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How to Fix Email Not Working in Android Mail App

Authored by:
Support.com Tech Pro Team
This Guided Path® was written and reviewed by Support.com’s Tech Pro team. With decades of experience, our Tech Pros are passionate about making technology work for you. We love feedback! Let us know what you think about this Guided Path by rating it at the end.

Introduction

It can be frustrating when you can't get your email using your Android phone or tablet. In some cases, this is someone's only way to check their email. This guide will take you through the basics to getting your mail back working properly.

Each fix is listed in order. Try each one individually and test your email. If you're still having trouble, try the next fix until you find one that has resolved the issue.

Before You Begin:
  • Make sure your phone or tablet can access the internet.
Android Mail Not Working

About Email on an Android Device

The default app used for checking mail on Android is called Gmail. It is optimized for checking Google's Gmail email service, but also has the ability to check mail from any other email provider.

If you use another email program on your Android smartphone, most of this guide will apply, but some menus in the mail program itself will look very different.

1 Make Sure I'm Connected to the Internet

One of the simplest checks we can do is to ensure the Internet connection is okay. If you are sure you are connected to the net, you can skip this step.

Check Airplane Mode

Airplane Mode turns off all communication on your device. Sometimes, this is done deliberately (such as when you're on a flight, or trying to save battery) or on accident. It's a good idea to check and be sure it isn't enabled on your device, as it will stop any and all communication for your device.

Your screen may look slightly different from these screenshots, as Android devices can be customized by the device manufacturer as well as the carrier, as well as different versions look slightly different.
  1. Open Settings, and select Network & Internet.
    Android Settings
    Android Settings with Network and Internet highlighted.
  2. Make sure Airplane Mode is turned Off.
    Android Network and Internet Settings with Airplane Mode turned Off and highlighted.

Verify Internet Connection

Sometimes, the Internet connection itself isn't working, or a public Wi-Fi hotspot requires you to sign-in or agree to their terms, first. Checking with your browser, which is simpler than other tools you may use, can help.

  1. Open your browser. In the address bar at the top, type in google.com, then push Enter or Return.
    Google Chrome
    Chrome browser on Android with address typed in and highlighted.
  2. Make sure you're able to load Google.com. Once this loads, make sure you're able to search. Type something in the Search box, then select Google Search.
    Google home page with search field and Google Search button highlighted.
  3. Make sure search results load properly.
    Example Google Search Results
  4. If searching doesn't work, then there's reason to believe that you're not connected to the Internet. Fix the connection issue before proceeding.
    How to Fix My Internet Connection
    Learn how to troubleshoot Internet connectivity issues for any device(s) you have that are struggling to access the Internet.

2 Update the Gmail App

Gmail is the primary email program on Android. It is able to check not only Google's Gmail service, but almost any other mail provider as well.
Gmail

Sometimes, small changes in the email service provider require updates to the Gmail program to work properly. A quick check to be sure there's no available updates is the best first step.

Gmail on Google Play Store
If you are using your Android device to view this guide, you can follow the link below to jump directly to Gmail on the Google Play Store.
If you are viewing this guide on another device, the link above won't quite help; instead follow the instructions below to check if the Gmail app has any updates available.
  1. Open the Play Store, then select the Search Bar at the top.
    Google Play Store.
    Android Play Store with Search bar highlighted.
  2. Type in Gmail, then select Gmail from the list.
    Search for Gmail with Gmail highlighted.
  3. If an Update is available, select Update.
    Gmail Play Store page with Update highlighted.

3 Restart your Android Device

Many basic problems can be solved simply by restarting your device. This clears caches, and forces the device to re-load the program or web page you may be having issue with, rather than use something that may be partially wrong.

Before you restart or shut down your device, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.
  1. Hold down the power button on your Android device.
    Android Phone with power button highlighted.
    Depending on the manufacturer and model of Android device you have, the location of the power button will vary.
  2. Select Power Off.
    Power menu with Power off highlighted.
    If the menu does not pop up, continue to hold the power button, and your Android device will shut off.
  3. Wait 30 seconds.
    Wait 30 Seconds
  4. Push and hold the Power button for a few moments, and your Android device will start back up.
    Android Phone with power button highlighted.
After rebooting, check if you are still having the same problem again. Many times, this is all that's needed to fix issues you may have!

