Best email apps for iPhone: How to get to inbox zero!

Best email apps for iPhone: How to get to inbox zero!

Looking for the best iPhone apps to replace the built-in Mail app? Email is an important part of both our professional and personal lives. Nowadays most people have multiple inboxes to manage and lots of messages to sort through. While the built-in Mail app has a lot of features and the home-turf advantage, it doesn't have everything. Luckily, that's why there are lots of alternatives to choose from in the App Store. But which mail apps for iPhone are the absolute best to choose from?


Best email apps for iPhone: Dispatch

Dispatch is not only one of the most versatile and powerful inbox apps, it supports a plethora of other third party apps, including TextExpander, Pocket, Evernote, Things, Omnifocus, and many more. Dispatch also supports email aliases, image attachments, Touch ID, and much more. Although Dispatch doesn't support native push, it supports fetch and badges which may be enough for some.

You'll be hard pressed to find an email app that works as well with other apps and services as Dispatch does, as long as you can do without push notifications and snooze options.


Best email apps for iPhone: Mailbox

Mailbox by Dropbox lets you quickly swipe messages to archive, delete, snooze, or file them to a list. When marking for later, Mailbox allows you to decide when you'd like messages to return to your inbox. This means you can focus on only the emails that are important to you right at that moment. Mailbox also has Dropbox integration, making attachment upload easy, and supports push notifications. A Mac version of Mailbox is also available in beta and is already available for iPad.

If you use Gmail or iCloud and rely heavily on Dropbox for email attachments, Mailbox is a solid option.


Best email apps for iPhone: Boxer

Boxer, like many others, is gesture driven and allows you to quickly swipe your way to inbox zero. Boxer, however, has support for to-do lists and many more advanced features other clients can't touch. Boxer's dashboard feature gives you a quick look at everything you have in your inbox and other sections of your mailbox. This translates to you being able to quickly see what needs your attention and what can wait until later. Boxer supports pretty much every email account you could have with the exception of POP3 accounts.

If you like clean interfaces like Mailbox but want Exchange support or more advanced features, Boxer is what you want.


Best email apps for iPhone: Hop

Hop is a wonderful email app that throws away everything we've come to expect with traditional email. Instead, Hop transforms your emails into conversations just like you'd see when launching an instant messaging or texting app. Hop supports Google, Yahoo, AOL, and iCloud accounts and offers native push notifications that are customizable on a per thread basis. Other features unique to Hop are groups and calling between you and other Hop users.

For a unique email app that transforms the way you think and view email, combined with powerful workgroup options, check out Hop.


Best email apps for iPhone: Triage

Triage isn't based around traditional mailboxes, folders, and message lists. Instead, Triage displays your inbox messages as a stack of cards. The idea is simple: swipe a mail card up to archive it, and down to keep it. If you have the time and inclination to do more, you can tap on a card and get more traditional mail tools, like reply and forward, but only when and if you want to. Triage currently supports Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, iCloud, and many other 3rd party mail clients through IMAP.

While it shouldn't be most people's primary mail app, Triage can help you get to the bottom of your inbox in no time.

Your pick for best email app for iPhone?

We know that everyone's email workflow is very different and on some levels, quite personal. While these are the choices we think will cater to the widest number of users, we're interested to know what clients you're using, why, and how they're improved your productivity and ability to manage your inbox. Let us know in the comments below!

Note: Originally published, June 2014. Updated, December 2014.

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 apps for iPhone: How to get to inbox zero!


I like Triage a lot and use it when I'm traveling, especially at trade shows. My Mobile Nations/iMore accounts get swamped with junk and it's a really fast way to sort it.

That said, I'm still using for my main mailbox. Being built into the system just has so many advantages, and the new iOS 7 stuff is good enough I'm not wandering.

I'm almost the exact same. I was using Mailbox just to handle certain gmail accounts that i didn't need notifications for but wanted to pop in and clear out from time to time.

I've found Triage to be super helpful with iMore stuff and the rest I use the default iOS app for. Folder mapping is a must for me.

