I have my favorite, but it may not line up with the way you manage email. Let me know what you think in the comments. One thing to keep in mind, I am looking at iPhone only. Some apps work better if you use their macOS counterpart, but I am just looking at the iPhone experience. My concern is that a lot of other apps are innovating with email. That list came out of this article.
Going Native- Back to the Mail App
Apple Mail works great, but a lot of apps are rethinking email where Apple is settling for the standard-quo. Microsoft bought Acompli back in , and launched the original version in It includes a smart inbox sort between important emails and non-important ones. It contains customizable swipes delete, archive, etc. You can also schedule messages to show back up in your inbox. This feature is useful if you want to make an email disappear until you are back at work, etc.
It includes a built-in Calendar negating the need for a separate calendar app that can pull in iCloud, Google, Exchange, Outlook, and Yahoo calendars. Because it integrates everything into a single app, you can easily share availability for meetings right inside the app. Overall, Outlook is awesome. I originally tried Airmail when it was first released, and it has seen a constant stream of updates since then.
Airmail features an extensive list of apps to integrate with. The action list of items you can take on a message is long. Design wise, Airmail has done a great job of staying with iOS design trends while having its unique style. The last thing I want to say about Airmail is almost everything is customizable. If you want an email app with a lot of knobs to tinker with, Airmail is going to fit in with your workflows. Spark is one of the newcomers to the third party email app market, but it has had constant enhancements since it was released. Feature-wise, Spark includes a smart inbox to help organize your email into buckets like newsletters, pinned, new, seen, etc.
It also includes the ability to snooze emails, send later, email follow up reminders, smart notifications , and tons of integrations with third-party apps Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive, etc. The results were incredibility interesting to see. These were the most common features readers look for when shopping for an iOS mail app:. Prior to iOS 9, this would have been a very different article. In fact, the main thing missing is support for the share sheet with the actual message contents and support for snoozing messages. With the inability to change the default client in iOS, a case can be made that Mail.
The fundamentals of email are all the same: Compose, send, read, reply, and organize. Third-party apps make themselves indispensable because of the details. While not everyone needs all of these features, we felt like this was a good guide to help us as we examined the market. After much debate and testing, we chose Outlook for iOS as the best iPhone email app. Outlook for iOS is not necessarily a new product, but rather a rebranded one.
How to replace Apple Mail on the iPhone or iPad, and why you might want to
The original name was Acompli , but Microsoft purchased it in and has been hard at work with updates. Do I want it to be a complete departure from the normal look and feel of iOS? No, but I want a unique experience. Outlook has 5 icons across the bottom: Mail, Calendars, Files, People, and Settings. You are only one tap away from getting what you need.
Gmail vs the iOS Stock Mail app for iPhone. What should you use?
It uses a light theme with black and blue text throughout. I know some people like darker themes, but I feel like the design is very easy on the eyes. From a usability perspective, Outlook really shines. It provides me with just enough options to make it my own, but not so many that I am overwhelmed or spend time tinkering. I love the built-in calendar function. I love being able to see email and my schedule in one app. The compose screen is simple to use as well. It allows me to change which account I am sending from, add files, photos, send calendar invites, or see my calendar availability a feature from its acquisition of the Sunrise Calendar app.
One important aspect of all third-party email apps is which types of email services it supports. Outlook supports Office , Outlook. Outlook has support for iPhones with 3D Touch features. From the 3D Touch menu, you can hop right to your calendar, create a new event, or start a new email. I find myself using the View Calendar function frequently.
A Notification Center widget and watchOS app are included as well. Focused Inbox sorts your email so you see the important ones first. It does this by considering past emails from a particular sender and your address book. You can also reclassify emails as you go in order to help train it.
The calendar feature can also notify you of upcoming appointments as well as send short emails letting the people in your meeting know you are running late. Outlook offers a feature that allows you to control which folder your snoozed emails are stored.
