Tech tips: Syncing old email folders |

Tech tips: Syncing old email folders

I neatly organize my emails into folders and subfolders. This works fine on my desktop computer and in the Web browser interface, but when I check my email on my phone or tablet, I don't see all my emails. Why aren't they synchronizing?

This is a common problem, but it's not one for which we can recommend a guaranteed solution — there are tons of reasons why email doesn't work on devices so you'll need to do some digging. Obviously, your basic email settings are correct, or you wouldn't be getting any email at all. Each email provider supports many options in addition to the basic settings, however, so you may need to dig into the email options available on your device.

First of all, consider the "window" for which the device retrieves email. The default for your device may be small, like three days. If you have stored email older than that, it won't be copied to the phone or tablet unless you change the setting that controls the email retention.

You'll also find that some phones (such as the iPhone) and some email providers (like Apple) provide support for pushing email directly to the phone, rather than requiring you or the phone to fetch the mail. Using the Push option consumes more bandwidth and battery power than the Fetch option, but it does pre-load email onto the phone as soon as it arrives at the email server. Using the Fetch option allows you to fetch email on demand or at regular intervals. This saves both bandwidth and battery life and also allows you to (perhaps) feel less tethered to work by retrieving email less often. You may be able to control these settings on a folder-by-folder basis, as well. Check these options to ensure you know how and when email should be synchronized with your device.

Finally, if you do modify settings that cause your device to suddenly pick up a large block of email content, you should consider doing this when you're connected to a Wi-Fi network. Retrieving lots of email over the cellular network could easily chew through your monthly allotment of data.

Remember Your Parking Spot

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I know it's silly, but I have a problem remembering where I parked my car. Often, in any large venue, sometimes even at the grocery store. I'm carrying a computer more powerful than the computer we took to get people to the moon. Surely it can remember where I parked my car for me. Any suggestions?

We laughed when we got this question, as the HBO TV series "Silicon Valley" (recommended watching for the geeky folks) ran a joke about a loser who was so proud of his app that (you got it) remembered where you parked. That's all it did. None of the other software developers on the show gave him much notice, but the fact is that people do forget where they have parked (Ken constantly loses his car).

Luckily, there are a bunch of mobile applications that can help you (or Ken) solve his lost car problem. As a matter of fact, we ran across a comparative review of such apps just recently, and the winner, at least for the iPhone, was an app named iParked ( The online reviews are decidedly mixed, so you'll need to check it out yourself. There are several other similar apps available, as well. Ken's suggestion (although he tends to forget to follow it) is to simply turn around, as you leave your car, and look at the surroundings. Find a landmark — not "it's parked next to the black Explorer," that won't help — and use that as a guide to find the vehicle later. Or take a picture. Or write it down. Or, if you must, check out one of the many apps that purport to help you find your lost car.

By the way, we've written previously about the excellent hardware/software combination for your car called Automatic, which makes the whole process easier. Because the hardware is always in contact with your phone, and your phone has a GPS in it, the Automatic app always knows where you car is. Although this solution is a lot more expensive than a simple software-only app, it's also a lot more reliable. Any software-only solution to the problem will require you to start the app, store information about your parking spot and then go on about your business so you can retrieve the information later. That's to hard for most folks.

Doug Behl and Ken Getz spent years answering technical questions in private, and are minimizing the questions by pre-emptively publishing the answers. Hear Doug and Ken's tech tips on KNCO radio weekdays at around 8:21a.m. and 5:38 p.m.; find full write-ups including links to the products they mention at Submit your own technical questions to

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