There are a few cases where a pre-installed iPhone app made by Apple is the best tool for a particular job, but the Mail app certainly isn’t one of them. For light email users, it’s a nice clean option that offers a fairly basic set of features and a nice user interface. For the rest of us, we need a solution that offers a broader feature set than Apple’s Mail app will likely ever offer.
I’ve personally been back on the hunt for a new email app ever since my email solution of choice was shut down by Dropbox. And no, I still haven’t forgiven the company. I’ve gone through more than a dozen apps in my search for a Mailbox replacement though, and in this post I’ll save you the pain and suffering that I’ve had to endure.
As is the case with to-do list apps and messaging apps, email apps are something just about everyone uses. As a result, developers have flooded the App Store to the point where it’s difficult to make heads or tails of all of the options out there.
I’ll save you some time. If you’re an iPhone user, these are the only five email apps you need to bother with:
Inbox by Gmail
Inbox by Gmail is Google’s new take on email, and it was obviously inspired by Mailbox. This app features a gorgeous user interface and a feature set that makes it easier to handle large amounts of email, but it comes with a huge caveat: There’s no unified inbox — ironically, considering the app’s name — so people who manage multiple accounts might want to look elsewhere.
Your email inbox should help you live and work better, but instead it often buries the important stuff and creates more stress than it relieves. Inbox, built by the Gmail team, keeps things organized and helps you get back to what matters.
• HIGHLIGHTS – Get the most important information without even opening the message. Check-in for flights, see shipping information for purchases, and view photos from friends right up front.
• BUNDLES – Similar messages are bundled together so you can deal with them all at once. And get rid of them with one swipe.
• REMINDERS – More than mail, you can add Reminders so your inbox contains all the things you need to get back to.
• SNOOZE – Snooze emails and Reminders to come back when you are ready to deal with them: next week, when you get home, or whenever you choose.
• SEARCH – Inbox helps you find exactly what you’re looking for— from your upcoming flight to a friend’s address— without having to dig through messages.
• WORKS WITH GMAIL – Inbox is built by the Gmail team, so all your messages from Gmail are here, along with the reliability and spam protection of Gmail. All of your messages are still in Gmail and always will be.
I use Airmail for OS X and I’ve been eagerly anticipating Bloop’s iPhone version. Now that it’s here, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, it’s a fantastic and robust client with just about every feature you can possibly imagine. On the other hand, it has some serious sync issues for me, to the point where it’s unusable.
Luckily, not everyone has had these issues so this is definitely a client worth checking out. As for me, I’ll be waiting patiently for some updates.
Airmail is a powerful mail client for Mac, now available for iPhone.
Designed for the latest generation iPhone and iOS9, it supports 3D Touch, fast document previewing, high quality pdf creation, and native integration with other apps and services for a frictionless workflow.
Workflow customization at the core with a rich features set like snooze, interactive push notification, and full inbox sync.
iCloud sync provide a full ubiquitous sync experience so that all your mailbox preferences, and app preferences are synced.
– Accounts support: GMAIL, EXCHANGE, IMAP and, POP3
– Push Notifications, with VIP and Custom actions.
– Push Notifications, full body preview and custom sound.
– Badge, Unread, Messages, and New
– Apple Watch app with glance and interactive notifications
– Customizable Swipes
– Thread and single message support
– Snooze Messages
– Bulk Editing
– iCloud Sync Mac/iOS
– Multiple signatures
– Unified Inbox
– Horizontal layout
– 19 Languages
– 3D Touch quick access
– 3D Touch Peek and Pop
– iOS 9 Search API for Documents and Messages
– Share Composer Extension
– iCloud Sync Label color Mac/iOS
– iCloud Account settings sync Mac/iOS
– iCloud Preference sync Mac/iOS
– iCloud VIP sync
– Handoff Mac/iOS
SEARCH AND FILTERS
– Online Search
– Filter by Unread, Starred, Conversation, Today and Smart
– Bull icon to quick access to the message of one sender
– Quick per account single folder access
– Full label access
– Per single labels sync
– Quick access to recent labels
– Favorite labels
– Full Label creation and editing
– Document view with rich preview
– Unread, Today, Conversations, Contacts
– HTML rich composer
– Attachments resize
– Document Provider support in composer “Dropbox, Google Drive and much more”.
– Signature swipes
– Composer Extension
– Online Drafts
– Send and Archive
– Undo actions
– Transfer on different accounts
– Multiple signature
– Operation view
– Attachment view
– Contacts view
– Mark as unread on open
– Google Directory Search
– Exchange Global Address List
– Contacts Group messages
– Auto CC/BCC
– Snooze defer messages
– Move and Labels
– Mark as Unread
– Mark as Starred
– Mark as Spam
– To Do, Memo, Done
– Send to Calendar
– Send to iOS Extension
– Create a Searchable PDF
– Transfer to a different account
– Universal link Mac/iOS
– Add to sender to VIP
– Empty Trash and Spam
– Mark full mailbox as read
– Archive all messages
Spark is similar to Airmail in that it packs as many features as possible into a single client. It has a nice smooth user interface as well as a suite of features that aim to take some of the pain out of managing high-volume email accounts.
