How to Setup Email on Your Android Smartphone

Young adults on their smartphones in a well lit room

Smartphones are one of the most ubiquitous devices in the developed world. Over 2 billion people own one, and the United States is one of the leaders of this, with seventy-seven percent owning a smartphone.

Android is the most common operating system used on smartphones, with 75 percent of the market using it. The operating system is basically the type of smartphone, and the two main competitors are Android (used by Samsung and most other smartphone manufacturers) and iOS (used by Apple for the iPhone). Both operating systems work well and perform similar tasks, so which one you use usually comes down to personal preference.

If you’ve just recently purchased an Android smartphone, you may be wondering where to start. If you’ve never used one before, it can be a bit intimidating trying to get it set up. With any phone, you have calling and text message capabilities already out of the box. But the next most important and common communication method is email, and that requires a little more work.

Email has been around since roughly 1971, and it’s one of the main reasons the Internet originally got popular. You’ve probably used it to stay in touch with family, friends or coworkers, and now you can carry it around in your pocket.

So just what does it take to get email set up on your Android smartphone?

Once you’ve got email set up, you can send and receive messages with text, pictures, file attachments and more, just like you could on a computer. And you’ll have it with you wherever you go. It’s really not as hard as you might think, and we’re going to walk you through step by step.

The example machines that we used for this article are a computer running Windows 10 and a Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus phone. If you’re on something different, the wording or the icon might look a little different, but the process will be identical for whatever Android smartphone and Windows computer you have—let’s get started!

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1) Open Email App

First you need to find your email app. On our example Samsung phone, the easiest way to do that is to look at all your apps by swiping up. You may need to swipe left and right on your phone to find the app, but it should not be hard to find.

Tap on that icon once and it will bring you to a menu of all the different accounts that you can use to set up your email. There are a few options here: corporate accounts, then a few different providers including Gmail, Yahoo, and AOL.

Different providers will have different details, but the process is still basically the same. Some of them have their own apps that you can use for email as well, with the most notable being Gmail.

If you want to use the Gmail app, the process is also simple but will be different, and we’re not concerned about it today. We’re using the regular email app.

2) Enter Your Details

For our example, we’re using Yahoo, which is a common email provider that you might have. We tap the Yahoo option and are taken to a login screen. Make sure you have your username and your password handy, as this is where you’re going to enter them. Phone keyboards can be a little finicky sometimes if you’re not used to them, so it pays to be careful when you enter in your username and password so you don’t have to enter them a second time.

If you don’t have an account, this is where you’d set one up. You can tap the “Sign Up” link and it will take you to another screen where you can create one. Most people have an email account, though, and for the purposes of this tutorial we’ll assume that you do as well.

Once you’ve entered your username, it will prompt you for your password. If you’ve forgotten your password, there’s another link you can tap that will take you to a screen where you can enter some information and recover it. Your phone will save your password for you so you don’t have to enter it every time you open your email, but you need to enter it once so it knows that you’re who you say you are. Then hit the “Sign In” button.

One thing you need to know: if you do decide to change your password at any point, your phone will ask you to enter the new password to access your email.

3) Agree

Your phone will want to ask you if you’re willing to grant permissions to this app to access your email. Just hit “Agree”. It’s a formality to make sure that you know what your apps are permitted to access. You’re basically giving the app on your phone a spare key to your email, and just like you would with your home in real life, you only give that to someone you trust.

4) Initial Setup

Your smartphone will now talk to your email provider, check settings, and begin the process of syncing your email account with your phone. It will then take you to your inbox, the main folder of your email.

It may take a minute for emails to actually show up as your phone downloads them, depending on the speed of your connection to the server. Your phone will usually keep the most recent emails on hand so you can access them offline, even if you’re out of service range. All the rest of your emails are accessible but not necessarily stored on the phone.

At this point your email will give you a big banner at the top of the screen that says you can change your account settings if you want to. If you want to mess with your settings, tap the “Settings” button, or if you just want to leave your email the way it is you can hit the “X” in the top right corner. The banner will disappear.

You can still access your settings through the main menu if you need to, as we’ll see in a minute. But now your email is fully set up and should be synced with your phone. You’re ready to go!

5) Basic Email Functionality

Once you’re at this point, you have the full functionality of your email account. You can send and receive messages, create folders, check your emails and see if any new ones have come in, and more.

If you want to check for messages, swipe down until you see an icon that looks like a revolving arrow, then release. Your email app will check to see if anything new has come in.

At the top right of the screen you can see the last time your email app checked for new messages.

If you want to send an email, there’s a small icon at the bottom right of the screen that looks like a notepad or sticky note with a pencil. Tap on that and you can open the screen where you can create an email to send to someone else.

On this screen you can fill in the email address you’re sending to, the subject, and the body of the message. There’s a default signature in there that you can delete if you want to. If you decide you don’t want to send the email, you can tap the “X” in the top left corner and the app will ask you if you want to delete it or save it as a draft to send later.

If you want to add another account, you can click the three little bars in the top left corner of the main screen. That will slide out a pane from the left side that has all your menus.

Aaron of HelpCloud Tech Tips explaining in a YouTube video how to setup your Android email step 9
HelpCloud Tech Tips

There’s a little gear in the top right of this pane that leads to your email settings. This is where you can adjust everything about how your email app works. You can click “add account” up at the top of the Settings menu and it will take you to the menu at the start so you can do the process all over again.

If you want to add more folders, you can tap “all folders” in the main menu to get to your folders. There’s a button at the bottom that will say “add folder”. You might have to scroll down to get to it, depending on how many folders you already have.

Setting up email on an Android smartphone may seem like an intimidating task, but it’s really not too bad. If you’re having trouble, though, feel free to reach out to HelpCloud for a hand. HelpCloud can connect directly to any Android smartphone and help you get things set up if you need it. That’s it. You’re done! Now you’re ready to go send and receive email messages from friends, family, coworkers, and more.

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Erik Fullmer

Director of Marketing

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Erik was raised in many places in a military family but has long since called Utah home. He spends free time in his garden, in the mountains with his dog, and skis…a lot. He is actively earning the necessary certifications and training to become a certified winter mountain guide.

Erik graduated from Utah Valley University in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in Behavioral Science and a minor in Spanish. Additionally, being raised by a German mother, he spent a part of his childhood and also the beginning of his professional career in Germany where he worked as a Digital Strategist for adesta, a locally owned business in Darmstadt. Speaking three languages has opened up the world to him and influences the breadth of topics covered in his articles. He has always held an affinity for the world wide web and its workings, development, history and future.

Being a key player in the development of, and Director of Marketing for HelpCloud, he takes the content displayed and utilized on HelpCloud extremely seriously.