Microsoft and Google might not play nice—OK, it’s all Google’s fault—but that doesn’t mean that you can’t access your Gmail account—including your contacts and Google Calendar—on Windows Phone. Here’s how to configure Windows Phone to work with Gmail.
Note: Gmail support is moving forward to Windows 10 for phones, of course, but it is also coming to Windows 10 for PCs and tablets. That’s a nice, and long overdue, capability.
Here’s what you need to know about using Gmail with Windows Phone.
You add and configure your Gmail account in Email + Accounts Settings. To add your Gmail account, navigate to Settings and then Email + Accounts. If you’re using Windows Phone 8.1.2, you will find this under the Accounts section in Settings.
This works for all Google accounts. So gmail.com accounts, of course, but also Google Apps accounts with custom domains.
Tap Add An Account to get started. Then, select Google from the list of account types that appears.
Sign-in with your Google account. You’ll be presented with a standard web-based sign-in for your Google account. If you have protected this account with two-step verification as I recommend, you will be prompted to provide a verification code as well. Finally, accept the connection and your account will be added to the phone.
Further configure the account. Once the account has synced, tap the account on the Email + Accounts screen to further configure it. You can rename it (to Gmail or whatever), determine how often the phone downloads new email (you may want to set this to “As Items Arrive,” which lets it use Gmail’s push capabilities), and set other options here.
Determine which Google account services are available. Also available on that Settings screen are three checkboxes for Email, Contacts, and Calendar: these determine which Google account services will be available on Windows Phone. All three are checked by default, but if you don’t use, say, Google Calendar, you can uncheck that option here and no calendar data will sync.
Access your email from the live tile. Once the account is configured, return to the Start screen and you will see an email tile with the name you just gave your Google account. You can access your email from this tile (or the similarly named app in the All Apps list). And if you have multiple email accounts, you can create a linked inbox that lets you access all of them from one place. (You do this in the mail app; select More and then Link Inboxes.)
Archive email messages. The Windows Phone mail app doesn’t have native support for the Google Archive command. But you can approximate it by moving email to the All Mail folder. To do so when viewing an email message, select More (“…” in the app bar) and then Move, and then choose All Mail (under [Gmail]) from the list of folders that appears. Or, from the Inbox view, select one or more messages and then tap the Move app bar button and choose that same folder.
Access your Google contacts from the People app. You can find your Gmail-based contacts in the People app. And you can of course select and individual contact and edit that information in any way. The changes are synced back to your Google account.
Access your Google Calendar from the Calendar app. As you might expect, your Google Calendar information is available from within the Calendar app. You can edit existing appointments, or add appointments, right from this app, and everything is synced back to Google Calendar. (If you’re using multiple accounts, make sure you associate new appointments with the right account.) And reminders will appear on the lock screen, and in pop-up notifications as you’d expect.
Determine which calendars you can access from Windows Phone. Navigate to Settings (More, Settings) and you can determine which of the calendars in your Google Calendar account are used with Windows Phone.