.



“If you have a different email provider it’s probably a good idea to have a look on their website, as they should have instructions on how to setup email on a mobile device.

Pushing through problems

Head into your smartphone’s email app for the first time and it’ll walk you through the steps to get your account synced on your phone. Every smartphone will do this differently, but they should all be fairly straightforward and helpful. That said, Jeff knows there can be issues and hidden settings that might not be obvious to first-timers, and one of the most common is all to do with sending mail while on the move…

“The issue that seems to cause more problems than any other is how to setup your account properly so that you can send emails no matter what Wi-Fi or mobile network you’re connected to,” he says. “So people might be ok when they’re connected to their own Wi-Fi network at home, but when they’re out they can receive but not send.

“The reason for this is quite simple. While email providers don’t care who’s providing the internet that allows you to access your inbox and download emails you’ve received, they are fussier when it comes to sending emails. They have to be sure that the person accessing their email sending servers has the authority to do so (technically this is known as authenticating the SMTP server). Each operating system does this in a slightly different way, but your internet and email providers should be able to give you clear instructions as to how to do this.”



Sound familiar? Here’s how to authenticate the SMTP server for Outlook, Yahoo, Gmail and iCloud email addresses.

The other thing to get ironed out is how regularly you want your phone to go hunting for new emails. There are two options here, with pros and cons for each:

“When you’re setting your email account up for the first time, you’ll have to work out whether you want to opt for ‘Push’ or ‘Fetch’,” says Jeff. “Put simply, Fetch means that your phone will access your account on a regular basis to see if there are any new emails, while Push email means that your phone and email server maintains a constant link.”



“Push doesn’t use any extra data,” Jeff adds, “so there isn’t a cost issue. And it is very efficient in terms of battery because the phone waits for email to be ‘pushed’ to it, rather than doing the legwork itself. But not everyone likes to have their phone pinging with new email alerts all the time.”

With Fetch, then, you can choose how often your phone checks your account. Once every few minutes? Once every hour? Only when you refresh it manually? It’s up to you!

“There will be lots of different options for every kind of email account,” says Jeff in closing, “and it’s worth exploring them to see what you like and what you don’t.”

All clued up? For a video walkthrough on how to set up email on a huge range of the latest smartphones, head over to the Vodafone UK YouTube channel.