Yahoo’s iPhone "push" email, doesn’t.

I’ll be posting about the iPhone’s necessary improvements later, but there’s one item that doesn’t belong in that article because it’s not Apple’s fault.

A big selling point of the iPhone to me was the push email from Yahoo. Unfortunately, for my account it’s not working as designed, and apparently I’m not alone. I have timed the push at over 30 minutes before manually getting the email, and it’s rarely less then 15.

As someone who’s been a Yahoo Plus email subscriber for five years, I like the service and their spam filtering, but this is very disappointing. How hard can it be? Most frustrating is that my appeals to Yahoo support have been met with several canned responses that do not even match what I reported!!

Yahoo, if you’re having an issue with push (maybe it’s not as easy as you thought?) then just admit it. Tell me you’re working on it and will have things right soon, and I’m cool with that. But canned replies and no acknowledgment of a problem is not working.

As I’ve seen suggested, I tried resetting the phone a few times. I’ve also tried it using imported settings for my account from MS Outlook, and when that didn’t work I tried defining it myself (twice), but the problem persists. The option suggesting that I create a whole new Yahoo account because some just don’t work is ludicrous! Yahoo had better be able to fix this for the account I’ve had five years.

I honestly don’t know how serious Yahoo is taking this. I’ve seen nothing from them about the issue at all. Let me tell you, Yahoo, this is very serious.

[UPDATE:] I’m updating this issue because I notice it gets a hit or two every day from people searching for Yahoo! push issues. It would appear there are plenty of people having this problem. I felt kind of bad that there is no official resolution in my post, so I thought I’d at least update it so you know where I am:

1) I have had no further communication with Yahoo. They never followed-up on my last email, and I stopped banging my head against that wall by emailing them further.

2) The “push” issue is still where it always was: I get my emails, but there is an average delay of around 20-25 minutes before I do.

3) On a few occasions I get an email more or less instantaneously, but that is not the norm.

4) I have stopped all my testing and timing, as the issue was pronounced from the moment I got my iPhone and never really changed.

5) I have, for now, simply learned to live with it. If I’m on the road and get an email at 12:25 that actually arrived at 12:00, there is no real impact. Therefore, for me, 95% of the time it’s frustrating only because I know it’s not working, but it’s not a real hindrance. For others, I could see how it may be major (such as requiring notification at a certain time, or carrying on an email “conversation” with somebody).

So that’s it. No permanent resolution, but I get all my emails so I’m living with it.

[UPDATE #2] 9/15/07: This is a second update to keep those who find this article via searching updated on the issue. Sadly, the update is not happy one for Yahoo…

Interesting that some have reported emails “disappearing,” as I began to see this as well. In two cases the emails disappeared right in front of me! I used Yahoo email for five years, but only to hold mail long enough for my desktop to retrieve it and then delete from the server. I never truly utilized the IMAP feature, never knew how bad it was, nor how little Yahoo’s support group cared.

My latest update on this is simple: I grew tired of this crap and began leaving Yahoo email behind.

This is possible for me because I bought a .Mac membership, and therefore have an alternative IMAP email account to use. IMAP is very important to me because with the iPhone I wanted mobile access to the exact same thing I see on my desktop. Only an IMAP account can really provide that. If I didn’t have an alternate IMAP account, I guess I’d still be swearing at Yahoo.

The good news is that Yahoo Plus has a mail forwarding feature, so I have it forwarding all email to my .Mac account. Yahoo does this correctly (i.e., email arrives to .Mac as being from the original sender, not from Yahoo). This means I can just click reply in .Mac and the fact that it came to me via Yahoo is transparent. I have begun sending people my new email address, but with Yahoo forwarding I have plenty of time to get this done.

So what do I lose with this approach? Well, aside from the hassle of changing my email address to .Mac from Yahoo, obviously I lose iPhone push email, but if that ever worked worth a damn I wouldn’t even be in this position. As it turns out, having the iPhone check for mail every 15 minutes is getting most of my emails sooner than waiting for Yahoo’s push to do its job. Sad, but true.

