Enlarge (credit: Samuel Axon)

Google has begun testing a new feature on the iOS Gmail app: the ability to add non-Google e-mail accounts.

The change would make the Gmail app more competitive with Apple’s own Mail app and numerous other popular email apps on iOS like Spark, Outlook, and Airmail.

The test was announced in a post from Gmail’s official Twitter account:

Calling Gmail iOS users! Help us test a new feature – check your non-Google accounts from the official Gmail iOS app https://t.co/qVG44ygii2 pic.twitter.com/WZlUDSOtWX
— Gmail (@gmail) October 17, 2017

If you try to sign up for the test, Google gives three criteria for eligibility: you must currently be using the Gmail iOS app, you must have an email account that’s not Gmail with which to test, and you must be running iOS 10 or later on your device.

Google hasn’t said anything about when this feature could exit testing and go live to the public, or even if it will.
Some beta tests at Google have lasted weeks, others have gone on for years, and others never resulted in a publicly available feature or product.
On Google’s competing Android mobile platform, the Gmail app is the default email app, and it already supports third-party accounts.

The app wouldn’t be very useful as a default email solution if it didn’t.

But iOS users who use Gmail accounts in addition to others—say, iCloud or Exchange—have needed to either use a non-Google app for Gmail, thereby potentially missing out on some Gmail features. Or they’ve had to use two different email apps.
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