What hath the internet wrought since the mid-1990s? The misinformation superhighway and fake news come to mind as big time sinks, but there might be a scourge worse than texting, especially for those of us raised old school.
Email. It’s the killer app of the interwebs; the app we love to hate because it’s the killer app killing our time and patience. Is there a better way? Actually, no. But there are a couple of ways around the scourge, ways to make using email more tolerable, and for Mac users, both are free.
Far be it from me to understand the complexities of a business model based on free, but Google does it, so why not Herald, the little email plugin app that could. And can. And does. Herald is a free plugin for Mail that almost takes the place of Mail so you don’t have to switch to Mail to check and respond to email.
Herald handles email and works beyond the typical notifications in Notification Center on your Mac. Herald watches your incoming email and pops up an efficient little window so you can handle email with greater ease than switching over to Apple’s cluttered Mail app.
Behold, your new email. That’s it. Almost.
Herald displays incoming email messages in a pop up window with a Quick Action Toolbar at the bottom; a toolbar which lets you Mark As Read, Reply, Delete, and more. From within the pop up window. Without switching to Mail.
Despite the simple pop up window, Herald is packed with customizable features. Group messages. Setup specific email boxes. View an entire message. Automatically dismiss an incoming message without action. All from within the pop up window. Customization? Preferences are everywhere and easy to use.
There’s much to like with Herald because it speeds up incoming email handling so you can take care of the scourge in real time.
A Spark Of Email Life
What if you have to manage email on Mac, iPhone, and iPad, but you already know that Apple’s own Mail app is too cluttered and too cumbersome? Is there an alternative that works on every iDevice, works well, improves the email experience, and remains affordable? Yes. It’s called Spark. It’s free for Mac, iPhone, iPad, and works on Watch.
I’m of the opinion that the best we can do is to make email suck less, and for that I applaud the folks who publish the popular iPhone and iPad email app, Spark, now available to Mac users. Spark for iPhone and iPad has been around awhile and it’s immensely popular thanks to a limited features set to just those functions that are useful and fast to employ.
Spark handles multiple email accounts with ease. Set up an email account on your Mac and the account shows up on iPad and iPhone. Email attachments can be saved online– Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, even iCloud Drive. Spark is clean and neat, instantly familiar but without any clutter.
Spark is free on Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Watch. It works very well and gets hundreds to thousands of four and five star reviews. Did I mention Spark is free? That’s what bothers me. Nearly a year ago I signed up for another pretty good and free Mac email app that also had iPhone and iPad counterparts. CloudMagic was free at first, too. Then the name changed to Newton and it became a subscription application. An expensive subscription, and I expect something similar to happen to Spark in the future because free isn’t a good business model and there is no such thing as a free lunch.