Giving Airmail a second chance

One thing I like about Spark on iOS is that I can customize notifications to show only the sender and subject, and that the notifications have an in-notification quick reply feature like other standard messaging apps. Neither Mail or Outlook do those things. Does Airmail? (Om iOS, I mean.)

I don’t know about customising the notification content, but you can sure select whatever actions you want.

Have a play with the custom actions sometime! They’re really useful for me.

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Do you work for Airmail @RosemaryOrchard? I see your avatar in the Airmail live-support chat room.

I’ve done a few reviews of their support articles for them to let them know what to fix over the years, but I don’t work for them :slight_smile:


A bit strange that your avatar is than still showing up in their live chat. Could you please disclose if your work for them is a paid gig? Just to put things into perspective.

In The Netherlands (where I’m from) we once had a quite famous commercial: And that’s why we from Toilet Duck recommend… Toilet Duck."

It was, but it was also several years ago. I’m not sure why I’m still in their system! I was a loyal user before that and still use the app today.

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Like others I bought Airmail when it came out. Like others I was quite upset with their pricing structure change. It was more about the lack of respect for users than it was the actual money, so I tried out a bunch of alternatives before settling on Spark for a while. As I changed my mail setups I learnt that I can’t actually change the server details in Spark in any other way than to delete the account and set it up again. If one of those accounts is your master account: too bad for you, oops, sorry, but no…

So I decided to try out Airmail again. Paid for it, again, and all was kind of well…until I noticed on my iOS devices, a “delete mail” actually didn’t delete the mail. Guess it was some sync issues, but having say 10 mails in your inbox and you wish to delete 9 of them could turn in to many minutes of repeatedly delete the mails, only for them to pop up at the bottom of the list again. Drove me mad. I tried Outlook too, but somehow it drove me mad to have an piece of software/app that big, but it couldn’t actually sync my iCal calendars, so half the app (the calendar parts) was unusable, which felt like a waste.

Now I’m back at Apple Mail with Smallcubed Mailsuite whilst looking at my alternatives. The benefit is obviously rather tight integration with macOS and iOS. The drawbacks is that there is quite a lot of functionality missing.

Also, the UX of the iOS Mail app drives me up the wall. I have 1 Gmail account and 8 different IMAP accounts. However, I can’t set the swipe actions on iOS Mail to be consistently “delete” or “archive” (my two most used swipes in other apps, for example Airmail/Spark or Outlook on my work phone). It is different for each of the accounts in Mail! I have to slide ever so slightly in one direction to see if the mail, which I can’t tag per automation on iOS Mail, to see if that mail is on an account with delete on right-swipe or left-swipe.

No user if I’ve misunderstood, but I have a similar setup (Gmail plus various IMAP accounts) and I’m able to have them all consistently left-swipe to Archive as the right-most option. It required going into the Advanced options for each account in Passwords and Accounts to set it up.

Hope that helps, but if it’s missed the point, apologies

Ah, thanks, I shall check it out, and see if I too can get it work consistently. I don’t mind if it is “on the right” or “on the left” as long as it is consistent. :slight_smile:

Still rather annoying that I am not trusted to set this myself easily (just like I can in other mail apps…which then have other downfalls like “weird sync” or “doesn’t actually delete at all”, which are worse to me).

Life, it seems to me, is often a choice of “least worst” :grinning:

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SmallCubed Twitter has been dormant for 172 days. I wonder if they’ve even launched it in Xcode within the last 30 days. That’s being said Apple hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire with their mail client and extensibility.

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I’ve used the free version of ProtonMail; it works fine, but I found it to be restrictive because I normally use S/MIME for secure email rather than PGP (ProtonMail is a PGP implementation).

Airmail allows S/MIME configuration on Mac and iOS. Apple Mail does as well. When I tried Spark, it did not support S/MIME.

I am currently using Airmail. Time will tell if I stick with that or revert back to Apple Mail when my 6-month “loyalty” phase passes with Airmail.


Anyone considering trying Airmail should be warned: it has (for me at least) one showstopper downside - as I found to my cost. It has no means of exporting the messages it holds, so once you’ve started using it you can never get rid of it unless you are happy to lose al the messages you received whilst using it And so far as I can tell, this is no mere oversight. It seems to go to great pains to hide the content of the message base, or the files holding it - I have seen quite a long time searching my file system for text from emails held by Airmail, with absolutely no success. There seems to be no automated way to extract your messages! This looks suspiciously like a deliberate attempt to tie users in. For that reason alone, and however great Airmail was (and, frankly, I wasn’t that impressed, even though it does have some nice features) I would never use Airmail again.

Surely if you’re using IMAP this is a non-issue?


I second @rosemaryorchard - I use IMAP and have dived in and out of Airmail at complete will without any consequences whatsoever. I could get out tomorrow with all my messages intact and use any other app - I could even use any other app in parallel of it.

I have found the same. I use Airmail on iOS and Apple Mail on the Mac. All my accounts use IMAP. If I send a message on my iPhone it goes into the sent mail folder for that account. If I open Apple Mail on the Mac and go to the sent item folder the same message will be there.

Have you checked the folder mapping settings for your mail account within Airmail? Double check it is saving messages to the correct folder on the mail server.

Here is an example for a Google Apps account in Airmail

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The amount of mail I get very rapidly fills up my IMAP space, so I am obliged to transfer messages to local mailboxes. If it works for you, fine - but I wouldn’t knowingly do business with any company that attempts to lock its customers in - and so carefully hides their own data from them - the way Airmail does.

This is unwarranted criticism of the app – to say they “attempt to lock customers in” – when you can readily move messages, within the app, to the standard IMAP protocol from where you can do whatever you please with them. If your use case is not adapted to what Airmail provides, that’s totally cool, and I am the first to say that the devs have many faults to atone for, but locking customers in certainly isn’t one of them.


Gave up on airmail a good while ago, currently using Mailmate on the macs and just plain old apple mail on iOS. I leave Mailmate open on my MacMini and have rules which process mail as it comes in so I really do not miss too many whizzy iOS features most of which I can do without anyway.

Oh just wanted to mention Mailmate is the only (I think) third party email that integrates with Spotlight , if set up in a certain way allowing HoudahSpot searches.