Never thought I'd say this--preferring Gmail Web/app over Mail, Spark et al

Well, I can’t believe I’m saying this, especially in THIS forum, but I’ve discovered that Gmail in Chrome and the app are the best email “clients” I’ve tried so far.

I’ve obviously used Gmail in Chrome and the Gmail app on occasion but I’ve never liked the GUI (Ugly) so never used them much. I’ve used Apple Mail or Spark for 99% of my emails. However, working from home constantly has caused me to experiment with the various G-Suite apps and integrations and discovered that all of the features (or at least most of them) that I’ve wanted are in Gmail for no added cost. We use G-suite at work so I’ve added to Gmail, Google Chat, Hangouts, Tasks, Keep, Meet and of course I’ve been using Google Drive. I’m still using Apple Calendar as my calendar interface. The ability to snooze, receive nudges (reminders), schedule email sends, label everything, chat or video call from within Gmail, turn an email into a task with a reminder, add notes to an email, add etc., is easy and seamless.

I think I’ve become a convert.


And I’ve found using Gmail in Chrome and the Gmail IOS app gives you anti-phishing protection that you don’t get if you use regular email clients. (I did purchase Mailplane some years ago and still use it on occasion since it has the same features)

BTW, if you happen to use Evernote, there is an add-on that allows you to save messages directly to EN.

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I don’t use Evernote anymore but I do like the ability to add notes and tasks to any email. That is extremely helpful.

So I have found that I am quite happy using Gmail in Safari on the Mac rather than I was using a pinned tab but does anyone know if you can create a dedicated safari window just for a web app like gmail? Think chrome allows this but I don’t want to use chrome. Thanks

We use Outlook for email at work (the back end, not the client) but I have multiple gmail clients for everything else. Just getting into keyboard shortcuts which have greatly enhanced my appreciation of the web app. Any other resources you recommend?

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If using the Gmail web app, I recommend using it in a Chromium-based browser (Chrome, Brave, Edge, etc.) and installing the Simplify Gmail extension. It removes a lot of the UI clutter that has been added to the Gmail web app over the years. Makes Gmail a pleasure again.

One other must-implement, in my opinion, is turning on Auto-advance (Gear > Settings > Advanced > Auto-advance). When archiving an email, the next message opens without returning you to the Inbox. This helps me get through email faster. It reduces the cognitive overhead necessary to select the next message to open.

Last, I personally recommend using the Compact Display Density although that is more personal preference.

Hope all this helps! Curious if anyone else has any other tips.


Thanks, I’ll try those suggestions. Much appreciated!

What usability differences exist between using gmail in Chrome vs. gmail in Safari? I prefer Safari, in part because keychain passwords are integrated. I do see Chrome is zippier, though.

There may not be any. I just recommend Brave for privacy reasons.

Right click on the safari tab and open as new window.

Extensions. There are so many more that could be enabled on Chrome and simply do not exist for Safari, such as the one @agrandy suggested above:

If using the Gmail web app, I recommend using it in a Chromium-based browser (Chrome, Brave, Edge, etc.) and installing the Simplify Gmail extension.

Yes, I use the Simplify Gmail extension too, but there are others, including

• Google offers a Send from Gmail extension that sits in the browser menubar and lets you share links or send out quick emails from a pop-out.

Simple Gmail Notes lets you add notes to Gmail conversation threads which save in Google Drive.

Boomerang is a service that lets you schedule emails to be sent at a later date/time, and there’s a free tier that lets you send 10 emails/month, working in conjunction with a Chrome extension.

I do like Gmail in the browser. But, I have been playing with Mailmate. This is one underwhelming UI disguising a seriously powerful email app. Makes finding, categorizing and dealing with email much faster than even Gmail with keyboard shortcuts.

I’m a happy Gmail web view user too (and native Gmail app user on iOS), mainly because it’s the only way to get all the features I want without involving a third party.

The features I look for aren’t too crazy, but Gmail is the only service I know of that offers them natively:

  • Schedule send (no need for an extension or other service for this, it’s built in)
  • Snooze messages (without some service creating a bunch of extra folders)
  • Flawless search (I don’t bother with filing messages into folders or categories or any of that because I’ve never failed to find a message via search)

That’s it, and Gmail handles the above effortlessly.

This works for me mainly because I made the decision some years back to forward my handful of addresses with other providers to my Gmail, so I don’t have to worry about accessing different accounts.

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That’s pretty much the conclusion I’ve come to
as well.

We use office 365, however, been thinking on using gmail app with the email instead of outlook app, what are your thoughts?

The app Mailplane is probably your best bet for using gmail in a separate window. It provides a nice blend of MacOS integration with the power of Gmail. I switch back and forth between using it and a pinned tab in Safari on different Macs. I’m always in search of that perfect combination of simplicity and functionality!


I agree that gmail has nailed it in terms of features and functionality. However, I will not consent to being the product (or at least their product) by sharing my personal email content with google. Even with all google privacy settings set to ‘lock-down, I use a google-only profile for google searches (as an alternate to Duck Duck Go) and YouTube.

There are other well-built web email alternatives; I prefer FastMail because it is private, quite fast and easy to set up with my domains and aliases. There are other app alter alternatives to Chat, Hangouts, Tasks, Keep, Meet and Drive, so regardless of how tempting all the seamless google Sirens may be, I give Big Brother as wide a berth as possible.

I also avoid Chrome, which in addition to me being their product, is a resource hog. I’m now using Brave and find it to be lightweight, lightening fast, and focused on protecting my privacy, not monetizing my browsing.

And no, I’m not a ‘prepper,’ I don’t believe the moon landings were faked, or that 9/11 attacks were an inside job. I just believe that what I say and to are mine, and mine alone, to share. I want to see things that aren’t ‘tailored’ to me and my ‘interests.’

I agree with the privacy concerns. I too use Brave on my MBP but Brave’s syncing is not functional a the moment so using it on iOS is problematic given how often I switch between devices. One advantage I have in using G-Suite is that it is an education subscription so I have better privacy protection than normally would be the case. DuckDuckGo is also my default search engine. I have not tried FastMail but I’ll check it out to see if it has feature parity. As to the integration of apps, yes there are alternatives but my experience with MS is it is still clunky on Apple devices, Zoom has its own security issues, and Slack gets expensive if large teams use it. My conclusion is there is no perfect solution for both privacy and feature set so one has to decide where and how much to compromise on both. If Apple would produce more robust services that would be ideal but thus far Apple doesn’t and I don’t see them doing so anytime soon.

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I will second the notion that G Suite provides increased privacy over their consumer level gmail product. I admin the G Suite accounts for my small business and the privacy controls are pretty robust. There is quite a bit of granularity in which features and security protocols that you can enable for each user. Google will sign a Business Associate Agreement that provides more clarity on what they do with your data. This is obviously not for everyone, but it is an option to consider if you want to take advantage of some of the tools that they offer.

As a side note, I have a “junk” google account that I use for Youtube and other sites that I don’t not wish to use my G suite account with. There is quite a bit of difference between the two products when comparing the various “cross-pollination” aspects of typical Google advertising practices.

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