My Yahoo Plus account is up for renewal in nine months, by then I’ll be able to kiss it goodbye. It’s a shame that what should have been a great opportunity for Yahoo to get and keep new email customers has turned into a disaster. But judging by the number of hits this article continues to get from various search engines, that’s just what it is.

(Stick figure diagram courtesy of here.)

22 thoughts on “Yahoo’s iPhone "push" email, doesn’t.

  1. I am simply very dissapointed with yahoo as well. I have had the plus account and yahoo for over five years and think there should be some sort of resolution. I srykmrd don’t get my emails until hours and hours after I manually check my account. What gives??

  2. Yahoo mail messages have started suddenly disappearing before my eyes. And others randomly are not coming at all. I really depend on this thing for email and I don’t know what to do.

  3. At another thread it seems that you can not get email through WIFI. So trun off WIFI and just use EDGE or 3G. It doesn’t make sence but Apple and AT&T have really screwed up! Now the question is do they charge for the email going through there systems?

  4. I have a 3G, and my Yahoo mail hasn’t updated in 3 days. I tried turning off WiFi, and, voila, it worked! I don’t get why, but it did.

  5. Yahoo Push was working perfectly for me until last week. Then everything went haywire with my email on the iPhone. I would see the “Checking for Mail” status with the spinning wheel for 20+ minutes… hung in a loop. It would never time out. (Occured on both GMail and Yahoo accounts) A hard restart of the iPhone would usually get things back to normal… temporarily. By the weekend, I was reset/shutting down to solve the problem 2-3 times a day.

    Then the Push feature suddenly stopped a few days ago… to add salt to my wounds, I suppose.

    I think PLM (see Jan 31 post) is on to something though. If I disable WiFi (for example, while I am sitting in my own home), I receive pushed emails from Yahoo immediately–like the good ol’ days.

    So, I have to choose? 1) WiFi and no push (ie. mail delays of 20-30 minutes)…. OR 2) Edge and slower connections…. Hmm.

    Could this be a crafty way of getting me to upgrade to a 3G (and ditch the Edge)?

  6. With an iphone 3g bought today, I have the exact same symptoms as PLM.

    Cannot connect with WiFI, works perfectly with 3G or EDGE when using

  7. I was researching this problem and came across your blog. Have you all seen the article at which discusses a security risk with Apple and Yahoo’s implementation of push email?

    I notice that the article I referenced above states that the push implementation relies on cell network coverage to work – it will not work with WiFi only (despite the previous poster’s experience – I expect he is using WiFi while still having an EDGE connection).

    I, however, have noticed the opposite problem to JM above. My Push email only seems to work when I turn OFF the WiFi radio and have my iPhone rely ONLY on the EDGE network for data. In that case, I generally get emails within 1 minute of their being sent. Otherwise (when I have my WiFi activated) I must start the Mail application and wait for it to check in order to receive mail (unless I wait for the next scheduled mail check, as selected in Mail preferences).

    In any case, you all should read the article I referenced – it points out that the Push implementation has a major security risk when used on public WiFi networks, which could allow someone to get the password to your Yahoo email account.

    I’m actually kind of wondering that if, as of the 1.1.3 update, Apple has disabled the push feature while using WiFi to address the security problem mentioned. It would explain why I can only get my Push email to work when using EDGE only networking.

  8. HI I use push mail with native settings on a yahoo acount on iphone 1.1.1. I only manage to receive pushed emails (delay from 5 seconds to 30 seconds) connected to wifi AND with no code or pin lock. I’ve taken out the SIM pin code and the secure code lock of the iphone. I never managed to receive pushed email using GSM / Edge (only wifi) but I can check manually or ever 15 minutes the emails.