4 Turn On Gmail Sync

Sometimes, Gmail Sync can be turned off on accident. It's best to make sure it's still turned on.

  1. Open Gmail, and select the Menu in the top-left corner.
    Gmail
    Gmail with Menu highlighted.
  2. Scroll to the bottom, and select Settings.
    Gmail Menu with Settings highlighted.
  3. Select your email account from the list.
    Settings with mail account highlighted.
  4. Scroll to the bottom, under Data usage, select Sync Gmail.
    Account settings with Sync Gmail highlighted.

5 Turn On Android Data Sync

Android allows you to turn on and off data sync at a system level, and sometimes this setting can be turned off on accident.

Your screen may look slightly different from these screenshots, as Android devices can be customized by the device manufacturer as well as the carrier, as well as different versions look slightly different.
  1. Open Settings, and select Accounts.
    Settings
    Android Settings with Accounts highlighted.
  2. Make sure Automatically sync data is turned On.
    Account Settings with Automatically sync data on and highlighted.

6 Make Sure There's Enough Free Storage Space

If there's not enough room on your Android device, you can run into a multitude of different problems. Checking and freeing up space can help; removing things you don't want or need and making space for things you do want.

Your screen may look slightly different from these screenshots, as Android devices can be customized by the device manufacturer as well as the carrier, as well as different versions look slightly different.
  1. Open Settings, and select Storage.
    Settings
    Android Settings with Storage highlighted
    Generally, you want at least 2-3GB of space free. If you see here you have enough space free, you can skip the rest of this step, or continue if you want to free up more space.
  2. Select Internal storage.
    Storage with Internal Storage highlighted.
  3. Here you'll see how much space you're using at the top. You can choose Free up space to run an automatic clean-up tool that will guide you through freeing up more space.
    Storage with space and Free up space button highlighted.

7 Check Email Password

Mail apps typically save/store your email provider's server settings, including your username and password, so that it does not have to repeatedly ask you for these credentials again and again. Unfortunately, if there is ever a problem with this stored information, most email apps and providers don't do a great job of letting you know that the information it's trying to use isn't working, or is being rejected. Because of this, it's best to double-check that you're using the right password for your email by logging in with a web browser on your computer.

If you are unable to sign in on your webmail site, it means there's a problem with your password. Follow the link to reset your password on that site, and follow the instructions for other ways to prove your identity, and get a new password.

Change Saved Password for Android Email

After you're sure you have the correct password, you can retype it on your Android device.

  1. Open Gmail, and select the Menu in the top-left corner.
    Gmail
    Gmail with Menu highlighted.
  2. Scroll to the bottom, and select Settings.
    Gmail Menu with Settings highlighted.
  3. Select your email account from the list.
    Settings with mail account highlighted.
  4. If you have a web-based mail account (such as Google or Yahoo), select to Manage your Account. If you are using an account from your ISP or another type of mail account, scroll to the bottom and select Incoming settings.
    Gmail or Web-Based Accounts
    Gmail account with Manage your Google Account highlighted.
    ISP or Other Accounts
    ISP account with Incoming settings highlighted.
  5. Look through these settings, and re-enter your password to be sure there's no simple typing errors.
    Because each mail provider is a little different, these screens will look different compared to what you will see.
    Gmail or Web-Based Accounts
    Gmail account settings with password highlighted.
    ISP or Other Accounts
    ISP email settings with Password highlighted.

8 Reset Gmail

The next step is to reset the email program on your Android device entirely. This will wipe all settings for all mail accounts, and require you to reset everything, then re-download all your mail.

While this is usually safe, you can end up losing mail, contacts, and other information through this process. If you are worried about losing this information, stop and do not proceed — call your mail provider for assistance instead.
Your screen may look slightly different from these screenshots, as Android devices can be customized by the device manufacturer as well as the carrier, as well as different versions look slightly different.
After performing these steps, you will need to re-setup all of your mail accounts in Gmail. Make sure you have your account settings on-hand before continuing.
  1. Open Settings, and select Apps & notifications.
    Settings
    Android Settings with Apps and notifications highlighted.
  2. From your apps list, select Gmail.
    Apps list with Gmail highlighted.
  3. Select Storage & cache.
    Gmail app info with Storage and Cache highlighted.
  4. Select Clear storage.
    Gmail Storage with Clear storage highlighted.
  5. You will be asked if you are sure, select OK.
    Delete app data warning with OK highlighted.
When you open Gmail next, you will need to re-setup all of your mail accounts. Make sure you have your account settings on-hand.

