When people join an organization that uses Google Workspace, the IT team typically helps people get set up and ready to use the various Workspace apps. On desktop systems, that typically involves installing a couple of apps and configuring a few settings (see 5 steps to help your users get started with Google Workspace).
The Google Workspace setup process varies significantly on smartphones. On company-owned devices, you might choose to install every available Google Workspace Android or iOS mobile app. By my count, that would easily mean more than 10 apps to install.
As your IT team members help people new to Workspace get started on a smartphone, I recommend you install and focus attention on the following three core Workspace mobile apps: Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive. With these apps, people may manage communication, coordinate calendars and access Drive files from a phone. (And as people sign in and get set up, you might explain how to configure notifications and conduct searches within all three of these apps.)
SEE: Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365: A side-by-side analysis (TechRepublic Premium)
How to install and sign in to the Gmail app
First, download the Gmail app to your device. Tap the app to open it, then follow the prompts to sign in with your Google Workspace account. The app often highlights new features the first time you open it.
The Gmail app actually handles three tasks: email, chat and conferencing. As within Gmail on the web, Gmail on mobile bundles access to Google Chat (messaging) and Google Meet (conferencing, as shown in Figure A, left). No longer do you need to install three different apps for these features. Instead, install Gmail and enable access to Chat and Meet within the settings (as shown in Figure A, right). Modern Gmail is one app with three messaging methods.
How to install and sign in to the Google Calendar app
Next, install the Google Calendar app and sign in to it with your Google Workspace account. On mobile, Google Calendar syncs and allows you access to the same set of calendars you have available in Google Calendar on the web, such as calendars shared by colleagues (Figure B, right), as well as any third-party calendars you’ve added. Within the Google Calendar app you may add events, tasks and reminders and configure Out Of Office settings and notifications (Figure B, left).
How to install and sign in to the Google Drive app
Now, install the Google Drive app and sign in to it with your Google Workspace account. The Drive app provides access to the organizational files — those on My Drive as well as any Shared Drives you may access. You can search and sort files (Figure C, left), as well as customize notifications (Figure C, right). Additionally, having the Google Drive app installed makes it easy to upload photos and files from your phone to Google Drive.
If you plan to create or edit files from your phone, you also might install the Google Docs, Sheets or Slides mobile apps, too. However, this is entirely optional. When helping people get set up with Google Workspace on their first day, I tend to mention these apps, but not install them. The Drive app allows people to preview and comment on Docs, Sheets and Slides files and will prompt people to install the appropriate app when people attempt to create or edit a document, spreadsheet or presentation.
SEE: How to become a Google Docs power user (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
What other Workspace mobile apps do you deploy on day one?
There are many apps beyond Gmail, Calendar and Drive (and Docs, Sheets and Slides) available for people who use Workspace on a smartphone. Install the Chrome browser to access synced history and settings. Or consider Cloud Search to search broadly across your Workspace data, Currents for workplace discussions, Jamboard to draw collaboratively, Google Keep for notes or Google Tasks to manage items to be done. Not to mention Google Voice, which may handle your organization’s telephony needs.
What apps do you install when you help a person new to your team set up Google Workspace on a phone? Do you configure the core three apps covered above? Are there additional apps you consider essential? Or do you take an entirely different approach to helping people get started with Workspace on a smartphone? Let me know what you recommend, either in the comments below or on Twitter (@awolber).
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