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Old 1 Oct 2023, 04:08 AM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2012
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Creating a new setup (hardware and software) for the fastest Fastmail experience

Can anyone offer advice on how to automatically receive mail as quickly as possible? I am wondering if Fastmail restricts how often a device can check for mail. I have used webmail exclusively, but I need to create a new setup that automatically and immediately brings new mail to my attention.

I am starting from scratch and am open to any ideas. Again, speed is of the essence. I have considered setting up Geary on a new Linux desktop, hopefully with an audio alert. Or would Windows be better? I could also obtain an iPad (with either the dedicated Fastmail app or Apple's system app) or a Fire tablet. Any ideas are appreciated.
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Old 1 Oct 2023, 09:40 AM   #2
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I donít know what you consider ďquickĒ.In my experience, delays in receiving email at Fastmail are mostly due to delays at a non-Fastmail sending server. In previous tests I have performed, Yahoo was very slow and inconsistent in sending email.

Fastmail uses JMAP technology to push new messages to mobile apps and for webmail.This is an improvement on the older IMAP email client system, which is still supported and provides push notifications. See:

I just performed a test by sending a short test message from one Fastmail account to another. From touching the Send button to receiving a visual and audio indication that the message was received on another device the delay is rather consistent at 4 to 5 seconds. Here was my setup:
  • Sending: Fastmail iPadOS app OR Fastmail web interface using DuckDuckGo browser on an IPad with an AT&T cellular connection using my Fastmail account #1.
  • Receiving: Fastmail iOS app on an IPhone 14 Pro Max with a Verizon cellular connection using my Fastmail account #2.
If you test this, note that the Fastmail app (and Fastmail web interface) has a default Undo Send feature which causes a 15 second delay when sending message. You can disable this feature, which I did for the test. See:

I believe you will experience similar speeds on a PC, which I may test later today. When examining the received raw message headers, the delays are typically about 3 seconds between the Sent time and the final received header time. The header timestamps have a 1 second resolution, and I typically see a range of 2 to 4 seconds, so 3 seconds is a reasonable guess of the actual times Iím getting. I think there is probably another 2 seconds caused by the Fastmail app or web interface at each end, combined with the IPadOS / iOS operating system and the cellular delays by my two providers (AT&T and Verizon) and the connection between those two providers.

Of course, if you send from another email provider or have a slow internet connection and device or slow email client, the delays could be much longer. I just ran some tests using the iPadOS Gmail app and the total delay was around 12-13 seconds, with about 10 seconds due to delays between the Send time and the message being received at the first Gmail server. But when I used the Gmail web interface with a Chrome browser on the IPad, I saw about 5 seconds total system delay.

So I recommend using an iPhone or iPad with the Fastmail app for speed. The main things slowing you down will be other apps running on the device which are resource intensive and your internet connection latency and transfer rate. And as I described above you canít do anything about the sending email system, which is where the vast majority of the delays are probably going to occur. Get the senders to use Fastmail and things will probably be significantly faster than if they are using most other email sending systems.

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Old 2 Oct 2023, 03:30 AM   #3
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This is a lot of very helpful information.
Originally Posted by n5bb View Post
So I recommend using an iPhone or iPad with the Fastmail app for speed.
On an iPad, do you believe there is any reason to be concerned about the Fastmail app (or the device) going to sleep, which would cause it to cease providing audio alerts for new mail in real time? I am assuming, of course, the iPad's battery is reasonably well charged.
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