Reliable iOS mail client recommendations

I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that the native iOS 13 mail client is not currently fit for purpose at least for my specific use with an IMAP back end.

It doesn’t seem to reliably pick up moves to archive or other folders made on other devices and hence gives an inconsistent view of my inbox.

I just can’t live with this and hence am looking to move to a third party client at least until Apple fixes the bugs.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a mail client that works well on iOS 13, synchronises reliably with an IMAP back end and has a good privacy policy (i.e. doesn’t ship all your emails to their servers) ?


I find the Mail app buggy in iPad OS 13.1.2.

Maybe it’ll get some more TLC and you won’t need a third-party one.

(I use it exclusively for my work email as it’s the only one that works; For my personal email accounts I use Airmail.)

Thanks, good to know l’m not alone in seeing significant problems and agree things seem to be worse with 13.1.2.

I’ve decided to try Outlook as a second client for now and that seems to be doing the job. Hopefully can revert to just the native mail app once the bugs are fixed.

Have tried Spark and Airmail previously.

Spark seems solid, but l’m not a fan of some their UI design decisions around message threading and I’ve seen concerns expressed around their privacy policy.

Airmail seemed functionally rich with good automation hooks, but was definitely buggy in the area of message and folder synchronisation. Interested in whether it has improved in this respect ?

Offbeat suggestion: can you get by without using email on iOS? I faced the same issue (couldn’t find a good iOS mail client) and tried limiting my email access to macOS - and it’s worked a treat. But everyone’s circumstances are different :smile:.

Outlook is nice but very limited. Airmail is also very good but I don’t trust the company. Spark is probably the best but their privacy policy is problematic (even though I consider the company as trustworthy).

There is sadly no great app for iOS that ticks all the boxes.

Hmmm… I’m recently really aware of the fact that sometimes emails I send from my Iphone don’t get delivered. I was going to blame my carrier for lost emails. This suggests that maybe the fault is with Mail itself. ??

Outlook is great if you use Exchange email. It integrates far better with the exchange server, for example pulling through calendar availability, accessing room booking system and the exchange address book. Plus you at @ colleagues (like you can on here it turns out)


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Canary for iOS ( is now in v3 with a 30 day trial. Looks nice but limited since it lost features from previos versions (I hope they will come back). Canary was always problematic but interesting with focus on security. Developers are still working on it so hopefully the new version will be a serious contender.

Airmail bugginess has not improved and they’ve switched to subscription, including removing some features from the paid-for version (i.e. if you pid for it, you now have to subscribe to get those features back).

You can get a decent view of it current state at the Airmail subreddit

Support from the developers is as poor as ever

I’ve always used native Mail app, but the iOS 13 version is terrible. I’m a Fastmail user, so I’m going to try using their app full time.

I don’t know if you would even consider this, but I have used Yahoo Mail Pro for many years and have been pretty happy with it.

However, even if you just got a free Yahoo account and never used it, I think you can then use the Yahoo Mail app which is excellent on iOS and the web based version on the Mac is pretty good too.

Not sure what all you are looking for in an email platform, but this is very robust. Supports both POP3 and IMAP, multiple accounts and a host of customizable settings and features.

It’s at least worth a look if you haven’t already checked it out/

I keep wanting to change to another platform because “the grass must be greener elsewhere” - but when it comes down to it, I am completely satisfied where I am and have no reason to change.

I’ve used Outlook for iOS, Apple Mail, Spark and AirMail and they are all decent, but I still keep going back to Yahoo Mail. It just is the best all around option for me.

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Thanks for all the feedback and suggestions on this.

I think my two main conclusions are…

  • The iOS 13 mail client is a bit of a dumpster fire at the moment (if I’m understanding US colloquialisms correctly)
  • There is no perfect replacement and the way you go depends on the compromises you are prepared to make.

I did like the suggestion to go without using mail at all on iOS, but unfortunately I quite often travel these days with just an iPad and a phone so I really do need something.

The compromise that I’m personally hoping to make is towards the dull, but dependable end of the spectrum (the Toyota of email clients if you like). Previously Apple’s mail app has fulfilled this role, but I think they’ve made a misstep with iOS 13.

I’m getting by with Outlook for now, but it’s not my favourite so I’ll probably switch back to Apple’s offering if and when they fix some of the bugs.

Failing that I’ll take a look at some of the other suggestions in this thread including Canary and Yahoo which I’ve not tried previously.

I entered the Apple ecosystem in 2011 when I switched from Windows to Mac because I was fed up with the number of problems I had with the former and the latter “just worked” (well at least it did most of the time). Ironic that 8 years later I’ve now switched from an Apple mail client to Microsoft for exactly them same reason !


Apple Mail will be updated to work as intended.

If privacy is not essential, Spark is a clear winner. If you are willing to compromise on features but not on privacy, Canarymail is the only app outside of Apple Mail that keeps your credentials on your device (if you turn off push notifications).

This is actually sad for me to hear about Apple Mal in iOS.

While I am a long-time Yahoo Mail user, @MacSparky had convinced me that switching to Apple Mail would be a good move. I would lose some features that Yahoo Mail has but would gain all of the features Apple Mail benefits from by being integrated into the OS.

Now I think I will just stay put with Yahoo Mail…or I may run them both as a direct comparison.

I was also a long-time Windows user prior to migrating to macOS about six months ago. As such, I also used, and became extremely familiar with, Office,and later Office 365.

I still use Office 365 on my Mac and I prefer using the desktop version of Outlook as my email client, although I just don’t care for the iOS version of Outlook.

Using either my Yahoo email account or my personal domain, I can keep both Outlook and my webmail client in sync. However if I should eventually fully switch to Apple Mail and the Apple email client, I’m not quite sure how I sync my Outlook desktop client with my Apple iOS client. I’m sure there must be a way to do it, but I just don’t know how to do it at this point.

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I thought I was the only one using the Yahoo Mail app! It’s not perfect but it’s very serviceable. (I’m using it in conjunction with the Pro subscription tier.)

The iOS app is frequently updated, although I’m not always crazy about some new features you cannot switch off (like new floating alerts when you get a ship-notice email from Amazon, which can only be dismissed).

I find Outlook to be best mainstream alternative. It def works best with Exchange, but is just fine with IMAP as well.

One positive the dark mode in Outlook is light years better than if you like dark mode.

Yahoo Mail is a privacy nightmare. They suffered serious data breaches, scanned their user’s emails (maybe still do) and their current privacy policy is also not great.

Nearly all webmail clients have serious security issues. Apple Mail is one of the only decent options unless you have a domain hosting service. Some of the webmail clients they provide are pretty good, however they are only available if you are a client of their hosting.

Of the major commercial options, Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo are all seriously lacking if security is important to you.

When I need to use secure email, I use my personal domain and encrypt my messages in the desktop version of Outlook!

Canary Mail is a nice secure option on iOS.

Of course, the truly secure option is a service like Proton Mail or Tutanota and all the other jazz like VPN, secure computer etc.

I agree re: the shipment tracking cards for Amazon orders. The idea is nice, but the implementation is pretty awkward.

I also have been using the Pro tier for about a decade now. I got tired of having to change email addresses every time my ISP changed.

Today, my ISP is pretty settled as their aren’t a lot of quality cable ISP choices. But back in the dial-up era, it seems like I always had a different provider. The service was terrible and I kept switching hoping to find one that was ”good”. Never happened until I finally ended up on Comcast. Still don’t like the company much, but the ISP service has been excellent!