Most of us would agree that email is a scourge, what the gods do to humans to make us mad just before we are destroyed. Yes, managing email is that much trouble and few email applications make it better.
That brings up an interesting point. Apple’s own Mail on Mac, iPhone, and iPad is decent, Mozilla’s Thunderbird (free) is too Windows-like for Mac users, yet an entire cottage industry has grown up around Mail replacement email applications. Here’s another that’s almost a new way to do email.
The Killer Feature
Apple’s own Mail app is pretty good as email apps go, feature laden, doesn’t crash too often, and has a built-in spam catcher called Junk Mail. It’s not as good as the third party app SpamSieve but you get what you pay for. So, why the increase in Mac, iPhone, and iPad email applications when a good one comes to each device for free?
It’s because email is a pain to manage and Apple’s Mail doesn’t maker it easier. Apps like Newton, Spark, Airmail, and others make email easier to manage, but not all third party email apps are created equal. Here’s a new one– Mac only for now– that tells us where the future is going.
It’s called Canary and it looks, feels, and works much like most of the newer email apps, but with a few notable differences.
Canary handles most email account types, from IMAP to Outlook to iCloud, Gmail, Yahoo!, and others, but with a focus on privacy and security. Here’s the basic promotion list.
- Read Tracking – Canary notifies you instantly when your email is read.
- Email Snooze – Declutter your Inbox in an instant and deal with emails at your convenience.
- Unified Inbox – Canary features a unified inbox and supports Gmail, Yahoo!, Outlook, FastMail and universal IMAP.
- Fully Local – Your emails are encrypted and stored locally and securely on your Mac, not on an online server.
- Gmail Labels and Filters – Canary supports labels and social/promotional email segregation that Gmail users love.
- Attachments Browser – Quickly find, download, and open every file that you’ve ever sent or received.
- Quick Reply – Compose at the speed of thought with inline replies and direct keyboard shortcuts for your favorite contacts.
- Powerful Search – Instantly find an email with powerful predicate-based search that works even when you’re offline.
Apple’s Mac Mail doesn’t have Read Tracking, Snooze, local encryption, Gmail options, but does have templates and stationery, and the aforementioned Junk Mail filter. That’s usually where I draw the line.
I’ve been doing the internet thing for a few decades already and that means too many email accounts, and the longer an email address has been around, the more spam it attracts. Canary does not do spam catching, but it has a nice snooze feature, a message pinning option, built-in unsubscribe, multiple signatures, and there is a bulk email cleaner (not really a spam catcher, though; you still have to trudge through spam to identify it, whereas SpamSieve actually grabs it, filters it, and segregates it from the Inbox.
There is much to like in Canary, though, especially if privacy and security are issues. Canary handles end-to-end encryption via PGP, and includes Keybase integration. Unlike Spark, Airmail, and other newer email apps, all account credentials, access tokens, and messages are stored on your Mac.
Much to like, right?
What I want to see in Canary is some of what I can get with Airmail, Spark, and others. First, Airmail does SpamSieve and comes with iPhone and iPad versions which can sync account information via iCloud. Spark does that, too, but without a spam catcher. Regardless, Canary shows promise as the latest in the new generation of email apps, is priced right, and there is the promise of an iOS version in the future.