Are there any new email apps out there? (Early 2022 edition)

Just checking in with the MPU community… has anything new and noteworthy in email apps happened recently?

(In case you didn’t know, I am constantly in search of the mythical app that will solve my email woes on all platforms. The mythical app is basically Mail, but with, like, a Share Sheet. In lieu of that I am constantly trying other options. I have been using Airmail for the past year or more, but it is not super polished.

I don’t know why I torture myself looking for a better email app. I don’t even get that much mail… but I hate interacting with what I do get.)

macOS and iOS

Last year we gained, and lost, Tempo. …It was only for Gmail anyway.

Mailtemi is an interesting but seemingly boring new entrant. Outside of being the first app I’ve seen that supports JMAP (e.g., Fastmail), it doesn’t seem to do anything particularly special.

Big Mail was a much-hyped thing that did not seem to stick the landing. Last update on the app store was four months ago.

Shortwave is a new Google Inbox-inspired app… that only works with Gmail. Discussed earlier on this forum: Shortwave: Ex Google Employees make a new Gmail Client

Less recently, Hey happened. Hey’s app is neat and offers some fun features, but requires using Hey’s email service.

Mailpilot (previously discussed e.g., here and here) announced MailPilot 5 sometime in the past year (edit: year or so) but I don’t think there’s been any updates since. The developer, Alexander Obenauer, is still doing stuff, so maybe someone here has tried it! It looks slick, and it promises to be cross-platform.

Otherwise, it seems all the same contenders continue to be not-bad. Airmail continues to be the only option that can do anything with Shortcuts. A new version of Spark is supposedly in the works. Superhuman still costs extraordinary amounts of money and only works with Gmail accounts. Fastmail has a mobile app—it works like the Fastmail browser experience, and only works with Fastmail. Newton, Edison, and Polymail all seem to be staying the course—as in, I haven’t heard of them doing anything particularly novel or special in many months.

Is that it? Have I missed anything interesting?

Oh, right. Mail still exists.

Edit: the first few replies reminded me that normal, healthy people do email on the Mac. The above overview focuses only on apps that are cross-platform, or at least can be used on iOS while having some option (web or native app) on macOS. There are, however, some celebrated mail clients that work only on the Mac.

Mac only

MailMate is celebrated. It offers a lot of “power user” features and Mac-nativeness. It’s often discussed around here—e.g., MailMate Rules for Action Required Emails.

Yet-another-Gmail-only-client Mimestream is a “Mac-native client for Gmail.” By all accounts, it’s real sleek, and has a rich roadmap with lots of possible features in the future.

Postbox is a lovely experience built upon Thunderbird. It is powerful, with a few unique features (such as Topics), and has a very customizable aesthetic.

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Have you tried MailMate

Apparently Mutt is still alive… :wink:

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@sangadi Sorry, I should have disclaimed that I’m focused on cross-platform apps here! I’ll add something about Mac-only options to the list though.

@rob “All mail clients suck. This one just sucks less.” is priceless. The dev understands, at least.

Forgot one:

Mailpilot (previously discussed e.g., here and here) announced MailPilot 5 sometime in the past year (edit: year or so) but I don’t think there’s been any updates since. The developer, Alexander Obenauer, is still doing stuff, so maybe someone here has tried it! It looks slick, and it promises to be cross-platform.

Edit: added Mail Pilot 5 to the original post.

As someone who managed email servers for 20+ years, IMO the solution to your email woes is a replacement for email. It was never meant to handle what we ask of it today.

In the meantime, I suggest you may have better luck searching for a server side solution. I have 12 rules that reduce my email workload to selecting Archive, Delete, or add to Tasks for each message. That’s a swipe left, swipe right, or tap, tap on my iPP.

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As does mail :slight_smile:

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Sweet!
Postbox works with all the OAuth2 shenanigans.
Kicking the tires now

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thanks to @ryanjamurphy , I am glad that someone post this, email apps is one category that I am constantly searching for better apps. A great summary of the current landscape but sadly do not see any good new entrance to the market.

everytime I tried to use it, I found that it is so slow, may be I have a lot of emails from Google accounts and other accounts to sync up. It may be powerful but I never get to a stage to actually use it as the main email app. I emailed the developer two years ago but he did not do much to help and never heard back

One additional ‘issue’ I have that others may not have , but this is not the key deciding factor for choosing email client. I have turned on advance protection to my main Google account. It is very safe and secured but the only mail client it sanctioned is the Apple Mail (not even Outlook from memory can be used). Again, this is not a big issue for me, as I only use the Google email for correspondence with government agencies, financial institutions , etc. so I do not mind using Apple Mail or the browse to check my email. The rest, I have diverted to my Fastmail account.

For now, I consider Spark is the best app for now

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Postbox is also good if you need to run it on Windows. Sadly, not mobile app

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Maybe you need to take a step back look at how you use email and see if you can approach it differently. Then you might find a client that works with the new focus.

