Goodbye Apple Mail

I have tried many mail apps but always came back to good old Apple mail, however the sandboxing of mail, especially searches means for me it is not exactly a good digital citizen any more when it comes to collaboration with other apps.

The Catalina update completely broke integration with Houdahspot and Busy Contacts so I have decided to go back to Mailmate which I used before and only really dropped because of the interface, it’s not pretty but insanely powerful.

This gives me Omnifocus as a task manger, Busy Contacts as a CRM and Houdahspot for saved and granular searches which turns the Mac filing system into the ultimate bucket app.

I may have sacrificed pretty for power but I will go with the power anytime.

Last piece in the puzzle may be Busy Contacts to give me dated notes cross referenced to contacts. Downside: Cost, these apps are not cheap plus I need to remote login to my Mac to use some of these on iPadOS, but I am rarely away from the a Mac for long enough for this to be an issue and I can always save notes in Drafts to be updated later.

What I have learnt is premium apps like Omnifocus Houdahspot and Mailmate pay for themselves many times over in function and reliability, and that never comes cheap. These rarely seem to be in favour with the cool kids, new and shiny no, proven and powerful yes, which would you prefer?


I gave up on Apple mail years and years ago. I have tried many different things over the years but settled on PostBox for a long time. It had the right features and an acceptable interface. About a year ago I was getting annoyed at the amount of CPU that PostBox used so I went on a quest again. I tried Spark (which I use on iOS) and found it a little quirky. I tried Airmail and found it lacking. And then I found MailMate — where were you all my life?

I agree that the interface is a little crude but it has a lot more power than I can use. It does everything that I need and more — including some little things that I don’t believe that any other mailer does. It gets so many things “right”.

So enjoy yourself back on MailMate :smile:

I would love to try mail mate but my work email is exchange. I’m looking for better email so but it must work with exchange. Tried newton, post box, spark, air mail and outlook. None gelled with me. Hate mail plug in’s to so I think I’m stuck! N

Take a look at eM Client.

At least one of the accounts that I currently have in MailMate is an Exchange account.

Mailmate (which I too am looking at) is a great choice. OmniFocus, BusyContacts & HoudahSpot also excellent software. I’m in agreement 3rd party apps are often far more full featured that native tools. I’ve held a. bit of a torch for Apple Mail simply because I have a license to a previous version of the Small Cubed Mail Suitewhich powers up Apple Mail but I don’t think it’s going to keep me from going MailMate eventually.

BusyContacts is an app that is SCREAMING for an iPad version. It’s really the primary drawback to BC being such a great workflow app.

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The problem with BC is while it makes managing contacts actually quite easy and enjoyable on Mac the lack of iPad version is a bit of a killer. Not sure how you would get the mail integration on iOS anyway so it may just be a non starter.

What has become obvious is that HoudahSpot can duplicate the mail side of BC so having both may be overkill. The other thing I do not like, with BusyCal is that if you make a journal entry it stores it as an “all day” event which throws off other calendaring apps.

At the moment I am trying Agenda for CRM with notes tagged with clients nicnames which matched Omnifocus and OS tagging, and just sticking with HoudahSpot and saved searches. I plan to keep the current months CRM notes in Agenda and export a markdown file every month to an iCloud folder making it easy to surface all related things in one space.

I did like the busyCal/Contacts combination just a little too much friction and lack of iOS apps meant I could not justify the expense. HoudahSpot which I originally had not thought I absolutely needed is now pivotal.


I use both MailMate and Apple Mail for macOS. I’ve had lots of problems with Apple Mail over the last few years. Its rules stopped working, which is a real drag.