The best alternative mail apps for iPhone to increase your productivity, minimize your chaos, and get your inbox back under control!
Looking for the best iPhone apps to replace the built-in Mail app? 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. Luckily, that's why there are lots of alternatives to choose from in the App Store. But which mail apps for iPhone are the absolute best?
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 return to your inbox. This means you can focus on only the emails that are important to you right at that moment. Mailbox also has Dropbox integration, making attachment upload easy, and supports push notifications. A Mac version of Mailbox is also in the works and should be available later this year.
If you use Gmail or iCloud and rely heavily on Dropbox for email attachments, Mailbox is a solid option.
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. And that's only the beginning, Dispatch supports tons of other third party apps too.
If you want a replacement mail app that plays nicely with tons of other third party apps along with the ability to create custom email templates, you want Dispatch.
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 and more. What may sway some folks towards Boxer is its dashboard feature. The dashboard 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 account types, all with push notifications. Note that if you need Exchange, you'll need to pick up the paid version of Boxer.
Boxer appeals to anyone who likes Mailbox but wants more features and needs Exchange support.
Inky Mail has been available for Mac for quite some time and has just recently made its debut on iPhone and iPad. Inky is compatible with most email accounts and also supports push notifications. Unlike some email clients such as Mailbox that create folders and move things around, Inky Mail does not and instead uses a system they call Smart Views to help you triage mail. Filter junk, shopping, and entertainment out so you can see through the noise. The more you use Inky Mail, the smarter it'll get.
If you want a new approach to email, Inky Mail delivers it for both iOS and Mac.
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!
Note: Originally published July 2013. Updated June 2014.