What to Do When Gmail Is Not Syncing

Sync errors are common, but most fixes are simple to perform

If Gmail encounters problems syncing the mobile app with your Gmail account, you may be unable to perform basic email functions, send and receive emails, and open or read new emails. Sync problems may also cause apps to run slowly. To get things working as they should, re-sync your Gmail account.

Instructions in this article apply to mobile devices running Android 10, 9.0, 8.1, or 8.0, and Apple devices running iOS 13, iOS 12, iOS 11, or iPadOS 13.

Causes of Gmail Not Syncing

A mobile app may stop syncing when some anomaly in data transfer generates a behind-the-scenes error that stops the app from working until the error clears. If the error cannot clear automatically, it appears to hang and won't function as expected.

Most transfer errors source to either unexpected glitches in network connectivity or timeouts related to the sending or receiving of large data chunks.

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How to Fix Android Gmail Not Syncing

The most common cause of syncing problems with Gmail is between the main account and the Android app.

Follow these steps to sync Gmail with your Android device:

  1. Perform a manual sync. Open the Gmail app and swipe from the top of the screen to the bottom.

    Manually syncing Gmail is handy if you only check it periodically on a single device.

  2. Enable automated sync. If you prefer not to sync manually, you can automate this in settings. Open the Gmail app, tap Menu (the three-bar icon), then tap Settings. Tap your account name. In the Data usage section, select the Sync Gmail checkbox.

  3. Make sure the device is online. Verify that the device is connected to a Wi-Fi or mobile data is turned on to sync the Gmail app.

    Disable Airplane Mode if it's turned on. Airplane Mode turns off internet and data connections and prevents Gmail from syncing with mobile devices.

  4. Check your password: Log in to Gmail. If you get a password error, that may be why the app isn't syncing properly. Change your Gmail password on both devices.

  5. Update the app: Downloading the latest version of the Gmail app may fix Gmail sync problems. Go to the Gmail App in the Play Store; if you see Update next to Gmail, tap it. If you see Open, that means you're running the latest version.

  6. Clear Gmail app data and stored Gmail files. Cleaning out storage can fix glitches with apps.

    Open the Settings app. Tap Apps and Notifications or, on older versions of Android, tap Apps. Tap the Gmail app. Tap Storage & cache > Clear Storage, then confirm the action.

    On Samsung devices, go to Settings > Apps > Gmail > Permissions > Storage. Then, tap Clear Data and confirm your choice.

    Clearing app data shouldn't delete email or other content from a Gmail account, only from the local device. However, if you have important emails on that device, back up your data.

  7. Restart the Android device. Sometimes a restart is all it takes to get a smartphone or tablet to work properly.

How to Fix iOS or iPadOS Gmail Not Syncing

Syncing problems with the official Gmail application on iOS or iPadOS or with Gmail in the Mail app are a little different. Although some of the same troubleshooting steps for Android apply, a few fixes are specific to Apple devices.

  1. Make sure IMAP is enabled. IMAP is the technology Gmail uses to send emails from its mail server to the device. It should be enabled by default, but if that changes for some reason, re-enable it.

  2. Check your push settings. If your Gmail account in iOS Mail is set to sync manually, then the app will only fetch new emails when you're using it, which can slow things down. Open Settings. Tap Passwords & Accounts > Fetch New Data > Gmail and select Fetch.

  3. Make sure the device is online. Verify that mobile data is turned on or that the device is connected to Wi-Fi.

  4. Check if the app needs an update. Sometimes a pending app update interferes with data syncing.

  5. Restart your iPhone. Restarting your iPhone can solve this and many other problems.

  6. Reinstall the Gmail App. Delete the Gmail app from your iOS device. Then, go to the iOS App Store, search for Gmail, and reinstall the app.

  7. Delete your account. Sometimes you just have to start again by deleting your account and setting it up all over again. Go to Settings > Passwords & Accounts and tap your Gmail account. Tap Delete Account and confirm by tapping Delete Account again. Deleting your account doesn't delete your remote data; it just clears everything on your iPhone or iPad.

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