How to Receive E-Mails on Your Android Phone - dummies

How to Receive E-Mails on Your Android Phone

By Dan Gookin

All Android phones work flawlessly with Gmail. In fact, if Gmail is already set up to be your main e-mail address, you’ll enjoy having access to your messages all the time from your phone.

Non-Gmail e-mail, handled by the Email program, must be set up before it can be used. After completing the quick and occasionally painless setup, you can receive e-mail on your phone just as you can on a computer.

Getting a new message

You’re alerted to the arrival of a new e-mail message in your phone by a notification icon. The icon differs depending on the e-mail’s source.

For a new Gmail message, the New Gmail notification appears at the top of the touchscreen.


For a new e-mail message, you see the New Email notification.


Specific e-mail apps may sport their own icons, such as a Yahoo! Mail icon. Look for that as well, providing you’ve added a Yahoo! Mail or similar account.

To review pending e-mail, swipe down the notifications drawer. You see either a single notification representing the most recent message or the total number of pending messages listing the various senders and subjects. Touch the notification to visit either the Gmail or Email app to read the message.

Checking the inbox

To peruse your Gmail, start the Gmail app. Its launcher icon might be found on the Home screen or it can be opened from the apps drawer. A typical Gmail inbox is shown.


To check your Email inbox, open the Email app. You either see a single account’s inbox, or you can choose to view the universal inbox, shown as the Combined Inbox view in the following figure.


Don’t bother looking for your Gmail inbox in the Combined Inbox window. Gmail is its own app; your Gmail messages don’t show up in the universal inbox.

  • Search your Gmail messages by pressing the Search icon.

  • Gmail is organized using labels, not folders. To see your Gmail labels, view the navigation drawer by touching the app icon.

  • Multiple e-mail accounts gathered in the Email app are color coded. When you view the combined inbox, you see the color codes to the left of each message. The color is shown by each account in the navigation drawer.

  • To view an individual account’s inbox, choose the account from the navigation drawer.

Reading e-mail

As mail comes in, you can read it by choosing a new e-mail notification. Reading and working with the message operate much the same whether you’re using the Gmail or Email app.

Touch a message in either the Gmail or Email app to read it. Swipe the message up or down by using your finger.

To work with the message, use the icons that appear above the message. These icons, which may not look exactly like those shown, cover common e-mail actions:

Reply: Touch this icon to reply to a message. A new message window appears with the To and Subject fields reflecting the original sender(s) and subject.


Reply All: Touch this icon to respond to everyone who received the original message, including folks on the Cc line. Use this option only when everyone else must get a copy of your reply.


Forward: Touch this icon to send a copy of the message to someone else.


Delete: Touch this icon to delete a message. This icon is found atop the message.


You may not see the Reply All and Forward icons when the phone is in a vertical orientation. Turn the phone horizontally to see all three icons, along with the Favorites icon.

Additional e-mail commands can be found on the Action Overflow menu. The commands available depend on what you’re doing in the Gmail or Email app when you touch the icon.

  • Browse between messages by swiping the screen left or right.

  • Favorite messages can be viewed or searched separately, making them easier to locate later.


  • If you’ve properly configured the Email program, you don’t need to delete messages you’ve read.

  • You might find it easier to delete (and manage) Gmail by using a computer.