“App Store Best of 2015” – Apple.
Spark makes it easy to work through your inbox faster than ever before. No matter if it’s one new message or hundreds, you can do it in a couple of minutes. Moreover, Spark is fun, friendly and fully customizable!
“Spark for iPhone is a fast, smart way to manage your email” – The Verge.
“I’ve been using Spark for about a week and it’s finally become my default mail client.” – TechCrunch.
“Spark is a new email app that does a lot right.” – LifeHacker.
Smart Inbox automatically detects if an email is personal, a notification or a newsletter and groups it with similar emails for easy processing. With just a glance, you can see if emails are important or just a product announcement from a service you’ve never used.
We all love the feeling of accomplishment when we have finally dealt with our inbox. Spark makes this easy to achieve. Quickly process your emails, swiping to archive or delete as necessary. Pin emails which relate to things you need to do today, or quickly swipe left to archive those you’ve already dealt with. If you can’t finish a task today, swipe to snooze for tomorrow or another day (if you’re really busy).
Quick replies let you reply to a message with just a tap. Like an email, say thanks, or send a smile by tapping the relevant button at the bottom of any email. This is especially handy on Apple Watch, where you can quickly reply to an email on your wrist. Need a longer reply? Just dictate!
A few more reasons to love Spark:
See all of your important email at a glance, with a unified inbox which knows the difference between a personal email, a notification and a newsletter.
Use natural language to search through your emails. Type “attachments from Alex last week” to see all the emails sent to you last week by Alex with an attachment.
Quickly swipe between signatures when composing an email, to choose the one that’s best suited.
**INTEGRATIONS WITH TOOLS YOU USE**
Integrate Sparks with tools like Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, Readability, Pocket, Evernote and OneNote to easily attach files from these services to your emails.
Let your friends and colleagues quickly know what you thought about their email with one tap to send a “Like”, “Thanks” or “Smile reply.
Enable Smart Notifications to only be disturbed by emails you care about.
Save attachments to iCloud Drive, Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Readability, Pocket, Evernote, OneNote or any application on your iPhone.
**SAVE EMAILs AS PDFs**
Need to refer to an email at a later date? Save it as a PDF to view later on your iPhone or save it to the cloud to access anywhere.
**CUSTOMIZATION AND PERSONALISATION**
Customize Spark’s widgets and sidebars to match your workflow.
Add the calendar widget to quickly see all of your event invitations at a glance. Respond to invitations and save them to your phone’s calendar with just a tap.
**APPLE WATCH APP**
Quickly manage and reply to your emails from your wrist. Tap one of our quick responses or dictate a longer message, all while your phone stays in your pocket.
Sparks is designed to look great on your iPhone and Apple Watch. The content of your emails is always the priority.
**ATTENTION TO DETAILS**
We’ve spent over 18 months sweating every detail and interaction of Spark. We hope that you’ll love using it as much as we loved making it!
Last but not least is Microsoft Outlook, the iPhone email app that I personally use. It is without question the fastest and most reliable iOS email app I’ve come across, and it has nearly all of the key features I need. There are definitely a few areas where it could be improved but for my money, Outlook is the best option out there for email on the iPhone.
Meet Outlook for iOS, the app that helps millions of users connect all their email accounts, calendars and files in one convenient spot. Newly redesigned, Outlook for iOS lets you do more from one powerful inbox.
See what matters most first with the Focused inbox that keeps the important messages on top. Switch between your emails and calendar to schedule your next meeting or share your availability with just a few taps. Or grab a document from your Files list and attach it to an email seamlessly.
With everything you need only a tap away, managing your busy days is now easier than ever.
Outlook for iOS works with Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, Outlook.com (including Hotmail and MSN), Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and iCloud.
Here’s what you’ll love about Outlook for iOS:
Seamless inbox management
– A “Focused” inbox that displays your most important messages first. The more you use it, the smarter it gets.
– Swipe gestures to quickly schedule, delete and archive messages.
– Smart filters to help you sort through your inbox.
Easy access to calendar and files
– Share your meeting availability with just a tap and easily find times to meet with others.
– View and attach any file from your email, OneDrive, Dropbox, and more, without having to download them to your phone.
Work on the go
– Open Word, Excel, or other Office document attachments to edit them directly in the corresponding app and attach them back to an email.
– Set your Out of Office messages directly from your iPhone or iPad.
– Multitask seamlessly on iPad with full Split View support in iOS 9.