Upgrade from Mail
Apple’s email client isn’t always the best choice. These six alternatives each offer something extra…
Six alternatives to your builtin email client reviewed
Why bother with anything other than Apple Mail? It’s on every Mac, it looks good, and it has powerful features like Smart Mailboxes, flags and a search tool that integrates smoothly with Spotlight.
Why? Because it’s not perfect. The version that shipped with Mavericks had a few quirks, and wasn’t entirely happy working with Gmail or Google servers. Apple Mail also maintains a traditional approach to email management. Its three-pane layout has changed very little since its first incarnation, and the focus is more on threaded conversations than broader organisation. Its leisurely evolution has given its competitors a chance to jump in, and now the Mac is one of the best served platforms when it comes to picking a rival.
Email applications have long been used for more than just communication. Lotus Notes and Microsoft Outlook treat email as one service among many in what are, effectively, end-to-end organisational tools, bundling comms, calendars, to-do lists and more. Mail doesn't do that, but this doesn't stop us trying to force it. How many times have you
Apple Mail isn’t perfect, and the version that shipped with Mavericks had a few quirks
grabbed your phone while laying in bed and emailed yourself an aide memoire? At that point, you're asking Mail to do something for which it wasn’t designed – act as an organiser.
For a while it seemed that Apple was indeed going to go down this route, with Mail briefly being the repository for anything synced from Notes and Reminders in iOS. But not any more – each of those has been spun off into a separate OS X application, which means that to remain fully organised while using only Apple-native apps you need to run five tools: Mail, Calendar, Reminders, Contacts and Notes.
Here we’re looking at six alternatives, and while we’re most interested in how well they help us to manage email, we’ll also be testing them against a range of common tasks to see which of them can best act as the central focus of a working day.