Best email clients for Mac: Airmail, Postbox, Inky, and more!

Best alternative mail apps for Mac: Airmail, Postbox, Inky, and more!

From quick and easy to productivity powerhouse, these are the best alternative mail apps for Mac

OS X Maverick's comes with the perfectly serviceable — unless you're a hardcore Gmail user, but for some it's either too much email client... or not enough. Luckily, there are several really good email client alternatives for the Mac. But which is the best replacement for you? Here are our favorites!


Best alternative Mail apps for Mac: Airmail

Airmail is one of the most feature rich emails clients you're going to find for Mac that supports a plethora of different account types, including Exchange. If you archive mail to search later, you'll love the send and archive feature as well as the option to delete or archive mail via keyboard shortcuts. You've got a unified inbox, an unlimited number of accounts, support for aliases, Gmail shortcuts, and more. Airmail also integrates with Google Drive, Dropbox, CloudApp, and Droplr for attachments.

If you want complete control combined with lots of versatility, or need Exchange support, get Airmail.


Best alternative Mail apps for Mac: Inky

Inky aims to streamline the way we handle mail by sorting things by relevance, setting your work, social, and other kinds of emails into separate groups for you to deal with as you need to. One of the most convenient features of Inky is the unified login process. Create an Inky account and it remembers your settings. Need to set up Inky on another computer? Just sign in. That's it. All your account settings comes down.

If you need help organizing or compartmentalizing your email in order to know what needs your attention right now, get Inky.

Mail Pilot

Best alternative Mail apps for Mac: Mail Pilot

Mail Pilot, which is currently in public beta, can help you organize your inbox and keep it that way. For people who rely on email in order to conduct business or form their task lists, Mail Pilot's unique lists feature can help you do so. Combine that with the option to manage your inbox like a task list and integrate with Mail Pilot for iOS and you'll be organized in no time. Mail Pilot supports all standard IMAP accounts, has gesture control options, and support for aliases.

If your want a task list more than do an actual inbox, take a look at Mail Pilot.

See also:


Best alternative Mail apps for Mac: Postbox

Postbox is very much like Mac Mail but with more features and better actual, you know, mail handling. For Gmail users, Postbox supports labels, Gmail specific keyboard shortcuts, and more. Postbox also supports Dropbox for attachment handling which results in emails sending faster. One of my favorite features of Postbox is the Summarize feature when composing messages. You'll see all replies below in a quick to read summary without having to dig through past messages first. Postbox supports any POP or IMAP email types.

If you like Mac Mail but find it missing some basic functionality, Postbox is what you want.


Best alternative Mail apps for Mac: Unibox

Unibox is a different kind of email client for Mac that focuses more on a great visual experience than anything. Like all the others, your inbox is unified, but Unibox actually sorts by timeframe. Unibox currently supports Gmail, iCloud, Hotmail, IMAP enabled Exchange accounts, and more. Attachment handling in Unibox also allows for larger thumbnail previews inside emails without actually having to open anything. Unibox may not be a productivity power house but it wasn't meant to be.

For casual email users that want a more visually appealing experience than what Mac Mail offers, check out Unibox.

Your picks?

We know how much of a personal choice using mail clients are and while these are our favorite choices, we want to know what you use. Did you pick one of the mail apps mentioned above or do you use something else? Let us know what you use and why in the comments!

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

Best email clients for Mac: Airmail, Postbox, Inky, and more!


Nice to see a fellow coin backer. Great review Allyson. I use Inky and really like its clean interface, overall design and functionality.

Mailmate is easily the best mail app I've seen on OS X. You can find out more here:

Ultra-fast, great search, markdown support, responsive developer, strongly focused on IMAP standards, and so on.

These are all nice apps. I wish someone would come out with apps that are offered across all platforms. Great comparison and review on Mac mail apps.

Sent from the iMore App

I have used most of the clients listed but I would be probably be still sticking to because the other clients sadly don't support gpg :(

Postbox has support for GPG via an add-on. Postbox is based on Mozilla Thunderbird, and can use a variety of add-ons. Check the footer of the Postbox website for "Add-ons".

The gpg plug-in is Enigmail. I have used this on a variety of systems, both Mac and Windows. The direct link from postbox seems to be broken, so search for Enigmail.

(Adding links triggered comment spam blocking so, I removed them)

Actually, the most recent public beta of Airmail is vastly improved and includes plugin support, two of which are S/MIME and GPGTools encryption and digital signing. Other new features include vastly improved search and rules.

Apple's Mail app is one of those hidden gems on OSX

It's arguably the best mail user agent not on,y on the Mac, but on any platform.

Those app's only offer a cleaner interface...

Apple's Mail is a sad joke that has actually degraded in quality across recent versions. I say that from the perspective of administering mail servers and supporting Mac users professionally for many years. It has gone backwards in standards-compliance, features, and security since the Tiger era, while others have moved forward. Mail killed the Mac mail client market years ago because it was both free and relatively good, in some areas (e.g. IMAP support) better than commercial clients. There is now an explosion in commercial alternatives because Apple has mostly stood still with Mail and where they have moved, it has often been backwards.

An email tool is a personal choice. I've gone thru a few. Sparrow won my attention but once Google bought them out Airmail (which was Sparrow on steroids) was just coming out of beta. A year and a number of tweaks, Airmail is a great tool. Supporting gmail labels is a must.

