Well, it seems like all good things eventually come to an end. Mailbox is shutting down on February 26, but it certainly built up quite a name for itself since it made email so hugely easy to manage and take control of. But with support coming to an end, it’s time to look elsewhere.
Surely you probably don’t want to switch back to your old inbox filled with clutter and junk and seemingly no way out. But there are some really great alternatives to Mailbox that have emerged for both iOS and Android recently. So if you’re ready to make the switch to a new mail client, check out these two free Mailbox alternatives.
As I’m writing this I hear the collective groan of everyone reading, so give me a chance to explain. Microsoft Outlook’s mobile client has gotten downright good recently. Microsoft worked hard at redesigning the interface and including modern emailing tools to boost productivity. Many of these tools and features took cues from Mailbox and since that’s the service you’re switching from, you should feel right at home using Outlook.
Like Mailbox, Outlook supports multiple email services: Outlook, iCloud, Yahoo, Gmail, Exchange as well as any IMAP email. It also includes gestures for quickly archiving messages and scheduling messages to deal with at a future time or date. And if you’re dealing with inbox overload, the Focused inbox will show you just your important messages first, which learns more about your habits as you use it.
Plus, because it’s Outlook, it includes plenty of productivity features for business users. You can quickly access your entire calendar within the app, send attachments from online services like OneDrive and Dropbox and send availability based on the free time you have on your calendar. You can also view all your attachments at a glance in the Files tab.
It’s certainly no Mailbox in terms of simplicity, but many might be surprised at just how good Outlook has become at email again. It’s available on iOS and Android too, so everyone can see for themselves.
Even though this option on the list is for iOS users only, it has become the most popular alternative to Mailbox due to the striking similarities. Yet in my experience, I actually prefer Spark to Mailbox and now use it as my daily email client. Here’s why.
Like Outlook, Spark works with all of your familiar email services like Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook and Exchange. Then it combines them all together and creates an amazing Smart Inbox. Your main unread messages appear right in the top category followed separately by newsletter messages, pinned items (read: flagged or starred) and finally the rest of your read messages in the inbox.
You can also very easily use gestures to interact with messages. Swipe right to archive or delete, swipe left to pin or snooze messages to deal with later.
Tip: You can also in a single swipe archive or mark all messages in one inbox category like read or unread. That’s easily one of my favorite features.
Use the sidebar to switch between your accounts, view other folders or browse all your attachments at once. And speaking of attachments, Spark lets you hook up multiple online storage accounts like Dropbox so you can fetch files from multiple places, not just from your iPhone. The glue that binds all this together is smart search, which lets you search through everything using natural language input like Fantastical and it works beautifully.
There’s really no reason to dislike Spark, except for maybe the fact that it’s not available for Android yet or even iPad. That side, Spark really brightens up the often dreaded task of managing email.