How to Add a Gmail Account to Windows 8.1 Mobile

Windows 8.1 Start screen on tablet

So you picked up a new Windows Phone or tablet running Windows 8.1? The mobile/desktop hybrid operating system is an amazing advancement in Windows technology meant to unify the mobile and desktop experiences.

The first step in setting up a new device is usually to set up your accounts. If you’re trying to add a Gmail account, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve walked through the process below so you can get up and running with Gmail in Windows 8.1 mobile quickly and easily.

If you’re looking to add more than one email account to your device, we’ll outline that process at the end as well, since it can be tricky.

Note: This method is only meant for standard Gmail accounts. If you have a Google Apps account, the process will vary from these steps. Look for a post detailing this process soon.

Step 1: Enable IMAP on Gmail

Before getting into the settings on your Windows 8.1 mobile device, you need to make sure your Gmail account is ready to connect. Log in to your account, click on the gear icon in the upper right corner and choose Settings. From here, click on the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab. Make sure that Enable IMAP is selected, and then click Save Changes to continue. If this was already turned on, then you can just close this window without saving.

Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab on Gmail Settings

This setting makes sure external clients like your Windows 8.1 mobile device can connect to your account.

Step 2: Set Up Email

With Gmail settings out of the way, you can add your account to your Windows device. If you’re adding your first email account, tap on the Email tile on your device and you should see this screen:

Mail window in Windows 8.1

If you already have an account added, skip ahead to the bonus section and see how to add multiple accounts.

Tap on the email provider you use, in this case Google, and enter your Google login information.

Google account login screen on Windows 8.1

Tap Sign in and you’ll be prompted to accept some security settings. Once these are approved you’ll be asked to save your password. It’s recommended that you do, as this will make sure you get your emails without issue.

Prompt to remember email sign-in info on Windows 8.1

With this step done, you should now have access to your Gmail messages on your device. You should notice the word Syncing… in the upper right corner. This will stay visible until all of your emails have been synced to your device.

Next, you have to add your account to the People (contacts) app to allow them to sync as well.

Step 3: Set Up Contacts

With your Gmail set up, the last step is to add your contacts to your Windows 8.1 device. While this is done in one step on many other devices, Microsoft separates this out, so without this step you will not have access to your contacts.

To begin, tap on the People tile, or swipe toward the top of your device and navigate to the People app.

From here, swipe toward the left from the right side of the screen to see the Charms box appear. In this box, tap on Settings, then on Accounts.

Windows 8.1 Charms box with Settings box

Next, tap on Add an account and then tap on Google.

Note: While you can add multiple Gmail accounts for mail, you can only add one Google account for contact syncing.

Duplicate contacts killing your productivity? See how Scrubly can help in this 100-second video.

Enter your Google login information if prompted, and then tap Connect.

Connect to Google box on Windows 8.1 People screen

You’ll be prompted to accept one more security setting; tap on Accept to continue. Once this is done you’ll be taken back to the People screen. It’ll take a few minutes for your contacts to sync over to Windows 8.1 (for 200 contacts this took around 5 minutes), but once the process is complete they will be 100% synced.

You’re all set. You can now access your Gmail via the Mail tile/app on your device, and you can access your Google contacts via the People tile/app.

While this is great, many of us have multiple accounts, so how do you add an account if you already have one working? Check out the bonus section below for that process.

Bonus: Add More Accounts

Once you have your first email account set up in Windows 8.1 mobile, you’ll probably want to add a few more accounts. To add a second email account to your device, tap on the Mail tile to open the Mail app. With the app open, swipe from the right of the screen to the left to open the Charms box. From here, tap on Settings (the bottom-most charm).

Gmail inbox on Windows 8.1

Tap on Accounts, then on Add an account. You will be presented with a list of possible account types.

If you’re adding another Gmail account, an Exchange account, a Yahoo account, or an Outlook.com account the process is very straightforward. If you’re adding any other accounts, you will need to tap on Other account and enter all your email settings manually.

Add an Account box on Windows 8.1

Walk through the process for whichever account you’re adding, and when done, you should see a list of accounts in the bottom left corner of your Mail screen. This is how you move from one account to the next.

If you want to add contact syncing for your new account, follow the steps outlined in step #3 above.

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