The interface can be simple & clean but there is enough customization options to suit most person needs.

I've tried the, inky, mail pilot and I think they are all great but I stick to airmail, hands down my favorite and with all the customization and options, you can make it look simpler or feature full or however you like.

Do any of these clients have iOS versions that help keep the email experience the same or similar with iPhone, iPad, and Mac?

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This. I will say the Mac version plays nicely with push to device but it's still not as seamless as native options.

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I really like the style/GUI of Airmail. 2 toned GUIs seem to be a little popular, Apple should create a dark theme for many of their apps as well.

Nothing here is like Gmail. I like being to select all, multiple, unread, read, etc from that tiny drop down menu. I like being able to unselect an email and have nothing showing in the email box. Hands down, Gmail online blows doors on all the rest for my needs. Aliases, check. Send from: check. Set particular email as default, check. The options never end. I forward all my emails to one gmail account that I know longer use and then pick which email I need to be my default, so damn easy.

Mailer choice is a very personal thing because everyone uses mail differently, but for people who want deep and diverse functionality, insanely devoted developer support, a user community rich with mail tinkerers, standards compliance, and solid security support, MailMate is the obvious absence in this list.
Yes, it has a price. Yes, it has a utilitarian UI. It is a spiritual heir of Eudora in many ways, and costs about what Eudora Pro did when it was the dominant Mac mailer. I support users in addition to handling my personal jungle of mail, and MailMate is the only client that has gotten users who stuck with Eudora or Claris Emailer past their orphaning to stop their hunt for a satisfying replacement.

Gave Inky a try and it seems like it's relying on a lot of server functions, my multiple accounts grind the app to a halt pretty easily. May check again after some more development as some of the features look slick.

Airmail has been a great recommendation, have it all set up pretty easily and will give it a whirl as my daily driver as I've reached my breaking point with Mail. Its performance is absolutely fantastic and it had no trouble with my multiple accounts with huge mailboxes.

I'm honestly very close to sit on the God throne in field of email clients on all platforms except Windows.

Trying almost any client mentioned here, and all on Android and iOS, trust the list below and be sure that these are in consideration with the app to have a modern looking, otherwise not on the list.

For OS X:

1- Airmail: if you look for no trouble in addition of access to almost any possible feature on an email client, try this one. I have no idea if the client does not support a protocol from 15 years ago, but it does anything expected from a mail client. Lacks reminders!

2- Inky: Looks good and modern. Mostly works on cloud. You have one account for all your mail boxes. You get a lot of features but not as rich as Airmail. It's not completed yet for those who look for something that maybe less than 0.0001% of internet users are using. Lacks reminders and aliases as the main features.

3- Mail pilot: Very good looking as long as you do not open the source column. I wonder why it is not coloured in black even though it was supposed to be in the beginning. Probably a copy right thing with .mail concept. Still in beta and recently got the main features in an update. Try this app if you want to play around. It supports reminders and aliases both.

Other mail apps on Mac are not in the level that I and many others approve. Yes, some of them are very rich in features and do well BUT lack the other side of a good app, and that is a well done design. It matters, as it should give you a pleasant feeling everytime you wanna open it. I can design those apps in a way to have a better appealing than the three apps above, for that you may contact me here and I send you portfolio but you not gonna become anything in the long road because the rich feature and good looking Airmail is there and everyday you lose some users to them. Now sit there and change nothing till you shutdown the company. It is called competition and there is no place for communists on the net (Maybe to advertise).

Sorry for the English, so tired to write in a more structured pattern.

Inky is a really nice email client with a huge flaw. It will NOT link in any way with your contacts, be they on your computer or in an online account, such as Gmail. You can export a list of contacts from Gmail to Inky, but they're not kept up to date. My contacts change on a daily could I ever use Inky, no matter how much I like it.

Additionally, Inky becomes non-responsive several times daily. I like the app, but can not live with this.

AirMail doesn't have rules support, which I believe are elemental to any respectable e-mail client. I recently bought it and returned to Mail after 5 minutes. I can't live without rules for sorting. In the support forums of AirMail, they said they will add the functionality. Maybe I'll move back to AirMail when they do it.

Thanks for writing about Inky. Inky has an upgrade available today that makes it much faster to speed through your mail, and the search is now one of the best in email.

If you are going to get off gmail and need calendar, contacts etc you need to get a paid service. The cheapest (and best) I found is thexyz webmail at $1.95 per month for 25GB.

I'm on Airmail and I got here because it's started to take AGES (5-10 minutes) to load on start up. It's a known issue, but seems that the fix is not an easy one. Obviously this is an issue - but the other issue is an inability to add a rule... That spammer that gets you every morning from the same name... and the junk mail never figures it out. There should be a rule for him! :)
The slow upload is a real issue right now though. Hopefully they'll fix that. It seems to be reloading every email ever each time it starts. I fly a lot, so being "offline friendly" is pretty important for me. I think they'll claw it back... but right now it's gt issues.

Need a mail program that will send the email to my printer when a certain person/business sends me an email. I used to have this feature with my older Mac mail programs but has gone away after upgrades. Thanks!

Sadly, Airmail took a wrong turn.
they are dropping V1, putting out a V2, and charging again to the users.
So, if you already bought V1 (with several bugs still), you cant upgrade to a buggy V2.0, which is the same as V2 beta.
good product, bad management. slap on the face for all their users.