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I settled on doing the majority of mail work on the Mac, with Mailmate, on mobile I just stick with the native mail app as its so heavily integrated into the OS and its fine for simple acknowledgment
type replies. I did try Preside for a while on iOS which is basically Mailmate for iOS. Insanely powerful but not very good looking (much like Mailmate)

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Postbox look interesting! But after installing a Trial it’s not optimized for Apple Silicon, so I’m not going to invest in that at this moment.

I would love to try MailMate, but I use multiple e-mailaccounts which run in Office365, when I tried those in the past authentication seemed to be a problem.

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I haven’t been able to get MailMate work with Office 365 and Exchange accounts.

I had issues as well with timeouts or other issues that made MailMate impractical with Office 365.

I feel the pain. I’ve been looking for something since Dropbox shut mailbox. I’m now using outlook since my university switched to office365 in December.

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More serious answer (than the previous “Mutt”):

ProtonMail has new Apps in beta.

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Just know you are not alone. :slight_smile: The search continues. I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for TBH but I keep on searching for it. I guess I’m looking for quick, clean, intuitive, easy to set up and customize.

I think I have at least 5+ email apps on each of my Mac and iPhone and rotate between them all depending on my mood.

Cross platform, I’ve settled on Spark for now however the simple interface of Edison draws me back as does Airmail and its litany of customizations. And don’t forget the iOS Outlook app, which while it has to deal with the baggage of being a Microsoft app (and the baggage of the MacOS/desktop version), is pretty solid.

As for Apple Mail, if I could get past my dislike for the iOS version of the app, I’d probably just use that everywhere and call it a day. There are some obvious enhancements the app needs across the board and here’s hoping they give it some love this year.

On MacOS only, I’ve recently been testing out Mimestream and it is quick, sleek and easy to use.

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I feel this pain, too.

I’ve decided to stick with Mail. This comes with the trade off of not really using my phone for email, but that’s not much of a trade off tbh because I don’t have the kind of relationship to email that needs quick responses like that. Also, I never go anywhere much these days anyway.

I moved over to iCloud w/a custom domain and I feel that Mail is trustworthy and beautiful and while I wish it was more intuitive for the power user, I value the privacy features more than those efficiencies.

I pair Mail with Sanebox and have some Smart Folders that mimic my favorite features of Hey. I use the blackhole liberally, in fact I do that instead of unsubscribe 90% of the time. I also use the unread filter to avoid having to process my sanelater and sanenews items.

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A few replies (and past discussions) have mentioned some very valid points that are worth resurfacing:

  • Email itself is broken; as a protocol/format, it was not designed with modern day uses in mind; and
  • My own approach to email is probably flawed, and I should fall in love with the annoying knocking sound1 and get on with it

I don’t disagree with these ideas. However, I submit to the floor that some recent apps have shown that there’s a lot more that can be done with email clients. A brief overview of some of the exciting things I’ve seen recently:

Airmail’s automation hooks

Airmail offers amazing customizability. On iOS especially, it is trivial to set up a swipe action that does any number of things with the swiped message/conversation, including using URL schemes to share data from them to e.g., Shortcuts. I use this to quickly add contacts to contact groups. I use server-side rules to then filter messages from those groups into particular inboxes.

Postbox’s Topics

Somehow Postbox’s implementation of Topics is the most elegant “tags” design I’ve seen in email. It is very clean, navigable, and easy to use.

Postbox’s composition goals

Postbox offers a simple time tracker for each message you compose. This is a neat way to try to get you to get into and out of email faster.

Screen Shot 2022-03-04 at 11.57.49 AM

Hey’s Focus and Reply

I would love to have Hey’s Focus and Reply UX on other clients. It creates a clean, minimalist way of replying to a bunch of conversations in sequence.

Tempo’s Focus Mode

Very similar to Hey’s Focus and Reply, Tempo offered a Focus Mode that let you batch-process messages one at a time.

A snapshot of Tempo's Focus Mode.
Image credit: TechCrunch

Hey’s Screener

The Screener was arguably the most popular feature from Hey. It makes sure that the messages that are most emphasized are part of real conversations that deserve your attention.

I have created a Screener-like UX with Airmail custom actions and Fastmail rules. It works, but Airmail’s kludgy nature makes it a little awkward.


Surely there are other email innovations that I haven’t captured above.

I guess it’s easy to complain about email. Really, there are some interesting things happening.

The trouble is that each client comes with brutal trade-offs. Airmail’s powerful, but untrustworthy (from a glitchy perspective, not a data/privacy one, IMO). A bunch of great clients are macOS-only. A bunch of great clients only work with certain services. And so on. From my perspective, “all I want” should be easy, but what we’re getting is a variety of exciting options that are incompatible with one another.

Damned competition. Maybe we should socialize email apps?

Alas, this thread was a good reminder of something: when I last reviewed my approach to email, I had a Mac Mini. My away-from-desk option was an iPad Pro. At the time, I tried a “let’s only use a Mac for email” philosophy, but was quickly limited by my Mac mini’s annoying lack of portability.

I haven’t revisited that idea since. Yet, now I have a laptop again. I may try uninstalling most email options from my iPad/iPhone and sticking to the Mac (and probably Postbox) once again…

^1:

(Dang. Can’t embed Apple Music iFrames. For shame.)

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