  9. What a frusturating issue this has become. I thought I was imagining things when my emails would dissapear right in front of my eyes. I have lost some very important emails that dissapeared from my inbox for no reason at all. I have used yahoo mail for years and have never had this issue until I started using it with my iPhone. I hope Apple and Yahoo come up with a fix soon.

  10. I was having push problems as well. But now, I have a worse problem. Today, for no known reason, all the messages in my inbox disappeared on the phone. They aren’t in the trash. Nowhere. I checked via the Yahoo! web client, and they are actually gone! They aren’t in any folder.

    I suspect that both Apple and Yahoo! have a share of the responsibility for these bugs and probably neither one is willing to address their side of it because they are blaming 100% of the problem on the other company.

  11. I have an iPhone and Yahoo email account. Emails that I keeped in the inbox or any other folder would disappear occasionally. It is very fustrating. Apple and Yahoo need to get toghther to fix this problem.

  12. After checking my Yahoo email, the IPHONE or Yahoo decided to delete ALL EMAILS in my user created “SAVED” folder. No reason that I can see. I did nothing to cause it. Very frustrating.

  13. Works for me. I have a Yahoo Plus account and setting the email up as a pop account instead of the preset imap works for me. I get my emails when they are sent.

  14. In Settings/Mail there is an auto-check option for Manual, or 15, 30, or 60 minutes. That’s it.

    The whole point of Push mail is that I shouldn’t have to check for email (which will save battery life as well); I’ll just get it when it arrives.

    I have my auto-check set to Manual, but as I noted I go maybe 30 minutes on average before getting my emails.

    By the way, if there was a 3-minute setting for checking email, and you used it, I think you’d get very little battery life. That’s why Push is the way to go. I just wish Yahoo would get it right.

  15. wait a minute…i just went to the Apple site and watched the email video. Apparently there is an Auto Check feature….at least in the video. But my iPhone doesn’t have that menu click. The first menu button is “Show” under messages….and I just downloaded the latest SW from Apple.


    genius bar…here we come.

  16. I am having the same problem. I have owned (and worked on most of the models) Treos and switched to a RIM Pearl about 6 months ago. Just got an iPhone on Sat, and this is really bumming me out. I need to get my emails on time…

    Tried the proposed IMAP path and that is a no-go for me as well.

    I have searched all over Settings, but I haven’t found a way for the phone to automatically check email for me every…say…3 minutes. Is that possible?

    Also couldn’t get my GMail account to work…at all.

    – Slightly bummed

  17. I updated the original post on 8/6 because it’s turning up in web searches and I wanted to provide those readers with a “status.”

  18. If you want to conference call with me Tom … I have 24/7 yahoo phone support. Just email me and maybe we can three way on our iPhones with Yahoo and see if there’s an answer.

  19. Well, that didn’t take long. Changing the IMAP prefix to ‘’ caused all but my Inbox to disappear. No, I need the default directory of ‘/’.

    If I have to use a new address in order for this to work, I’ll likely wait until someone else offers iPhone push (shouldn’t be too long) and just go with them. I am not happy with Yahoo right now.

  20. I’m not going to be happy if I have to change my address.

    Was it working for you at all? I get pushed email, I just don’t get it in anything like a timely manner. If I set the iPhone to check every 15 minutes I’d get it faster than the push.

    As for the IMAP setting, you’d think the iPhone would plug it in if needed, but I just did and I’ll see how that goes.

  21. Yes I agree … I have a Yahoo premium account (and have had for 8 years) – the only difference between me and you is I have website hosting and a domain name through Yahoo “” – I had to change my address for the iPhone to a yahoo.smallbiz address.

    Make sure also that you change the mail setting s on your computer to delete messages from the server immediately (for your computer) – change it when you go on vacation somewhere or might think you’ll need a back up.

    Your iPhone will leave all messages, your computer will delete them, that way you don’t donload repeat messages.

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