It doesn’t take much effort to hate email. If ever there was a killer app, it’s email; the app from the gods above that loves to kill humans with tedium and frustration. Why? Isn’t email like texting?
Yes. And no. Email clutters our lives; a massive time suck that will drive humanity crazy until just before the gods destroy us. Texting is a necessary evil. Totally different, right? Regardless of where you stand in the email vs. texting wars (it’s not really a thing; I just made it up), here are the three best email apps for Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
Default Mail Is OK
Without a shred of scientific research to back up my assertion, it’s likely that most Mac, iPhone, and iPad users have tried Apple’s tried and true Mail app. With one notable exception, Mail works. It’s feature packed, and on the Mac gives you control over folder organization and spam, thanks to the built-in Junk Mail feature.
If you use Mail, good for you. Mail is traditional email; email management from 1999 that does not blaze any new trails or help with efficiency or in any way improve either the day-to-day clutter or the ongoing deluge of messages which must be managed and archived.
What is better than Mail? Well, I could so abandon email altogether and I would be correct. No email is better than email which means no email is better than Mail but we live in the real world and not message fantasyland, so what are the good alternatives.
There are two. They are somewhat similar but their approach to managing email is different, and which you choose depends upon your requirements.
Airmail – this one has been around a few years and has matured to become a good blend of features and ease of use. Airmail does not look or feel like Mail at all and offers message management controls better than Mail. While Airmail is easy to set up and use, the extensive features and account and message options are layered in; available as you need them and as your experience expands.
For example, Airmail keeps accounts managed and in sync between Mac, iPhone, and iPad via iCloud, and if you use IMAP stores necessary folders on your email account servers the way God intended. The inbox is unified. Airmail supports Exchange, iCloud, IMAP, POP, Yahoo!, Google, and even Outlook.com accounts. It works with Handoff, too, so you can start a message on iPad and get to it on the Mac later. Attachments can be store on GoogleDrive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and elsewhere. Notifications can be set on a per account basis.
The killer feature for Airmail is support for Spam Sieve. Set it up on your Mac and it keeps spam off your iPhone and iPad. Airmail has a nominal price tag.
Spark – other than the lack of Spam Sieve support, Spark is my favorite email app. Why? User interface. It’s just faster and easier to manage a massive amount of messages in Spark than in Mail. It, too, syncs with iCloud so it works on Mac, iPhone, and iPad (and better on Watch than Airmail or Mail). Organizing messages is not as extensive as Mail or Airmail but good for most of us. What Spark has that you won’t find in either of the other two is an option to send later.
That’s right, Spark lets you send messages at a later time or date. It integrates well with all the Sharing Box options in macOS or iOS, but also has smart notifications and a smart inbox which segregates the useless from the useful messages.
All three email apps are worthy– Mail, Airmail, Spark. The latter two sync accounts via iCloud so they’re easy to setup on each device. Mail is free. Airmail has a nominal price tag. Spark– for now– is free, but I’m waiting for that shoe to drop in the future. Only Mail and Airmail work with SpamSieve on the Mac.
Which of the three should you use? It depends. Mail is good for a few accounts and has Junk Mail built in, but also works with SpamSieve. Airmail has more management features and options, but comes with a price tag and SpamSieve support. Spark is the easiest to setup and use.