Email Apps

I’ve been using email for over 35 years (no typo) and I’m still surprised by the clever new ideas I see in the best email apps. Email apps can add an email to a reading list, or turn it into an item in your to-do list, or add an event to your calendar. Many have features for smart sorting of your email and to “snooze” an email for later. Many are beautiful and thoughtfully designed with gestures for touch-screen devices.

But what’s best for me is not necessarily what’s best for you. Below I run through some basics about email and make some recommendations for good apps to try.

Email Basics

Your email is delivered to and through an email server somewhere on the internet. Whether you are on Gmail, AOL, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, or your own (or your employer’s) domain like, your email goes to a server and waits there for you.

Many people read their email in a browser. But you can get useful features by using an email app, so I’ve noted some of the better ones below.

Except where noted, these apps can connect to all your email accounts, whether they are at a major provider like Google, Yahoo, AOL, or Microsoft, or on your company or personal domain. (Like

Email Apps for MacOS

There are a number of email apps available for the Mac. If you are also using an iOS device (iPhone or iPad), you may want to use the same family of apps there, to get a similar experience and set of features for your email across devices.

If you use Gmail (including Google Apps), I recommend you install the Chrome Browser.

Official site:

Apple Mail

The default Mail app for Macs is a solid email app for most people’s purposes. It works nicely with the rest of the Apple environment, including Contacts and Calendar. The latest versions that come with Mac OS X El Capitan and the soon-to-be-released macOS Sierra work very well with Gmail and Google Apps.


My current personal favorite email app is very pretty, and has nice features for sophisticated workflows with other apps that I use, including Evernote and Omnifocus. It’s worth looking into if you are more of a power-user of email or use supported productivity apps. Airmail is also available for iOS.

There are helpful reviews of Airmail:

Official site:


Postbox is a very powerful email app that a power-user of email might like — especially someone who has several email accounts to manage and wants to keep personal and professional email separated. You can read more about all it’s great features on the official site below.

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My go-to app for Gmail accounts for years, Mailplane gives you the standard Google interface inside of a nice app. It uses tabs for multiple accounts and it’s rock solid. I recommend it for Gmail and Google Apps users who don’t care about fancier features found in Airmail, Postbox, et. al.

Official site:


If any of your email is on Microsoft Exchange, then you certainly want to try Outlook. It also works nicely with Gmail, and with other email providers using IMAP and POP3. The iOS version, especially on the iPad, is worth checking out, too.

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Email Apps for iOS

The best apps on iOS take advantage of the touch interface for quick actions and are well-designed for the smaller screen. There is a huge variety, as you may have noticed if you’ve poked around the App Store. I can’t possibly address all the options, but here are a few that I like and work well across email services, including Google/Gmail.


The email app that comes with every iOS device is Apple’s own Mail. It’s a good email app and works well with the rest of the Apple and iOS environment. This review does a great job of talking about some of the more interesting and often overlooked features of Mail for iOS:

Official site:


As with the Mac version, Airmail features great “integrations” with other productivity apps on iOS, beyond just the built-in tools. If you like these features, get Airmail for both Mac and iOS. (Like me!) On iOS, the folks at Bloop have made a nice gesture-based interface for quickly handling your email on the small screen.

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Spark is beautiful, fast and flexible. It’s a favorite iOS email app for lots of productivity nerds and other who are fussy about this sort of thing,  Read about all its cool features:

Official site:


Microsoft’s latest is a really good email app for iOS, and even works well for Gmail users. As with the Mac version, if you use Microsoft Exchange for some or all of your email, it might be the best option. In any case, it’s worth checking out:

Official site:
Official Support site:

Inbox (for Gmail only)

This app is specialized for Google Apps and Gmail, and really works great.

Official site:


The original Gmail app for iOS is still available and kept up-to-date, and some people prefer it.

Official site:

Email Apps for Android

The Android market is vast, but it’s also well integrated in the Google ecosystem. If you’re using Google Apps and/or Gmail and you have android phones or tablets, then I recommend the Apps by Google: Inbox and Gmail.

Whatever apps you use for Android, I recommend sticking with the Google Play Store. Even with recent noise about security problems there, it’s a better bet than anywhere else for finding apps that work well and are from reputable developers.

Official site:

Email Apps for Windows

In the Windows world, Office reigns, and Outlook provides integrated email, contacts and calendar. It really is hard to beat, if this is your environment, and especially if some or all of your email is served by Microsoft Exchange. Maybe someone will tell me about a wonderful independent option — I’d love to hear about it.

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If you’re using Google Apps or Gmail on Windows, then a very good option is to download and use the Google Chrome browser and do all your email there.

Official site:

Email Apps for Linux

Although there are some email apps for Linux that can work, if you’re using Google Apps or Gmail, I recommend reading your email in the browser on Google Chrome. But if you’re nerdy enough to use Linux as your main computer OS, then you probably don’t need my advice. 😉

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That’s it for the Email apps for now. I will update this as I get feedback and learn about new email apps that are useful. Some people have already asked me about technical details of how email works, so I may do another post regarding all those crazy details. Until then, Enjoy!

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