Is Gmail Jittery When Scrolling on Your iPhone? Don’t Worry It’s Not Just You

The Gmail iOS app has been exhibiting very odd scrolling behavior over the past several months.
Gmail on iPhone Credit: Konstantin Savusia / Shutterstock
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If you’re a fan of Gmail, it’s understandable that you may prefer to use Google’s native Gmail app to access and read emails on your iPhone. Unfortunately for many folks, the experience of doing so has been less than optimal since iOS 15 came along last fall.

For reasons that aren’t entirely clear right now, the Gmail iOS app has been exhibiting very odd scrolling behavior over the past several months; swiping up or down to scroll through a long email message results in a jittery or flickering look that’s distracting at best. For some, it’s enough to induce motion sickness.

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I’ve experienced this problem myself over the past few months but never gave it much thought until recently. I primarily use Apple’s built-in Mail app with Fastmail for my primary email account; Gmail is used only for some secondary accounts for other organizations I work with.

However, on digging into it, I discovered that the problem is actually quite widespread, and even though Google has been made repeatedly aware of it, the company still doesn’t appear to have come up with a fix.

A thread on Google’s Gmail Support forum has accumulated over 100 posts of users complaining about this, dating back to September 2021. While it appears to have gained the most attention after iOS 15, some users also report experiencing it on older iOS versions.

I’m having this issue too. I have had to revert to Apple’s native Mail app to avoid the motion sickness. I’m also getting a flickering keyboard in Chrome – and am now using Safari. You would think that Apple is doing this to force migration to their apps haha.Aussie Andy, Gmail Support Forums

An initial theory suggested this could be related to the new, faster 120Hz ProMotion display on the iPhone 13 Pro models. However, it’s not limited to those newer iPhone models. I’ve been experiencing it on my iPhone 12 Pro Max, and others have reported the same problem on even older iPhones and on the iPad too.

While the problem is most prevalent in the Gmail app, some have reported seeing it in Chrome, Facebook, and even Apple’s own News app. However, they may be describing slightly different behavior. There’s a difference between scrolling that merely lags and the more jittery experience that plagues the Gmail app.

According to Google forums user Somnath, who is listed as a Diamond Product Expert, the issue was escalated to the Gmail team on October 28, 2021. Somnath reported that the Gmail team confirmed “around Feb 25, 2022, that the issue has been fixed,” however that doesn’t appear to have been the case, and Gmail users have been getting frustrated enough to abandon the app entirely.

I have the same “jittery” issue, but there is now a second issue: It has been almost 4 months since this defect was first identified in this thread, and Google has failed to respond substantively (telling us they are looking into it is not helpful at this point). Bottom line, this is a sucky customer experience and I will not be using Gmail or Chrome any longer.JonPF, Gmail Support Forums

Others have been led in the opposite direction, ditching their iPhones in favor of an Android smartphone, where this problem doesn’t exist.

I think it is Google’s intention to bring you to Android. It worked for me! Pixel for the win.Aussie Andy, Gmail Support Forums

Naturally, the alternate conspiracy theory is that this is Apple’s doing to force users to switch to the native Mail app.

Really don’t understand how it’s possible that we are struggling with such trivial issues…Maybes it’s a real apple’s restriction to force switching to native app?PeWoo, Gmail Support Forums

Of course, it’s worth mentioning that Apple’s Mail app isn’t the only one not having this problem. There are dozens of other e-mail apps on the App Store like Spark and Outlook that don’t have this problem, and some of them even offer push notifications for Gmail accounts.

What Can You Do About This?

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to fix the problem yourself; this is something that Google’s software engineers will need to figure out.

However, you can mitigate the issue by altering your behavior slightly. The jitteriness seems to be caused by the inertial or momentum scrolling on the iPhone. This feature makes scrolling continue naturally after you swipe up or down and release your finger.

For whatever reason, if you keep your finger on the screen while scrolling through a message in Gmail, the jitter disappears.

Even if you scroll at the same speed, releasing your finger causes something different to happen, resulting in the more jarring experience of losing the smooth scrolling that we’ve all become accustomed to everywhere else on the iPhone.

This is little more than a workaround, though, and Google ultimately needs to fix this problem. If you’re running into this, you can send feedback directly within the Gmail app and add the tag #GmailiOSJitteryScreen to ensure it gets to the right team.

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