The best alternative mail apps for iPhone to increase your productivity, minimize your chaos, and get your inbox back under control.
Email is an important part of both our professional and personal lives. Nowadays most people have multiple inboxes to manage and lots of messages to sort through. While the built-in Mail app has a lot of features and the home-turf advantage, it doesn't have everything, and certainly not for everyone, especially power users.
Luckily a whole crop of alternative email apps have popped on the iPhone, some geared towards specific services like Gmail, others with specific philosophies towards getting things done, and still others simply dedicated to easing the workflow. Here are a selection of our current favorites, what I consider to be the best mail apps for iPhone on the App Store today!
Triage isn't based around traditional mailboxes, folders, and message lists. Instead, Triage displays your inbox messages as a stack of cards. The idea is simple: swipe a mail card up to archive it, and down to keep it. If you have the time and inclination to do more, you can tap on a card and get more traditional mail tools, like reply and forward, but only when and if you want to. Triage currently supports Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, iCloud, and many other 3rd party mail clients through IMAP.
While it shouldn't be most people's primary mail app, for anyone who gets tons of mail and just needs an incredibly quick way to get rid of the non-important stuff on the go, Triage can't be beat.
Mailbox, recently acquired by Dropbox, uses a gesture-based interface that lets you quickly swipe messages to archive them, delete them, or mark them for later. When marking for later, Mailbox allows you to decide when you'd like to be reminded. Mailbox also has Dropbox integration, making attachment upload easy, and supports push notifications.
Gmail is the only mail service currently supported by Mailbox, but if you're a Gmail user, and especially if you're also a Dropbox user, Mailbox's server-side smarts makes it the best choice for super-productive users who just want to get mail done.
Dispatch functions much in the same way Mailbox, with a gesture driven interface. The unique thing about Dispatch, however, is its ability to use snippets. These are excerpts that frequently find yourself using. Think of it as built-in TextExpander. You can categorize snippets and use them for whatever you'd like.
Since Apple's built-in Mail doesn't support TextExpander, and the iOS auto-correct feature isn't very robust, Dispatch is a great choice for anyone who wants a fast, gesture-driven interface, but also needs to write a lot of repetitive boilerplate, whether it be for tech support, marketing, or just to the friends and family.
Boxer, like Mailbox and Dispatch, is gesture driven and allows you to quickly swipe your way to inbox zero. Boxer, however, has support for to-do lists, requests to let you interact with others on tasks, and more. Boxer also makes it easy to reverse an action. What gives Boxer its edge is the dashboard feature. The dashboard, on one screen, gives you a quick look at everything you have in your inbox and other sections of your mailbox. It makes it easy to quickly see what needs your attention and what can wait until later.
Boxer currently supports Exchange, Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook.com, Hotmail, iCloud, and AOL, though push notifications only work for Gmail right now. It'll appeal to anyone who likes Mailbox but wants more features and, most especially, users more than just Gmail for their email. (It's also one of the only alternative options available that supports Exchange accounts.)
Note: Boxer is currently $0.99 for the first 100,000 users that download it. Once that mark is hit, the regular price will be $9.99 so if you're considering it, now is the time to pick it up before full price goes into effect.
Mail Pilot lets you fine-tune how you interact with messages to how you view them. It has different sections that allow you to more quickly access messages that you've set aside or have chosen to act on later. Instead of digging through labels or folders, you can see all those messages in one location.
Mail Pilot also supports a plethora of different email clients including Gmail, iCloud, AOL, Yahoo!, and other IMAP email service providers. Unfortunately, there's no Exchange support, and no push notifications. If neither of those things are show-stoppers for you, and the idea of getting a lot of information about your email at a glance appeals to you, then you should definitely look at Mail Pilot.
We know that everyone's email workflow is very different and on some levels, quite personal. While these are the choices we think will cater to the widest number of users, we're interested to know what clients you're using, why, and how they're improved your productivity and ability to manage your inbox. Let us know in the comments below!