As much as I appreciate Mail’s feature list, and it is extensive– stationery, spam filter, multiple signatures, unified inbox, fast search, easy account setup– I would appreciate a few less features for a more stable email experience, hence the never-ending saga and ongoing search for a replacement.
Email With Air
Mail on a Mac is one of those must-have utilities that we love to hate. We hate email, so, well, you know– guilt by association. It’s isn’t that Mail is so terrible. It’s not.
The problem is the competition. Everybody’s email applications have shortcomings and various issues that prevent a clean break from Mail.
I try Thunderbird for awhile every now and again. It’s Mozilla’s email app for Mac and Windows. It works well, it’s feature-laden, it’s free, and it’s oh so clunky to use.
What I’m using on my Mac now is called Airmail. Think Mail Lite. That means Airmail works like Mail, but has fewer features, but it’s still email– the promise is there, but users are still waiting for delivery (pun intended).
See? Different. Yet the same.
Airmail has all the basic email app requirements down pat. iCloud sync. Attachments. Unified inbox. All kinds of email account types (Exchange to IMAP to POP to Gmail). And the all important option to import email messages from Mail on the Mac (and other mail formats).
Interaction with other systems is built in, too, including options to send messages to OmniFocus, Evernote, Reminder and Calendar, BusyCal, Things, Fantastical, and others. Attachments can be stored on Dropbox, GoogleDrive, and others. It even handles those nasty Winmail.dat issues with built-in preview.
Create your own email message folder hierarchy, setup flags, filters, and tags, redirect and bounce email messages, even use Markdown, HTML or text. In other words, Airmail is loaded with features, and some are unique and don’t have equivalents in OS X’s Mail.
The problem I’ve seen to date with Airmail is roughly the same as I’ve seen in recent years with Mail. Stability. Mail often hangs upon startup, and I have less than a dozen email accounts, but 10,000 messages dating back a dozen years or so (upgrading regularly helps).
So far, email alternatives like Microsoft’s Outlook, Mozilla’s Thunderbird, and Airmail look-alikes have yet to sway me to leave Apple’s fold– but Airmail is close. It’s fast, friendly, comfortable, convenient, familiar, and priced right. Beyond basic features, what I really want from an email app is simple– stability and longevity.