I like Mailbox. Since I do a lot if eBay selling, I need something to keep my inbox clean. This does the trick.

Sent from the iMore App

I love Boxer but right now I am using iOS 7 and it's not compatible with it at the moment so I am using the default iOS Mail app.

+1. I use boxer everyday and love it. The animations when you swipe away an item is a bit odd at first, but now that i've adjusted to it, doesn't bug me any more. Tried Mailbox, but wanted something with the ability to manage different email outside of gmail.

I had syncing issues with I'm using Mailbox. I really like the snoozing feature as there are lots of emails I have to take care of at a later time.

I've used them all. I keep going back to Mailbox (for the to do list) and Sparrow for folders etc. One thing that I like is having a conversation view. Meaning my replies are shown with the received emails. Both Mailbox and Sparrow do this.

I really really want to use Dispatch but because it has no folder support or alias support it just sits there. I wish they would have put effort into things people wanted. Instead they added "Call with Skype" in their first update. Sheesh.

Can Dispatch show notifications yet on the lock screen? Mailbox makes all those other folders in my gmail. Boxer is okay...

I used the gmail app until iMore posted about mailbox which I now use its faster than the gmail app and is feels smoother, it feels like it plays nicer with everything else.

Using mailbox here for the swipe features. While we can do the same thing on gmail and mail, mailbox makes it really easy and fun to do so. There is that inexplicable sense of satisfaction when I swipe away an email after I am done with it.

Honestly. A jail broken iPhone and MailEnhancer is the best option. These other apps are junk compared to it.

Is it ok to say that I hate most email apps?

I have tried to persevere with Google's Gmail app but the new inbox system just drives me mad on iOS, sure on the web client its ok (and I use the term loosely) but on a four inch screen it just doesn't work.

I like the idea of Mailbox but I also have an iCloud account which means I am stuck with Apple's own mail client. Not perfect but who uses email anyway?

I was just looking at Boxer and they upped the price after this article came out to 3.99. Looks like I am sticking with Mailbox for my Dropbox integration. Smooth and free!

Sent from the iMore App

interesting that you laugh. I actually have noticed mine doesn't autocorrect lots of things. Like if I type "dont" it won't correct it by adding and apostrophe. And it autocorrects "hell" to he'll all the time. I had to go add an exception to it. I'm not disputing your claim but i've found the autocorrect hit or miss. It be nice if i could easily add words to the dictionary too that would not come up as incorrect or autocorrect. Like often i will use slang in text that get's autocorrected when i don't want it too. It would be nice to have a one click interface to simply "add to dictionary" or something.

I laughed because it was such a massive understatement. the iOS autocorrect is terrible. I really wish they had something like SwiftKey, which can learn overtime and is a better keyboard to boot.

On a side-note, the Internet really needs a good way to denote sarcasm in a comment.

You should see how it works with Italian... Terrible. Especially before iOS 7 release...
Actually he's doing much better. But far from perfection.
A huge bug.

I find IQTell a great one-stop shop for managing email, creating action items, tracking action items, my calendars and e-document management. IQTell syncs my Evernote account, so I can search for a significant percentage of my stored reference material. If it sync'd with the G-drive accounts, IQTell would be my sole launching pad.

IQTell has allowed me to get to zero emails 2 or 3 times a week - compared to maybe once a month.

I just signed up for IQTELL and started using it. My email account is IMAP, I use Evernote and keep my calendar in sync via iCloud, so far I'm really impressed with how it ties everything together. My concern isn't to get to a zero inbox, but more be able to tie all the bits of information in a way a relational database would and then retrieve it quickly and easily.

I wish the iOS version would be more like the web version but for free, this seems to be the first application that is as close to what I've been looking for.

I have been testing out Mailbox for a few weeks and I am kinda mixed on it. I have to open the app to clear the badge and new message count which is insanely annoying. I contacted them about that bug and they didn't seem too eager to fix it. They asked how many messages were in my inbox at the time, and I told them, and then they never responded again. It's also faster to just open spam and junk to delete it than the "slow" swipe bec it just doesn't register the slow swipe and archives it anyway.

