Make Gmail on Android even better with these helper apps

Gmail on Android is darned good, but has a few holes. Android developers have fixed nearly all of them, for free.

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The Gmail experience on an Android device is one of Android’s greatest selling points—probably most Android fans’ Top 5. But that’s not to say it can’t be improved with a few quick fixes and app downloads. If you’d like a smarter address book, quick “canned” responses, better attachment handling, or an entirely new email experience, you’ll find it’s not that hard to get a better Gmail under your thumbs.

What follows are the Gmail deficiencies and quirks we can fix and tweak, usually with a third-party app that plays nicely with the built-in Gmail app.

Use the same canned responses as in full-browser Gmail

Load Gmail in a browser, and you can utilized customized “Canned Responses” to quickly fling generic messages back to senders who deserve at least some recognition: “I’m traveling right now, but I’ll be sure to look into that Monday,” “Thank you for your interest, but I don’t take business pitches on my personal email,” and so on. Load Gmail on your phone, though, and it’s either everybody gets a vacation responses, or you’re writing (or pasting) each responses individually.

Canned Responses Beta on Android

Enter Gmail Canned Responses Beta for Android. After you authorize the app to access your Gmail account, it serves as a simple list of all your responses. Tap one, and it’s copied to your clipboard, ready to be pasted into any Gmail text box. You can enable notifications to keep that response always ready for copying in your pull-down shade, if you plan to blitz through more than one message with a common responses.

Need to enable Canned Responses in Gmail itself? Then use this link to the Canned Responses “Lab” to enable them.

Work around Gmail’s attachment download limitations

Gmail Attachment Download, handling a, uh, downloaded attachment in Gmail

If a message has a PDF attached, Gmail responds with the smartphone equivalent of “Absolutely, no problem, right this way, Sir or Madam.” If someone tries to send you an AAC music file, or maybe a .XLS spreadsheet, and you don’t have the right app installed to handle that file right that moment, Gmail’s response is more akin to the “Biblical Proportions” moment in Ghostbusters.

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