Waiting for that important email… and waiting…

By | June 20, 2016
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Well, it needs to be a quick one today as I’m popping out later to take Edward on a visit to school – he’ll be starting in September and has had one afternoon visit to see how he got on (he liked it – liked the stories and played outside on the climbing frame which he loved) and he’s got a second visit today. So I must be finished in time to take him!

But first I wanted to talk about something that affects both tablets and PCs… but is most noticeable on tablets.

It’s about emails. There are lots of different ways to access your emails – different programs you can use or you can go to a website and log in (webmail). On the PC I think it’s about 50/50 – half of people use webmail, half use a program, but on tablets most people seem to use an app. (Don’t be put off by me calling it a program on a PC and an app on a tablet – it means the same thing but people tend to use different words.)

But what most people don’t realise is how the app (or program) checks for new emails.

I don’t mean technically – exactly what series of electronic dots and dashes it uses. I mean how it’s set up to do it – and when it does it.

On most apps, when you start the app up, it checks for any new emails. “Syncing” it’s often called, short for synchronising.

And then it periodically checks again.

But how often it checks varies quite a lot. On some devices it’s every couple of minutes or even every minute. On some it’s every five minutes or even more.

It doesn’t matter most of the time, but if you’re waiting for an email, it could be worth knowing.

For example, if you’ve just booked a hotel or a flight online or bought something and are waiting for the confirmation email. If your device only checks every five minutes and it’s just checked, then you click on “book” or “buy” or whatever, then even if the company you’ve bought from send the email immediately, you might not get it for five minutes.

Don’t worry, though. If you’re waiting for an email, you can tell your app or program to check for emails straight away. Look for a button marked “Sync” or in some older programs “Send and receive”. Or “Check for mail”. Or sometimes it’ll have a symbol that’s two curved arrows pointing at each others’ tails in a circle.

Then it’ll check for emails straight away rather than waiting for its next planned check. And you can tap or click that option as often as you like, so if the email hasn’t come in, wait a minute or so and tap it again.

I should also mentioned that sometimes emails aren’t immediate anyway. They usually are, more or less. But occasionally you’ll get one that takes a while – even hours – to get where it’s going, if it doesn’t go directly to you or if your email company is struggling to keep up. It doesn’t tend to happen as much nowadays as it used to, but it’s possible. So don’t assume the worst if an email doesn’t appear straight away.

Right, I’ve still got plenty of time to pop out and take Edward to school. Time for a cup of tea first to calm me down… not that I’m at all emotional about my little boy going to school or anything, oh no…

9 thoughts on “Waiting for that important email… and waiting…

  1. M J BOWEN

    I use outlook.com and btinternet.com If I buy on line the response is instant. The only problem is when I try to send on a scam email to phishing . com I get a email back saying my browser won’t except it. That’s what my bank told me to do with scam emails. I noticed this last week outlook.com have changed their layout on the web page. All this last week I have got that dreaded white square it stops me logging on to the internet from Google Chrome, to open my emails I go to my favourites on the task bar if I want to get on the internet I log on just Google. That’s my moan for the week.

  2. J W Hartley

    I use Hotmail and can send an email from my tablet which will also give me all my contacts but I cannot bring up my Inbox. If I use the Outlook app I only get the “rubbish” emails and not the ones I want to read. I have to go to my laptop. Any ideas?

    1. Tim Post author

      it might be that the app on your tablet is currently in the “junk” or “spam” folder, so you only see the emails you don’t want!
      Try looking to see if there’s a list of “folders” anywhere – sometimes you have to swipe in from the side of the screen or tap a little button that looks like three lines above each other. Then you should get a list including the inbox – tap on that and it should be back how you’d like.

  3. Eva Hughes

    Hi Tim
    Thanks for the tips about email delivery.

    Aww your litle boy is growing up. Just out of curiosity – what would you do if he doesn’t like school? I remeber literally dragging my eldest daughter to school twice a day – with her bawling her head off all the way.


