Gmail launches its first public iOS beta to test support for third-party accounts

Google wants to make Gmail the place where you check all your email accounts, not just your Google accounts. The company announced this week it’s testing a new version of the Gmail app on iOS that will allow users to add their non-Google accounts, including those from Outlook (including Hotmail or Live), Yahoo, and elsewhere.

The announcement, which was sent out via a tweet from the @gmail Twitter account, invited users to sign up to test a version of the Gmail iOS app with this new feature.

The link takes users to an online form where they consent to joining the Gmail beta program. This requires users to have a current version of the official Gmail iOS app on iOS 10 or higher, and have at least one non-Google email account they would like to add to Gmail.

The form further asks them to check off which non-Google accounts they use from a list that includes Outlook, Hotmail, Live, Yahoo, Yandex,, or “Other.”

Because this is an iOS beta, there’s not an option to download the beta app from the App Store directly. Instead, betas are distributed through Apple’s TestFlight platform.

Notably, a Google spokesperson tells us this is the first time that the company has made a beta version of Gmail for iOS available through TestFlight with external users.

However, it’s not the first time Google has offered beta versions of its apps in general – it runs betas of many of its Android apps through Google Play today, and has for some time.

“We’re always experimenting with ways to improve user experience in Gmail, but we don’t have any additional details to share at this time,” a Google spokesperson said, when asked for details about its iOS beta program.

The company declined to say how many users will be allowed into the TestFlight beta trial, or what the company’s larger intentions are with the program.

For example, it wouldn’t confirm if the test was an attempt to measure much demand for such a feature, or if the addition was something Google planned to publicly release in the future. It’s also unclear if the TestFlight program will continue after this test wraps to trial other pre-release features in the future.

In the meantime, interested users can sign up to try the iOS beta here.