I mostly use it now as a push notification system, and went back to using the stock mail app. Then every once in a while I start Mailbox to clear the notification, which regardless of how many new messages I actually have, the badge is only stuck on 1.

It's great but a little bit slow when reading up/completing the conversation thread.
I will go with Molto for similar experience.

thexyz email app is great for iphone and lets me get push email delivered and syncs my contacts and calendar with the webmail.

I think at this point we need a feature matrix comparing the many iOS email clients out there.
So Mailbox, Boxer, Seed, Triage, Evomail, Dispatch, Triage, Sparrow, Lightmail, Altamail, Gmail App, IQTell... Cloze, eMailGanizer Pro, and probably many others lurking around on the iTunes Store.

...and yet... I hate them all!! Ok no, "hate"is too strong a word. What I suppose I meant to say is that, in my humble opinion, every single one of the many, many options are subpar at best.

When I got my iPhone, I was using gmail until they got rid of push and decided that my emails are no longer private. When I looked around for a premium email provider I was recommended to try lavabit but they then shut down, so I went back to research and found thexyz which has been fantastic. A smaller company but they migrated me over and have been very impressed with mobile iPhone support.

You should add Sparrow to the list. The company was purchased by Google a few months ago and the Gmail app has started to look very similar. The BEST part of all is that if you have a jail broken iphone, this app supports PUSH email for any IMAP account (assuming provider supports IMAP IDLE command, which most do). I get my emails pushed to my phone faster than blackberry. I love showing off this feature. (You need to seperately download the addon that adds the push functionality once you phone is jail broken.)

Hi Allyson!
Great article but i have to say I've been using mxHero lately. It brings better control, privacy to email. They started using it at work and now I've downloaded their Chrome extension and use it along my gmail account. So far it's been quite a deal. Many cool features to explore!
I leave u the link in case you wanna check it out:

Hi to everybody!
As I don't like Mail, I'm always looking for the best app for mails.
I tried Sparrow but found it horrible.
I used Mail Pilot for few days some months ago but I didn't like it. Moreover many users are commenting that it doesn't work fine.
I tried Mailbox for a while with Gmail, like it, but it doesn't support iCloud and I want an app supporting it and with a common inbox.
I tried Molto (former Incredimail), very nice but while on iPad works fine, on iPhone it does not.
Moreover, email sent with Molto sometimes were considered as spam by the receivers.

Looking for something else, I found this post!
I've just chosen Boxer, its characteristics sound good to me and, something I missed on Molto and, if I'm not wrong, on Mailbox, I can mark an email as spam!

Someone wrote it's note compatible with iOS7 but they just released a compatible version (dating November 2013).


I'm using Seed Mail now, it has simple user interface and quite efficient way to navigate. One thing for sure, Seed Mail has the great and stable Push Notifications then any others. It has some issues with connecting some accounts / servers.
Molto is a great mail client, best GUI & gesture based for iPhone mail app so far, but current version can't keep up with my speed - I need fast and more responsive mail app.
Lightmail is very close similar to Seed Mail, but poor in displaying the email content.
My vote is Seed Mail for the winner, and Molto for Runner Up :)

Thanks for the article - I just downloaded Altamail after reading the comments. This is the first app I have found that allows me to completely mange my email from my iPad!

I'm currently using myMail as my email client and I'm not regretting my switch from mailbox. MyMail is a relatively new app so it has its glitches but it's still out standing app and I strongly recommend testing it out! :)

I'm also using myMail and liking it so far. What I didn't like about the iPhone/iPad mail app was that to mark a message as spam or trash you had to open it. myMail lets you select messages for moving to Trash or whatever without having to open them all. A HUGE PLUS in my book. Setting up POP MAIL accounts was much easier than I expected, and it also allows you to receive Push notifications as well as to set a time when you wish not to receive notifications or mail. So far so good!

I know it is new and in limited beta, but I have been using Acompli for a couplr of weeks now and its a very refreshing experience. The HTML rendering of Boxer is horrible, had to shelve it till the guys at Boxer fix that but Acompli is an interesting take on Email and Calendars.

