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How do I access email on my mobile phone?

Close up of mobile handset

It is very useful to be able to send and receive emails via your mobile phone. Setting it up can be a little time-consuming but is well worth the initial effort. You will be able to get messages on the move - instead of waiting until you are at home in front of your computer.

Andrew Stucken | 9th September 2010

Possible ways of getting email on your phone are via webmail, by using the phone's menu settings to set up email accounts, or via special email applications. Which options are available to you depends on your phone and email provider.

If you have WAP set up on your phone you should be able to use webmail or receive emails using the phone’s menu settings.


Many ISPs (internet service providers) will give you the option to send and receive emails using their website. They should provide a WAP version of this site – one specially written to be viewed on mobiles. This is how you access it:

  1. Open up your phone’s browser and enter the web address of your ISP.
  2. Look for a button that says ‘Email’ and click on it.
  3. Type in your user name and password and click a button marked ‘Enter’, ‘Go’ or something similar.

You should now be able to access your email. Do remember that WAP is not broadband and not as fast!

An application from a free email provider

There is another way to access email on your phone if you have an account with some free email providers like Gmail or Hotmail.

You can use a special application (‘app’ for short) with WAP-enabled phones. You need to:

  1. Download and install the app. You could call technical support to ask for help with this.
  2. Enter your email user name and password.
  3. Click ‘Enter’, ‘Go’ or something similar, and you should be able to read, write and send emails.

Setting up email using the phone’s menu settings

Many mobile phones are capable of sending and receiving email in a similar way to an email program like Eudora or Outlook Express. They come to your phone by SMS.

You will need to go into the phone’s menu to enter some settings (called ‘POP’ or ‘IMAP’). This is a little more complicated and you will need to know the settings.

I recommend using webmail or an email app if possible, rather than this method – unless your phone has something called push email.

Push email

Push email is available on some smartphones. Again, it is set up in the same way as with an email client on your computer. The big difference is that email is ‘pushed’ through to you as soon as it arrives. Normally we have to ‘pull’ email – it stays on the server until we decide to download it.

Push email is very popular with business people who need to deal with emails urgently. If you would like push email, you will need to talk to your network operator to see if your phone is equipped, or get a phone with this capability.

If it does have push email, you might be able to set it up using a ‘wizard’ on the phone. If you have more than one email account, you don’t have to set them all up on your phone – you can choose which ones you want.

If your phone can get it, push e-mail is well worth the initial effort of setting it up.

Andrew Stucken

Andrew Stucken

Andrew cut his journalistic teeth with the local press, and has since moved on to writing for major national websites specialising in technology and money-saving. He has also written for The Times and other national newspapers.