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It can be frustrating when you can't get your email using your Android phone or tablet. In some cases, this is someone's only way to check their email. This guide will take you through the basics to getting your mail back working properly.

Each fix is listed in order. Try each one individually and test your email. If you're still having trouble, try the next fix until you find one that has resolved the issue.

Before You Begin:
  • Make sure your phone or tablet can access the internet.
Android Mail Not Working

About Email on an Android Device

The default app used for checking mail on Android is called Gmail. It is optimized for checking Google's Gmail email service, but also has the ability to check mail from any other email provider.

If you use another email program on your Android smartphone, most of this guide will apply, but some menus in the mail program itself will look very different.

One of the simplest checks we can do is to ensure the Internet connection is okay. If you are sure you are connected to the net, you can skip this step.

Check Airplane Mode

Airplane Mode turns off all communication on your device. Sometimes, this is done deliberately (such as when you're on a flight, or trying to save battery) or on accident. It's a good idea to check and be sure it isn't enabled on your device, as it will stop any and all communication for your device.

Your screen may look slightly different from these screenshots, as Android devices can be customized by the device manufacturer as well as the carrier, as well as different versions look slightly different.
  1. Open Settings, and select Network & Internet.
    Android Settings
    Android Settings with Network and Internet highlighted.
  2. Make sure Airplane Mode is turned Off.
    Android Network and Internet Settings with Airplane Mode turned Off and highlighted.

Verify Internet Connection

Sometimes, the Internet connection itself isn't working, or a public Wi-Fi hotspot requires you to sign-in or agree to their terms, first. Checking with your browser, which is simpler than other tools you may use, can help.

  1. Open your browser. In the address bar at the top, type in google.com, then push Enter or Return.
    Google Chrome
    Chrome browser on Android with address typed in and highlighted.
  2. Make sure you're able to load Google.com. Once this loads, make sure you're able to search. Type something in the Search box, then select Google Search.
    Google home page with search field and Google Search button highlighted.
  3. Make sure search results load properly.
    Example Google Search Results
  4. If searching doesn't work, then there's reason to believe that you're not connected to the Internet. Fix the connection issue before proceeding.
    How to Fix My Internet Connection
    Learn how to troubleshoot Internet connectivity issues for any device(s) you have that are struggling to access the Internet.

Gmail is the primary email program on Android. It is able to check not only Google's Gmail service, but almost any other mail provider as well.
Gmail

Sometimes, small changes in the email service provider require updates to the Gmail program to work properly. A quick check to be sure there's no available updates is the best first step.

Gmail on Google Play Store
If you are using your Android device to view this guide, you can follow the link below to jump directly to Gmail on the Google Play Store.
If you are viewing this guide on another device, the link above won't quite help; instead follow the instructions below to check if the Gmail app has any updates available.
  1. Open the Play Store, then select the Search Bar at the top.
    Google Play Store.
    Android Play Store with Search bar highlighted.
  2. Type in Gmail, then select Gmail from the list.
    Search for Gmail with Gmail highlighted.
  3. If an Update is available, select Update.
    Gmail Play Store page with Update highlighted.

Many basic problems can be solved simply by restarting your device. This clears caches, and forces the device to re-load the program or web page you may be having issue with, rather than use something that may be partially wrong.

Before you restart or shut down your device, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.
  1. Hold down the power button on your Android device.
    Android Phone with power button highlighted.
    Depending on the manufacturer and model of Android device you have, the location of the power button will vary.
  2. Select Power Off.
    Power menu with Power off highlighted.
    If the menu does not pop up, continue to hold the power button, and your Android device will shut off.
  3. Wait 30 seconds.
    Wait 30 Seconds
  4. Push and hold the Power button for a few moments, and your Android device will start back up.
    Android Phone with power button highlighted.
After rebooting, check if you are still having the same problem again. Many times, this is all that's needed to fix issues you may have!

Sometimes, Gmail Sync can be turned off on accident. It's best to make sure it's still turned on.