For me (and my work Exchange/Office 365 environment) I use Boxer. I've tried Acompli, however it doesn't have the ability to snooze messages/treat messages as actions/tasks. Also Acompli may or may not store more information than my company would like server side somewhere (in my limited research I'm still not clear if they act as a middle man).

Here are my main points for Boxer, ability to configure left and right swipes to what you want, ability to triage e-mail without opening, great search features, dashboard for a single view of inbox and to-do, all action buttons are at the bottom of the screen when opening a message (rather than having to press buttons at the top, what is wrong with UI design with so many apps), ability to handle spam, evernote/dropbox/facebook/linkedin/twitter/box integration, quick reply templates (think text expander) and a general ability to configure things to you own taste.

It's not all sunshine and rainbows, I find selecting text within messages doesn't work properly & sometimes opening messages to see content takes a while, but for these rare moments I'm mostly happy.

PS - For my personal GMail, I use Mailbox (that I do love quite a bit), but given it stores quite a bit of e-mail content server side, I'm afraid it just won't do in a corporate situation.

I've been using CloudMagic for a while now and really like it. Very simple to use. Close to the Touchdown app I use to use with Android. I've not yet grasped all the gesture type apps...

I've tried Mailbox and Boxer but always went back to Then got the opportunity to try a beta from Acompli. It's good. Very good. But the one thing it lacks is the ability to mail to multiple recipients stored as a group in my contacts. That and it doesn't display the messages quite as nice as the Apple offering. What I like about Acompli is that it enables you to look at your calendar while still in the app and even send your availability to someone if they suggest or request a meeting. Plus it can show you a list of emails that contain attachments. There are other features too, but like I said, I keep going back to There's just something about the built in client that appeals to me most. Maybe because of it's seamless interaction with the OS.

I've tried so many different clients and they all have pros and cons. Unfortunately none are perfect yet. After what Rene and Allyson have said about working better on ios 7 I'm thinking of going back to this. I just wish that you didn't have to decide whether to default to archive or delete with and that with a swipe gesture you could have the choice of both.
Can any of you tell me whether the handles archiving of gmail properly now? I.e. Changing the label to allmail, rather than having a separate archive.

Sent from the iMore App

Acompli? A lot of my coworkers have started using it. Calendar and easy access to all attachments makes it a great client for work email. Me personally, I may be in the minority but I prefer the gmail app.

Sent from the iMore App

got boxer when had a "bundle" on a bunch of iOS apps and it's awesome. it's a bit slower than, but infinitely more functional than I only use the when its defaulted in an app.

Does anyone know of a mail app that lets you sort email by sender, flag status etc? I am hoping for something similar to the sort filters available in Outlook desktop.

Inky Mail lets you do that. At the top of the message list, there are several controls for filter, sort, and grouping.

I just moved from Mailbox to Boxer after seeing it in action on a friend’s iPad. Boxer has all the features I liked in Mailbox but seems faster and I love the “quick” text templates and label support. I could never get used to how Mailbox creates its own folders/labels that look a mess on the web and in other apps. The one thing they both can’t handle is certain types of encoding that always end up garbled, but look fine in iOS Mail. So perhaps I move back to that in iOS 8, the new features sounded good in the sneak preview.

CloudMagic is my favorite. It is free, and supports all the major mail account types, including Exchange. It is gesture based as well, and also has a great archive feature and a cards feature that integrates with many popular apps. It has been updated for iOS 8. I think it deserves more attention.

I am currently using both Cloud Magic and MyMail. I've had MyMail first and just recently downloaded Cloud Magic. In terms of speed, MyMail wins. Although not "slow", Cloud Magic has seconds in delay compared to MyMail. Cloud Magic looks very professional with it's simple, minimalistic feel. MyMail, on the other hand has the perfect amount of colour. Just as described by the developers, it is very visual. With Cloud Magic on iOs8 you have the option to mark it as read or delete it right at the notification centre. Something you cannot do with MyMail.

Is there an update to this article? I'd love to find a Mailbox app alternative that supports Exchange and snoozes emails in a simple format. Mailbox simply crashes and freezes my iphone too much.

