Email clients for Mac & iOS


Some people are moving away from email, but for me, it remains the best way to communicate online. I get to keep a record of conversations and the attached files are with the text so I can always see the context.

But I think everyone would agree that Apple have dropped the ball with Mail in OS X Mavericks, and to a lesser extent, in iOS 7.

So I have been on a campaign lately to find an email client that suits my needs. I don’t feel that I have found the perfect answer yet, but I am getting there.

The first step was to work out what I really needed in an email client:

  • support for IMAP accounts and Gmail accounts
  • unified inbox – all accounts shown together
  • conversation threading
  • support for POP accounts (optional)

 

On the Mac, I have narrowed it down to two clients that I am swapping between every few days: Unibox and Airmail.

Unibox is different in the way it displays your emails. It is much more focussed on people and conversations, so the side bar shows all the people who you have sent emails to or received emails from, grouped by date. I really like the merging of incoming & outgoing emails, but it can be a bit weird if you delete the latest email from someone who then disappears from sight.

Emails are grouped by a single person, not by conversation. There is a button on appropriate emails to toggle conversation view for that particular thread, but it doesn’t stick.

In order to show a conversation, they truncate emails in the main part of the window and show a “More” button at the bottom of the email to expand it. This was annoying, but in the latest beta, it performs much better, so you are not continually tapping this to see a long email.

Airmail has a more conventional display. Threading and the layout of threaded emails are both very nice. There are multiple view options, which I find can get a bit messy looking, so I prefer the “Minimized View” setting. Airmail also does POP accounts which is a plus.

The main reason I keep going back to Unibox is the unification. I have grown to like having sent and received messages all in the same window without having to go and find them somewhere else.

 

On the iPad, I am currently using Boxer and have tried numerous others. Molto was quite good and the interface was fun, but it would only use landscape mode and like to be able to swap. Boxer is not great in portrait mode, but it does work.

So the jury is still out for iPad email clients, but on the Mac, I am leaning towards Unibox.


Tags: email   mac   ios