There are times when I pity Apple’s team of software engineers; you know, the few dozen that wander around working on various flagship apps only to have their work criticized by unappreciative users. That’s me. Email is a pain and Mail doesn’t make it better.
Choice Is Good
Apple’s own Mail app on the Mac tries in vain to be all things to all users. Setup of various email accounts from Google to Yahoo to iCloud to IMAP is straightforward for even newbies to the keyboard. Mail manages to store messages locally in whatever organizational structure you want, and leave them on IMAP servers. Mail has gobs of visual clutter and too many features to make email management a pleasant experience.
Alternatives? A few; some very good and inexpensive, others more complex and expensive; definitely for power email users. Here are a few I’ve tried and would recommend– depending upon your requirements.
MailMate – This is one of those power email apps. It’s IMAP only, features rapid search, encryption smart mailboxes and works with SpamSieve to handle spam. But it’s plain text only and definitely for Mac users who live in email all the time. It’s also familiar and looks much like Apple’s Mail layout.
Postbox – This one has been around awhile and improved in recent years. It looks more like a modern email client but manages messages differently than Mail and allows for organizing messages by topics and contacts. I like that. Postbox has plenty of filters so organizing many incoming messages can be somewhat automated.
Airmail – This is the email app I want to love but just can’t let go and bite the bullet, so to speak. Airmail is packed with enough extras to compete with Mail itself, handles IMAP and account folders with ease, and works with SpamSieve. That’s important for me as I get hundreds of spam messages a day, thanks to email addresses that have floated around the interwebs for years. Airmail has another capability that is a must-have. It runs on Mac, iPhone, and iPad, and synchronizes accounts between devices. That’s a huge plus. Customer support is better than most thanks to online chat. Airmail isn’t as easy as Mail to create rules to filter email, though. Touch and swipe options on iOS are to die for. Excellent.
Spark – Hands down, this would be my favorite and must have except for one two plaguing issues. Spark is the most elegant of all the mainstream email apps; easier to setup and use, works across iOS to macOS, and the Watch version is the best. It handles IMAP with ease and makes storing messages online a breeze. What’s missing? It does not work with SpamSieve to manage spam and there is no way to handle rules to move incoming messages to various folders. That’s something of a deal breaker.
With no single solution available, what I’ve ended up doing is this. I run Mac Mail on my desktop machine because it uses SpamSieve, and that keeps spam off my iPhone and iPad. I run Airmail on my MacBook because email is all IMAP so all accounts are available, and it runs SpamSieve. I keep Spark on my iPhone because it is just so easy and fast to use.
Yes, the setup of three different email apps is a pain, but it’s important to dig through incoming email quickly (Spark), route incoming email to appropriate folders (Mail), keep the spammers at bay (Airmail), and run on Mac, iPhone, and iPad.