Adding aliases to iOS

iOS has long supported email aliases for IMAP accounts, but in the most roundabout a difficult way possible, by copy-and-pasting comma separated lists into the account editor. If you still support older iOS devices, take a look at How to set up mail aliases on iPhone, iPad

Modern iOS releases make this much easier.

  • Add a normal IMAP account
  • Open the Settings app
  • Open Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  • Edit the account
  • Touch the Account line
  • Touch the Email line
  • Touch Add Another Email…

While it’s not something that made the Keynote at WWDC, it probably should have given how incredibly useful aliases are to email geeks. Unfortunately aliases are not permitted on the Exchange/ActiveSync protocol, and the iPhone still lacks IMAP IDLE support, so you’re left with a choice: Do you want mail pushed to your iOS device, or do you want to send from multiple aliases?

Changing the iPhone IMAP “Sent” folder name

One of the downsides to using multiple devices or clients against a single IMAP account is that every device/client does things a little differently. Some use the IMAP deleted flag, some use a “Trash” folder, others use “Deleted Items”.  Sent it almost as bad, most clients use “Sent”, but many use “Sent Items” (Outlook’s standard).

Luckily many IMAP clients allow you to reconfigure the special Sent, Drafts and Trash folders.  With the iPhone, you can change these folders, but the option is well hidden, and isn’t always accessible.

First, create an IMAP account on your iPhone, then follow these instructions:

  1. Start at the home screen
  2. Go to Settings
  3. Choose “Mail, Contacts, Calendar”
  4. Select an IMAP account
  5. Scroll to the very bottom of the list, choose “Advanced”
  6. Change each of the “Mailbox Behaviours” items as needed.

If no folders show up in the list, return to the home screen, go to the Mail app, open the account, this should present you with a folder list.  Now return to step #1 and try again.

Also be aware that even once you change a mailbox, it will still show up with the default name in the iPhone interface, however, the iPhone will use the selected folder when interacting with the server.

iPhone/iPod Touch SyncML clients

The iPhone is now over a month old, and good news, there are two SyncML clients available.  I’ve had the opportunity to play with both briefly.

Funambol is the free/opensource offering, it worked reasonably well in iPhone OS 2.0.0, but since upgrading to 2.0.1, it appears to perform a slowsync on every synchronization, resulting in potential duplicates, as well as the inability to delete items on either side.  For this reason, I’m not recommending it at this time.

Synthesis’ SyncML client is currently free, but will become a paid commercial product in the future, once Calendar support is added.

The initial version of the Synthesis client didn’t function at all with MDaemon’s SyncML server, Synthesis reported that the problem was fixed over a week ago, but it was just finally approved by Apple last night, and so far, it works great.

This is my current personal choice for SyncML client, I will post a more detailed review down the road once I have a bit more experience with it.

In both cases, the clients only support synchronizing the Contacts database, not the Calendar database (Apple didn’t bother with a Calendar API), nor Tasks (Apple didn’t bother to write a Tasks application)