  1. Open Gmail, and select the Menu in the top-left corner.
    Gmail
    Gmail with Menu highlighted.
  2. Scroll to the bottom, and select Settings.
    Gmail Menu with Settings highlighted.
  3. Select your email account from the list.
    Settings with mail account highlighted.
  4. Scroll to the bottom, under Data usage, select Sync Gmail.
    Account settings with Sync Gmail highlighted.

Android allows you to turn on and off data sync at a system level, and sometimes this setting can be turned off on accident.

Your screen may look slightly different from these screenshots, as Android devices can be customized by the device manufacturer as well as the carrier, as well as different versions look slightly different.
  1. Open Settings, and select Accounts.
    Settings
    Android Settings with Accounts highlighted.
  2. Make sure Automatically sync data is turned On.
    Account Settings with Automatically sync data on and highlighted.

If there's not enough room on your Android device, you can run into a multitude of different problems. Checking and freeing up space can help; removing things you don't want or need and making space for things you do want.

Your screen may look slightly different from these screenshots, as Android devices can be customized by the device manufacturer as well as the carrier, as well as different versions look slightly different.
  1. Open Settings, and select Storage.
    Settings
    Android Settings with Storage highlighted
    Generally, you want at least 2-3GB of space free. If you see here you have enough space free, you can skip the rest of this step, or continue if you want to free up more space.
  2. Select Internal storage.
    Storage with Internal Storage highlighted.
  3. Here you'll see how much space you're using at the top. You can choose Free up space to run an automatic clean-up tool that will guide you through freeing up more space.
    Storage with space and Free up space button highlighted.

Mail apps typically save/store your email provider's server settings, including your username and password, so that it does not have to repeatedly ask you for these credentials again and again. Unfortunately, if there is ever a problem with this stored information, most email apps and providers don't do a great job of letting you know that the information it's trying to use isn't working, or is being rejected. Because of this, it's best to double-check that you're using the right password for your email by logging in with a web browser on your computer.

If you are unable to sign in on your webmail site, it means there's a problem with your password. Follow the link to reset your password on that site, and follow the instructions for other ways to prove your identity, and get a new password.

Change Saved Password for Android Email

After you're sure you have the correct password, you can retype it on your Android device.

  1. Open Gmail, and select the Menu in the top-left corner.
    Gmail
    Gmail with Menu highlighted.
  2. Scroll to the bottom, and select Settings.
    Gmail Menu with Settings highlighted.
  3. Select your email account from the list.
    Settings with mail account highlighted.
  4. If you have a web-based mail account (such as Google or Yahoo), select to Manage your Account. If you are using an account from your ISP or another type of mail account, scroll to the bottom and select Incoming settings.
    Gmail or Web-Based Accounts
    Gmail account with Manage your Google Account highlighted.
    ISP or Other Accounts
    ISP account with Incoming settings highlighted.
  5. Look through these settings, and re-enter your password to be sure there's no simple typing errors.
    Because each mail provider is a little different, these screens will look different compared to what you will see.
    Gmail or Web-Based Accounts
    Gmail account settings with password highlighted.
    ISP or Other Accounts
    ISP email settings with Password highlighted.

The next step is to reset the email program on your Android device entirely. This will wipe all settings for all mail accounts, and require you to reset everything, then re-download all your mail.

While this is usually safe, you can end up losing mail, contacts, and other information through this process. If you are worried about losing this information, stop and do not proceed — call your mail provider for assistance instead.
Your screen may look slightly different from these screenshots, as Android devices can be customized by the device manufacturer as well as the carrier, as well as different versions look slightly different.
After performing these steps, you will need to re-setup all of your mail accounts in Gmail. Make sure you have your account settings on-hand before continuing.
  1. Open Settings, and select Apps & notifications.
    Settings
    Android Settings with Apps and notifications highlighted.
  2. From your apps list, select Gmail.
    Apps list with Gmail highlighted.
  3. Select Storage & cache.
    Gmail app info with Storage and Cache highlighted.
  4. Select Clear storage.
    Gmail Storage with Clear storage highlighted.
  5. You will be asked if you are sure, select OK.
    Delete app data warning with OK highlighted.
When you open Gmail next, you will need to re-setup all of your mail accounts. Make sure you have your account settings on-hand.