Today I tried to log into my gmail account in a mobile browser and was surprised to discover that gmail has blocked the ability to paste in your password. This can be frustrating for many people who have secure passwords that would be a paid in the neck to try to type out. For example, my pass is a long alphanumeric with uppercase, lowercase, and symbols, so this would be an extreme annoyance to try to type this every time I used it on my mobile device.
It is bad enough that I have to check “desktop mode” in my mobile browser, then second, go into the left menu when google forced mobile mode, scroll down to the bottom and click the hidden, “desktop mode” link in gmail, and then perform a third action because this takes you to the desktop compatibility mode so you have to go to the bottom of the page and choose “Standard” mode which takes you to the normal web-based gmail.
This is because I hate the mobile version of gmail so the only way I can reasonably use gmail on my phone is to go into the browser and perform these three actions every time it logs out in order to access the web-based gmail, which for me contains the dark theme, as well as pushing all unread mails to the top – something that neither the mobile gmail nor the app nor the compatibility mode do.
Of course, there is an alternative to use a third-party app like “K9 Mail” for android, which has a dark theme and the ability to push unread mails to the top so they are shown first. The problem with this is a couple things. First of all, I have found that it takes a long time to download all the mails – as in 20 minutes sometimes.
Oddly enough, the native gmail app also does the same thing – slowly downloading every email to my device instead of directly viewing the server like the web-based app does. But I do not want 10 million emails on my device! And that also breaks or dramatically slows down the search functionality unless you download your entire email account to your phone, something I wouldn’t recommend to do for security reasons as well (e.g. if you lost your phone).
Of course, there is the option to let it run 24/7 and drain my battery like by 80% as well as slowing down my phone. So for me, letting a mail app constantly run is definitely not an option. Not to mention that when I am away from wifi it would drain my data usage, another reason not to let it run 24/7.
Worse, especially if I am accessing from away from my home office wifi connection, the 3rd party mail app will often be blocked from downloading mails and I miss some or am not able to get to my mail. This is because of google blocking the third party from accessing from another location. This of course could be mitigated by using the crappy native gmail app that I hate the UI of and that does not have a native dark theme.
But that isn’t all – one of the most important gmail features I use is the delayed sending function. I have 30 seconds to glance over the mail to see if I changed my mind or needed to fix something, in which case I can go to the top and click the “cancel” link and it will not send. (This by the way is a Labs feature that can be enabled in gmail settings.) Of course, the native does not have this feature, nor does as any any 3rd party app. Some apps may have a delayed sending but not a cancel sending.
So all that to say I am stuck using the standard web version on a mobile device until I can get around to moving away from gmail for good.
So anyway, all that said, gmail did some UI updates to the web version when accessed from a mobile device (or a very small screen computer). Previously, there were bugs in which dropdown menus on the web version would shoot off screen, and also when replying sometimes the “reply” button would disappear and you would have to play around with zooming in and out of the screen to find it.
The one good thing about this UI update is that it solved this issue with dropdown menus shooting off screen. The UI also feels a little more clean and crisp, although I can’t put my finger on that one – no pun intended. However, the UI update also introduced a weird overlay bug in which there is a weird transparent overlay at the top. It also introduced a more persistent “this browser isn’t supported by gmail” nag at the wop which I always just dismiss.
But the worst update from this new gmail update, today I tried to log into gmail on my mobile browser, and discovered Google had completely disabled the ability to paste! I even tried multiple browsers to see if the problem was only in mobile chrome, but no, the password field is disabled from pasting in all mobile browsers. This means I cannot paste in my password, I would have to manually type it. As I mentioned earlier, my password would be ridiculous to try to type manually.
Fortunately, I did find a solution, albeit a temporary one and only for Android devices, because ultimately not being able to paste into google sign in would result in me having no choice but leaving gmail immediately, because I need to access the web version on my mobile device and typing the pass every time is not acceptable.
The solution is a free app from the Play Store named “Easy Copy” which restored the ability to paste into the form field even when it was disabled. I tried the other one, “Universal Copy”, but that one didn’t work for this purpose, only Easy Copy enabled paste in the form field. Without this app I would have given up on gmail altogether, but for now it probably gave it a couple more months’ life until I finally get around to leaving gmail for good.
Update: It seems Google reverted this update just a few days after doing it.