Looking for help: iPhone and push email

Rob Mueller – 11 July 2007

One of the great things about the original reports of the iPhone is that it was supposed to support push email. Even better was when they said that it would support push via Yahoo using IMAP. People assumed this would be done via the IMAP IDLE extension, so any IMAP server supporting IDLE would allow push email. Since our IMAP server supports IDLE, we thought that this would work great with FastMail.

Since the iPhone has been released however, there been some confusion. Users trying the iPhone with a standard IMAP server with IDLE support haven't been getting the instant notifications unless the Mail application is actually running and active on the screen. There's been some reports that they're actually using P-IMAP, a bunch of extensions to IMAP designed to help mobile phones.

To try and work out what's actually going on, we're trying to get our hands on an actual TCP level protocol dump to compare a standard IMAP connection with a Yahoo IMAP connection. To do this, we need the help of someone who:

  1. Has an iPhone
  2. Has both a FastMail and paid Yahoo Mail account
  3. Has access to a linux based WiFi router (e.g. Linksys WRT54G) that they can run tcpdump on to get a packet dump from

If you've got the above, a reasonable technical knowledge of linux, and some time to help out, please contact me at robm@fastmail.fm