Lying in bed, not feeling well at all (took the afternoon off work), woke from my dozy slumber and decided to check my email using the iPhone, to see if any major disasters had happened without moving.

No problem – launched the Mail app and got it to connect. I think then a series of circumstances conspired:

  • wifi network is pretty weak in the bedroom
  • started reading some mail before all of it had downloaded
  • I left my email client at work running, which would have interrupted the phone’s IMAP session (the joys of uw-imap – moving to dovecot next weekend, but that’s another blog post)
  • clicked a link in an email, which launched Safari

With the result that, on opening Mail again (after looking at the link in Safari), I was faced with the UI for the Inbox screen, but no messages. Completely blank. And pressing the home button (or the on-screen buttons) did nothing. Eventually Mail just quit and the phone went back to the home screen.

OK, well, at least Mail knew it had crashed and returned to the home screen. Perhaps if I switch the thing off and on again… Nope. Switching the iPhone off isn’t like rebooting a Windows mobile device, all the apps seem to remain exactly where you left them, which is great unless they’ve screwed up.

By this time I’d wandered downstairs to get a better wifi signal. Still no joy, until about 10 minutes later when on the umpteenth launch Mail finally decided to log in, check my accounts, and carry on as if nothing had happened.

Now to be fair to the phone, that was an icky set of circumstances, but that’s no excuse for not giving me my Inbox. Just realise something’s up with checking mail and give up for a while, surely it’s not hard to do?

Also to be fair to the phone, there no decent IMAP implementations out there in phoneland. Why do none of them have the “purge deleted items” button? The closest the iPhone gets to that is apparently emptying my mail trash once a day at most. Why will they just hang or complain bitterly if another email client is accessing the IMAP box? Desktop IMAP (yes, you, Entourage, and Thunderbird to name but a few) is pretty appalling too.

So, I’ll count that as my first “crash”. Let’s hope it won’t repeat itself.