What is Email Sync?

Email sync or synchronization is the process of keeping email messages and related email data consistent across multiple devices or email clients. When email sync, is embedded an application can pull information from multiple email providers into a single, convenient location. If you make changes within the application, those changes will reflect back with the email service provider.

An email sync API is the solution that would allow users to access and sync their emails, threads, messages, and events within a single platform, even if they are siloed across various email accounts and email providers.

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Email has become a critical communication tool for businesses of all sizes. Most people have multiple email addresses — at least one for work and one for personal use. However, managing multiple email accounts across different devices and platforms can be daunting and lead to missed messages, lost productivity, and decreased efficiency. 

With email sync, businesses and developers give users a solution to tackle this problem easily. Email sync enables users to synchronize their email accounts across different devices and platforms, ensuring that each user can access all their emails, contacts, and calendars in one place. 

Let’s explore the importance of email sync for businesses and developers, how it works, and its benefits for improved communication, productivity, and efficiency.

When do you need email sync? 

An application’s users — typically employees and customers — have hugely divergent email preferences. Users should receive a consistent experience when using your application despite their different needs. That’s why email sync is critical when you have or want a platform that provides in-app email capabilities. However, from a developer’s perspective, email sync can be difficult to integrate on your own, which is why many opt to use an email sync API. 

Here are the most common ways adding email sync capabilities with an email API can make your solution more useful for end users. 

Integration with communications service providers

An email sync API can integrate email clients with other software applications. For example, a CRM system can use the API to easily share critical email, contact, and calendar information between the two systems, ensuring that all customer interactions are tracked and recorded.

Mobile device synchronization

The most common way users view their emails is through their mobile device. An email sync API can synchronize emails, contacts, and calendars between users’ mobile devices,desktop email clients, and their service providers. This ensures that users can access all their emails and contacts, regardless of their device.

Email backup and recovery

An email sync API can automatically back up emails, contacts, and calendars to a cloud-based storage system, ensuring users can recover their emails and contacts in case of data loss or system failure. Additionally, enterprises can use it to ensure compliance with data retention policies and regulations.

Why email sync is important for your business application

1. Accessing customer information across different channels and providers

One of the biggest customer pain points is accessing customer information across multiple email providers. Users must manage extensive mailing lists, contact information, and communication preferences. 

An effective API can help businesses consolidate this information without the need for excessive and disruptive periods of development and integration with each email provider. 

2. Ensuring compliance with increasingly rigorous security regulations

Providers’ security requirements are becoming increasingly stringent, creating additional overhead for businesses. This includes the need for verifications and certifications, which can be time-consuming and costly. Failure to meet these requirements can result in significant penalties and damage a business’s reputation. 

Email sync allows your security protocols to be applied consistently across different providers. Despite Google requiring a unique authentication method compared to other email providers, users can simplify how they access their most sensitive data. 

The best email APIs don’t store sensitive user data, minimizing your attack surface and giving you full control to ensure your platform’s data security. 

3. Maintaining consistent functionality during API changes from email providers

Providers updating their API can introduce changes that can impact the functionality and leave businesses scrambling for a fix. This can cause significant disruptions to their operations, as they may be unable to access critical data or functionality. 

Email sync allows users to have a consistent experience regardless of any changes individual email providers impose on developers and users. With such a feature, developers need not spend months reintegrating or adjusting workarounds to keep their applications working. 

Benefits of email syncing

Email syncing can deliver significant benefits for businesses. Appropriate use of the function can help businesses collaborate more effectively, be more productive, save money, and provide other benefits as well. 

1. Improved productivity

Email syncing enables users to access their emails, contacts, and calendars from any device, making it easier to stay connected and productive. The ability to quickly respond to emails, schedule appointments, and manage tasks more efficiently helps users be more productive when they use your application. 

2. Enhanced collaboration

Email is often used as a social collaboration tool to enhance business processes. Email syncing allows this to be done more effectively. Team members can share their availability by synchronizing their calendars, making scheduling meetings and coordinating projects easier. Additionally, email syncing can help to ensure that all team members have access to the same information, reducing the risk of miscommunication and errors.