Your options for snoozing are in a few hours, this evening, tomorrow morning, or a custom time. Like I mentioned earlier, I love the fact that Outlook has a built-in calendar. It also has native support for a number of file systems. There is a file screen that shows your most recent files for cloud document apps, as well as making saving attachments faster. These are currently only available to users with Office email addresses, however.
Overall, Outlook is a great Mail. The next app that I ended up moving all of my email accounts to is an example of the opposite situation. In , Microsoft purchased the popular email app Acompli, to the chagrin of many loyal users. However, instead of killing it, they simply rebranded the app as Outlook for iOS, and then put significant time and money into improving it and adding new features.
Microsoft also purchased the popular calendar app Sunrise, and integrated it into Outlook, turning it into a full Personal Information Management app. I already have a preferred Calendar and Task app in Pocket Informant from Fanatic Software, so that part of Outlook never interested me. However, the mail features were exactly what I was looking for at the time. Outlook took the best features from apps like Mailbox, with scheduling, customizable swipes, and pull to refresh. However, the best part was that, where Mailbox was limited to Gmail for a significant portion of its life, Outlook worked with every email service imaginable.
It was capable of being a full iOS email replacement, and it served in that role for me for a couple of years. Just like with the Notes app, I made note of recent upgrades from Apple as they were announced. However, I still rarely used the app after the release of iOS What got me to take a hard second look at Mail was a run of issues that I experienced with Outlook. I started having some problems with lockups and crashes in the app over a month, which went from an annoyance to a legitimate hinderance to use.
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- Gmail vs the iOS Stock Mail app for iPhone. What should you use?!
- 11 thoughts on “Going Native- Back to the Mail App”;
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I manage the majority of my work email on my iPhone and iPad, so this was not something I could just overlook. I also had a LOT of problems with the Watch version of the app over an even longer period, which I had used extensively to triage and delete incoming emails without having to get my iPhone out. The last straw for Outlook, at least as my primary email app, was when it failed to show some standard forwarded content that I needed in an important email.
The sender sent me this particular email two or three times, even trying different email accounts, but nothing worked. After over a month of problems, this was the last straw.
If one thing can be said for past versions of iOS Mail, they were reliable. The ability to swipe an email draft that you are working on down and out of the way, and go look up additional information in other emails is a no-brainer. In fact, you can have multiple drafts open at once and move between them using this feature. Now that I am using Mail again, I find that I use this often with it always in front of me. The next upgrade to Mail that I am finding very helpful is the enhanced filtering features that have been added.
This used to be a weakness of the app in the past, but Apple turned it into a strength in iOS Now there is a filter button in the bottom-left corner than can be set up and adjusted however you prefer. You can see here that the setup is very flexible, with options to include or remove any email account, unread emails, flagged emails, how the email is addressed, attachments, or your email VIPs. Whatever changes you make are saved, so they can be reused until adjusted again.
Apple also added quick links to several different filtering categories that can be enabled and added to the main email navigation menu. These links give you access to common items, such as flagged or unread emails, emails with attachments, emails from today, drafts, all sent messages, all trash, and others. I happened upon them days later while re-organizing the order of my email accounts in the navigation menu. There they all were, sitting idle since they are disabled by default.
If a guy who writes about iOS has to go hunting for a feature, you can bet many users will never know about it. Another feature that Apple is beginning to roll out across its native apps is AI enhancement. In some cases, it is Siri recognizing forms and fields and giving you one-touch selection capability from the keyboard. In the case of Mail, it is mostly related to recognizing emails from contacts, and finding differences between the information in their emails, and what you have in Contacts.
Apple has made plenty of statements about their recently expanded work on Siri and AI that can both search your data and take actions, but also preserve your privacy. The AI features in Mail absolutely have to be expanded in iOS 11, but everyone has to start somewhere. I would be more critical if Apple had been more ambitious and had added something less reliable. Starting small with something that works well is a smarter move. Another addition to Mail in iOS 10 is message threading.
Here is another feature that pretty much all of the competition has added over the last few years. Users can also determine how messages are ordered, and if emails from other folders appear within threads.