    Eva Hughes

    1. Tim Post author

      I must admit I’ve thought about this quite a bit – when Alastair first went to school he was very unsure about it and some days said he didn’t want to go. he can be quite shy and he didn’t know the other children as he’d been at a different nursery. I never did come up with a great solution but kept on talking to him about it and eventually he made one best friend (who was also quite shy) and it transformed him – and made it easier for him to make other friends because he was more relaxed.
      I feel very lucky that it worked out because I really don’t know what I’d have done – I’d even considered home schooling (both my wife and I have a background in educational publishing and my wife did a bit of teaching first, so we know a bit about the curriculum etc) but that has its own difficulties…
      You have my sympathy for what you went through with your daughter – it’s so hard when they’re not happy and you can’t see how to help!

  4. Maggie

    Hello Tim, this is an entirely different subject to emails, but as I have come up against a brick wall regarding what to do about my problem, I thought I’d ask you…..here goes. I live on the Isle of Skye and we have to rely on satellite for communication with our computer. The thing is we have very limited bandwidth and for some reason when I’m not even using the computer it’s churning away and constantly using my bandwidth up. I bought a new windows 10 desktop last week as I thought it might have been a virus or something in the old system as it was 5 years old, but the new one is doing the same. I bought a further 3gb the other evening to see me through until my monthly allowance is renewed on 26th and when I came to check the next day, that had been used as well and all I’d done was go on eBay and talk for 10 minutes on facebook to my cousin. It’s a mystery because the new windows 10 loaded up fine but I fear that something is going wrong somewhere. Can you help. My satellite company is called Bentley walker and the system is Tooway. The eating up of my bandwidth doesn’t seem to happen when I only use my iPad !

    1. Tim Post author

      I think I know what’s happening here – Windows 10 has a few settings in it that make it constantly in communication, even if you’re doing nothing.
      For one thing, it sends information back to Microsoft on how it’s running, partly so they can see any common problems that might mean they need to write an update, partly to tell Microsoft what information to put on the tiles that appear when you open the start menu.
      They’ve also coded it so your PC can be used to send updates to other people, once you’ve got a particular update. That can use a lot of bandwidth.
      And some of the things built into Windows 10, like Cortana, use the internet, though this is mainly when you’re using them, rather than in the background.
      I’d start by turning the sharing updates with others off. It isn’t something I’ve written about in detail (yet – though it’s on the list!) but heres how in a nutshell:
      Go to Start > Settings > Updates & security > Windows Update > Advanced options and then select Choose how updates are delivered, and use the toggle to turn Delivery Optimization off.
      I’d also suggest telling Windows 10 that you have a “metered” connection. I don’t know exactly what parts of Windows 10 use this info, but I suspect there’ll be others that will cut down how much they use the internet. Here’s how:
      click Start > Settings > Network & Internet > Wi?Fi > Advanced options and use the toggle switch under Set as metered connection.
      If that doesn’t help, or doesn’t do enough, it might be worth looking if you can, to see whether the bandwidth you’re using it mainly uploading stuff (which could be things like sharing updates or even some kind of malware) or downloading stuff (which could be your PC downloading updates it doesn’t need).
      Fingers crossed that helps – and feel free to share this with anyone else on the island – I should think it’ll be a common problem!

  5. Rosemary Marshall

    Wish you would tell us how to open an attachment on a Galaxy TAb 4. I have tried everything I can think of without result.
    Rosemary Marshall

    1. Tim Post author

      usually you get a View button to click or on other devices you click the paperclip symbol. But the thing that’s most often an issue with attachments is if you don’t have a program or app that can open the particular type of file you’ve been sent, so it might be worth checking what type of file it is or what it was created in and see if you have that program or another one that can open that type of file.
      For example, often people find they get a file created in Microsoft Powerpoint (which gives file names ending in .ppt) and if they don’t have powerpoint or some other program that can open its files, they can’t open the attachment.


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