I hate email. That’s it. I said it. I don’t know many who love email, some tolerate it, most hate it. I’m of the firm belief that its creation came about when the Gods of this planet decided to torment mankind with insufferable tedium.
Alright, that said, Mail on Mac, iPhone, and iPad is decent, a little too much packed with features, with too much of a traditional email interface. So, I’ve looked around. Email apps are growing in number, but so are the number of email accounts I have, use, and generally hate. Here are a few thoughts on handling email.
Scourge Of Apps
Apple’s Mail has been around a long, long time. It works. It has window dressing functions like stationery and templates. There’s a semi-functional junk mail filter. The rules feature works well. Add a few plugins and Mail crashes now and again, but maybe I have a too many email accounts (more than a dozen, some date back a couple of decades so they’re on every spam list known to mankind).
Here’s a look at what I use and what I’ve tried.
IMAP – this is the way to go. IMAP is what you want because it leaves messages on the email server so they can be viewed on multiple devices like Mac, iPhone, iPad or whatever.
With IMAP, there are many new email apps which use only IMAP and never the old POP protocol. Here are my impressions on a few of the new email apps.
Spark – this is a favorite that I can’t use. Spark runs on Mac, iPhone, and iPad. The interface is the best and easiest to use and it syncs accounts between devices with ease. Spark is an incredible data hog and some of your private information gets stored on Spark’s servers. I don’t want that. Spark is free. For now.
Airmail – another favorite that I’m using now. Airmail is almost as efficient to use as Spark, but has a list of configurations and settings that even confuse me. It also uses SpamSieve to avoid spam. That’s a plus. It will sync accounts between devices on iCloud (but you still need to add the password to each). Spark has a price tag, but it’s nominal and worth it if you have many email accounts.
Newton – by far my favorite, but I can’t afford it. Or, rather, I won’t afford it. Newton has almost every feature those of us with too much email want and need. It has a Snooze function, Sender Profile collection, Read Receipts, a much needed Undo Send, and a much beloved Send Later so email can be sent on a schedule. It also has a much maligned subscription price tag so you pay forever.
Canary – this is a new one that I’m trying out this week and it’s good. Canary looks and works much like a mashup of the above email apps but with a different feature set. For example, there’s Open PGP support for more security, encryption, local storage of messages and access tokens (take that, Spark!). Canary also has follow up prompts, and real time read notifications so you know when an email you sent is read. Alas, no spam catcher. Canary is still beta.
I’ve also tried Microsoft’s Outlook (still looks like and works like Windows to me), Mozilla’s Thunderbird (so 1999), PowerMail (lots of power search and organization options, Postbox (really nice Mac-like interface), but my preference these days is a single email application which runs on Mac, iPhone, and iPad, and syncs features and accounts between them, which not even Apple Mail can do with ease.
For now, Airmail is what I use (along with Apple Mail) but I would use Newton if it were affordable. Spark is the easiest to use but has security issues and uses bandwidth by the bushel. Canary has more security options, but is new and untested.