3. Increased security

Email syncing can improve business email security by ensuring messages are backed up and stored securely. This can help users avoid data loss and give them consistent access to their most important communications. 

4. Simplified email management

The average email user receives 121 business emails a day. Email syncing allows users to manage their emails more efficiently by consolidating all their messages, contacts, and calendars in one place. As a result, users no longer need to individually manage different email clients and devices and stay organized.

5. Cost savings

Email syncing can help businesses save money by reducing the burden placed on development teams. Complicated integration processes and the need for custom code can force businesses to hire more or place more responsibility on already stretched IT teams. By using a cloud-based email syncing service, businesses can avoid needing on-premises servers and other costly infrastructure, reducing their IT costs.

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Email sync features

While businesses know the importance of email synchronization, they can be uncertain about navigating an increasingly saturated solutions marketplace. Numerous API providers compete for business, and business leaders must make a final purchase decision based on the features a provider can offer. Here are the top three features you should consider when choosing an email sync provider:

  • Bi-directional sync: Accessing customer information in silos across multiple providers and email accounts is critical for optimizing business processes for maximum efficiency. For example, bi-directional sync allows users to sync data from their Outlook account and Google Calendar without additional configuration or workarounds. 
  • Dynamic label/folder management: Power users can receive thousands of emails daily, making labels and tags crucial to managing their inboxes. If a user adds the Trash or Spam label, the email sync feature removes the Inbox label automatically. 
  • Historical data sync: When an end user connects to your application, the API should be able to sync emails, threads, contacts, and events so that they can interact with it right away. You should always configure your API to sync a custom period of data according to your users’ needs. 

How to enable email sync in your app?

Email synchronization can help businesses collaborate better, improve communication, save costs, and optimize processes. For developers, adding and maintaining this feature in their applications has never been more important — and it has also never been easier. Here are the four steps to enable email sync in your solution. 

Step 1: Find an email API service provider 

Many email API service providers are available for business leaders to choose from. Some of these services are free; others are paid. Always evaluate the features and assess how reliable a provider is when you choose the best email API for your organization. 

Step 2: Sign up and get an email API with email sync functionality

Once you have chosen an email API service provider, ensure that you sign up for the service and activate the email sync function. You can use free demos and trials to ensure you are comfortable using the API before committing to a full purchase or subscription. 

Step 3: Set up the email sync in your app or webpage 

When you’ve chosen your preferred email API service provider, it’s time to set up email sync in your application or webpage. You can either use your provider’s support team or look at published documentation on how to make the most of email syncing

Step 4: Test

Test your application’s or webpage’s functionality when ready to ensure email sync works as intended. Conduct regular checks to prevent issues from going unnoticed or worsening over time. 

Ship faster with the Nylas Email API 

The Nylas Email API allows you to deliver enterprise-grade security for every customer regardless of business size or budget. The reliability of the API has allowed us to achieve 99.6% deliverability and empowers you to build solutions that simplify email management for your most important customers. 

If you’ve ever tried to build anything that works with email, you’ll find that it’s a problem full of twisty corners. We’ve built a platform that layers a sync engine over 30 years of email history and allows developers to read and write to mailboxes and calendars using a modern REST API. This is a demanding technical challenge and wasn’t easy to build.

Christine Spang

Co-Founder and CTO, Nylas

Frequently asked questions

How can I choose the best email API for my unique business needs?

Choosing the best email API for your business requires careful consideration of features, pricing, and support options. Evaluating each API based on your specific needs and budget is important. Factors to consider include email volume, deliverability rates, ease of integration, available support resources, and security features. 

What do I do if I need help setting up or maintaining my email service?

If you need any help or assistance with setting up or troubleshooting email sync, you can visit the Nylas Docs page. If you can’t find the information you need or have a specific question, you can request additional support.

What permissions can users grant when they choose to use email sync?

Email sync allows users to grant permission for the sync tool to access their email account data, including email messages, folders/labels, and contacts. Our tool may also require users to grant permission for the tool to act on their email accounts, such as sending emails or managing subscriptions.

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Additional Resources

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10+ best email APIs in 2023 for developers [free & paid]
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