Ap­ple Mail al­ter­na­tives

If Mail isn’t meet­ing your email ex­pec­ta­tions, try these ex­cel­lent al­ter­na­tives to Ap­ple’s app

Mac Format - - CONTENTS -

What’s the best email app for OS X?

When it works, Ap­ple Mail is a won­der­ful email app, but for many of us it doesn’t al­ways work the way we’d like it to. It has a rocky re­la­tion­ship with third-party ser­vices such as Gmail, it oc­ca­sion­ally goes in a huff for no good rea­son, and it isn’t as cus­tomis­able as some of its ri­vals.

If you’re think­ing of switch­ing to another email app, it’s im­por­tant to know what’s in­volved. Yosemite can be huffy when you switch the de­fault app. For ex­am­ple, Pages’ op­tion to share a doc­u­ment by email dis­ap­pears if Ap­ple’s own app isn’t set as the de­fault, and the equiv­a­lent op­tion in other apps stop do­ing any­thing. You’ll usu­ally need to recre­ate any rules, fil­ters and spam train­ing, and of course it’s a good idea to en­sure you have a backup if you store im­por­tant emails on your Mac rather than in the cloud.

We’ve looked at six ma­jor email pro­grams here. Some you’re prob­a­bly fa­mil­iar with – Thun­der­bolt is so old Moses prob­a­bly used it on his tablet, and the re­freshed and re­vi­talised Out­look has been a Mac stal­wart for many years – while oth­ers may be new faces. Uni­box makes email look like iMes­sage or your favourite chat app, Post­box takes Thun­der­bird’s en­gine and makes it sparkly and mod­ern, Air­mail is a stylish Yosemite app that’s very sim­i­lar to the sadly de­funct Sparrow, and Mail­box is Drop­box’s un­usual and in­no­va­tive an­swer to email over­load.

There isn’t a bad app here, but there are big dif­fer­ences in what they do and the kind of users they are aimed at. Where Mail­box is de­lib­er­ately sim­ple, Out­look wears its cor­po­rate colours with pride. Uni­box is in­no­va­tive and a lot of fun, and Post­box has a huge se­lec­tion of tools to help you tame your in­box, but takes time to learn.

In this group test we’ll com­pare the dif­fer­ent apps on sev­eral key ar­eas: how easy they are to set up and use, what tools they of­fer to or­gan­ise your email, what ex­tra fea­tures they de­liver and how pleas­ant they are to use. Gary Mar­shall

There isn’t a bad app here, but there are big dif­fer­ences in what they do and who they’re best for

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