Have used most of these, and as this is an old article (apparently, from the replies here from over a year ago?), I would suggest putting Google's new Inbox in there. It's really been the best solution for me.

I use acompli but since Microsoft just bought them I have a feeling I will need to find another service.

I've tried Inbox a bit but it still feels rather under cooked. It has potential, but right now I'm still using her stock Apple Mail app.

I use specifically and exclusively for my personal iCloud mail account, which is for family and close friends only. For my Gmail and Yahoo Mail accounts, I chose MyMail. The interface is a bit cartoonish for my taste, but it works the best and has the right mix of features for my needs. I purposely did NOT want a unified inbox, because these two email accounts serve very different purposes and I wanted to always deal with them separately.

I went back to using exclusively; and with the improved gesture support, it's now much faster to triage email.

Sent from the iMore App

I've found on my iPad to be good for this, faster than on my Mac...for some time Mac has been slow, a little better w/10.10.1, but, still iPad faster. But, I've been using Apple's (OS X & iOS) exclusively for too long. 2 questions:

1) would like something that I only have to set up once (I use Mail on my Mac, 4 accounts, using iCloud & iCloud keychain... turn on mail in iOS devices, all it picks up is .icloud mail account. :( )

2) before I go digging deeper, I don't need push, DO need gmail (IMAP), iCloud & POP3 compatibility (wish you had a table showing things like this.), need to sort mail so I can get to the real mail first.

I am still looking for a mail app that will have bigger font, for example the gmail app, the font is way way too small, same with inbox by google. The stock is a little bit better with the font but still small.

I use mailbox for all my Google app email accounts from colleges. I use Inbox by Google for my main personal email. I also use the Yahoo Mail app to check my old Yahoo Mail account. I also use the have the Gmail app and I use the Mail app for my work email and my Comcast account.

I wanted to try it out but it has no IMAP support. I don't use exchange anymore. If not for that, this would be my choice as well. But whats up with that. NO Imap???

How about a 3rd party email app that supports IOS8's sharing functionality? You have no choice right now if you want to share something but the built in email client.

Ive been totally digging CloudMagic for about a week now. Has lots of the same features, integrates with many 3rd party services like pocket, and the coolest thing is once I add an account to my phone or iPad, it shows up on the other automagically and I love that.

Accompli is my current fave.. Great filtering and built in file viewer, contacts cal etc.. Like a mini outlook very cool.. Cloud magic as well for different reasons. Clean awesome ergonomics and connects well to Evernote, note etc...

Sent from the iMore App

I use a combo of Mailbox and the built in mail app. If Mailbox could bring Exchange support and access to foldersit would be perfect.

Sent from the iMore App

I like this new app called Inbox Cube ...i think its relatively new but it's really user-friendly and groups all your attachments into cubes (i.e. photos, videos, documents, etc) ...worth the try if you get lots of attachments on a daily basis.

Thanks for sharing your great thoughts and practical experiences. Here are three innovations that can make busy professionals even more effective: (a) inbox that automatically prioritizes your email by learning from you (like Pandora or TiVo)so you can stay focused on your important emails (b) inbox that can intelligently read out a prioritized summary of your inbox or only disturbs you when a new important email arrives, especially helpful while driving, running or commuting (like your music apps, how about converting your inbox into a smart radio?), and (c) intuitive workflow management to keep track of your To Do list by due date and priority that automates email productivity best practices (like GTD but fully automated and simplified). We do acknowledge that everyone has their individual email management habits, and nothing can replace your native mailbox or specialized project management tools, but intelligent tools like InboxMind can provide a significant email productivity boost without having you to change your behavior. Please check us out at . We welcome your support, feedback and comments bringing this product to life in January 2015!

I just switched from Droid to iphone for the very first time and the mail client for iphone does not have a feature to select all your e-mails to delete. You have to delete them individually. What the hell is wrong with Apple? What were they thinking or not? I receive 1000's of e-mails and I'll be damned if I have to delete one-at-a-time. Can anyone recommend a good mail client that has this antiquated feature?