Apple’s Mail app is decent, packed with useful features to the point of visual clutter, and might be the Mac’s most unstable, unreliable app in the 21st century, but all of us need and use email so what’s the alternative?
All of my email accounts can be loaded up in a browser window and that actually works well; from Gmail to iCloud to company to personal email. In a browser window? Yes. That also means you don’t get all the features available in Mail, so, again, what’s the alternative? Here are two you might like. One free, one not so much, both chosen because, like Mail, they run on Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
First Free – Polymail is, at least for now, a free and very special email app. It works with Gmail, iCloud, Outlook, but not standard IMAP email accounts. That’s a huge oversight for an otherwise pleasant email app that dares to think different.
Polymail may look familiar– sidebar of email folders, unified inbox, et al– but notice that there’s no real toolbar and the app is very calendar and contacts centric. There’s built-in Email Tracking, Read Later, and Send Later options (but you need to set up a Polymail account for it to work). The Contact Profiles are excellent for anyone who exchanges email with a select group of users.
You’ll also like the Calendar View to schedule events, and the Propose Times To Meet feature is fully unique. Respond to calendar invites with email. Polymail is simple and elegant but the lack of standard IMAP support is a killer for many of us. Good for free but I would worry about the long term viability of the business model.
Second, Not Free – CloudMagic looks, feels, and works like the lightest featherweight email app you’ve ever used. It’s pristine. It’s clean. But it’s also packed with standard features, including Gmail, Exchange, Yahoo!, Outlook, iCloud, Office 365, and standard IMAP. While CloudMagic misses some of Polymail’s cool features– Send Later is an example– it comes with Handoff, email accounts and settings that sync between your devices; Mac, iPhone, iPad, even Android; and that includes signatures.
Unlike Apple’s Mac Mail, I’ve never had CloudMagic crash. The inbox is unified, of course, and messages can be Archived, Deleted, and Mark with a click or a swipe. Even email folders can be synced between devices and keyboard shortcuts make it easier to use than Mail. Threading is a toggle on or off.
Neither of these email apps has the templates and stationery options found in Mail, and spam remains an issue since they don’t integrate with the popular SpamSieve spam catcher, but they represent a new breed of email app that is not monolithic, and each has specific options not found in Mail.