Best email apps for iPhone: Mailbox, Triage, Boxer, and more!

Best email apps for iPhone: Mailbox, Triage, Boxer, and more!

The best alternative mail apps for iPhone to increase your productivity, minimize your chaos, and get your inbox back under control!

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?

Triage

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, for anyone who gets tons of mail and just needs an incredibly quick way to get rid of the non-important stuff on the go, Triage can't be beat.

Mailbox

Best email apps for iPhone: Mailbox

Mailbox, recently acquired by Dropbox, uses a gesture-based interface that lets you quickly swipe messages to archive them, delete them, or mark them for later. When marking for later, Mailbox allows you to decide when you'd like 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 in the works and should be available later this year.

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

Dispatch

Best email apps for iPhone: Dispatch

Dispatch functions much in the same way Mailbox, with a gesture driven interface. The unique thing about Dispatch, however, is its ability to use snippets. These are excerpts that frequently find yourself using. Think of it as built-in TextExpander. You can categorize snippets and use them for whatever you'd like. And that's only the beginning, Dispatch supports tons of other third party apps too.

If you want a replacement mail app that plays nicely with tons of other third party apps along with the ability to create custom email templates, you want Dispatch.

Boxer

Best email apps for iPhone: Boxer

Boxer, like Mailbox and Dispatch, is gesture driven and allows you to quickly swipe your way to inbox zero. Boxer, however, has support for to-do lists and more. What may sway some folks towards Boxer is its dashboard feature. The dashboard gives you a quick look at everything you have in your inbox and other sections of your mailbox. It makes it easy to quickly see what needs your attention and what can wait until later. Boxer currently supports Exchange, Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook.com, Hotmail, iCloud, and AOL account types, all with push notifications. Note that if you need Exchange, you'll need to pick up the paid version of Boxer.

Boxer appeals to anyone who likes Mailbox but wants more features and needs Exchange support.

Inky Mail

Best email apps for iPhone: Inky Mail

Inky Mail has been available for Mac for quite some time and has just recently made its debut on iPhone and iPad. Inky is compatible with most email accounts and also supports push notifications. Unlike some email clients such as Mailbox that create folders and move things around, Inky Mail does not and instead uses a system they call Smart Views to help you triage mail. Filter junk, shopping, and entertainment out so you can see through the noise. The more you use Inky Mail, the smarter it'll get.

If you want a new approach to email, Inky Mail delivers it for both iOS and Mac.

Your picks?

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 July 2013. Updated June 2014.

Allyson Kazmucha

Editor for iMore, Potter pundit, and the ninja in your iOS

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There are 63 comments. Add yours.

Rene Ritchie says:

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 Mail.app 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.

Allyson Kazmucha says:

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.

gpernelljr405 says:

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

Kristopher_Ri says:

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.

Jyscal says:

+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.

pinpoint007 says:

I had syncing issues with Boxer...so 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.

Piercey says:

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.

delta7 says:

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

delta7 says:

Do you guys use the gmail app or do you feel one of these is better? Gmail is pretty slow.

Ireadmore says:

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.

abazigal says:

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.

Jorge Skala says:

The client is Lightmail, push notifications, unified inbox, access to folder and ...its FREE! Try it

41BP says:

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

talluptallup76 says:

Mailbox for me

Sent from the iMore App

GeeksAndAliens says:

Do you know of a email client that supports attachments from any if the file managers?

Sent from the iMore App

76Tinman says:

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?

freitame says:

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

BubblingNan says:

Less than 1 dollar (or 1 euro if you prefer) again!

OGenius says:

I'd rather use Seed app which has a lockscreen and integrates Dropbox for files sharing, has reminder built-in app and multiple gmail accounts logins.
It's also free, what else could we ask for?!!
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/seed-mail/id579924224?mt=8&at=10l3Vy&ct=...

weberm13 says:

"the iOS auto-correct feature isn't very robust" - that made me laugh out loud.

Derrick4Real says:

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.

weberm13 says:

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.

BubblingNan says:

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.

gina cameron says:

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.

TechnologyTwitt says:

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.

ame says:

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.

puplady1 says:

the altamail app is good

Allyson Kazmucha says:

Added Evomail, thanks for the heads up guys, now sure how I missed it. It's a great client.

massaint says:

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

Driond says:

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

Roberto Michelena says:

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.

Jane Berlin says:

...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.

Driond says:

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.

Astralflash says:

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.)

massaint says:

You should try Seed Mail - it's Sparrow like app, and it has push notification ;)

mv mag says:

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: http://toolbox.mxhero.com/

BubblingNan says:

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).

Goodbye

massaint says:

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 :)

Mohiyuddeen ahmad says:

For me Mailbox is really up to the mark.For the time being Mailbox only supports Gmail. But really hope the service will expand pretty soon. BTW I read that its the best email app of 2013
http://techtimes.co/android-iphone-ipad/best-apps-iphone-2013-e-mail/

wardwoody says:

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!

Ioan Eremia says:

a good article. thanks. i have also found another 7 free apps for iphone if anyone is interested http://www.iphonestop.net/7-free-email-apps-iphone/

HelloWorld46855 says:

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! :)

ZihuaRob says:

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!

Soumak Chatterjee says:

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.

OZsMac says:

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.

Darryl Brian says:

Mailbox is the way to go. Love the snooze feature.

Sent from the iMore App

Ehsan Keybroo says:

I love "cloudmagic" and it's free till five mail IDs

Sent from the iMore App

joshnaugle says:

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...

heptaj says:

myMail! So far the best email client i've ever used. Great app

Cameron Nichols says:

I use my mail .good app.never no issues

Sent from the iMore App

mcmillan27 says:

I've tried Mailbox and Boxer but always went back to Mail.app. 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 Mail.app. There's just something about the built in client that appeals to me most. Maybe because of it's seamless interaction with the OS.

p51 says:

I've been using Acompli. It's showing a lot of promise.

NealMaxwell says:

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 Mail.app 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 mail.app and that with a swipe gesture you could have the choice of both.
Can any of you tell me whether the mail.app handles archiving of gmail properly now? I.e. Changing the label to allmail, rather than having a separate archive.

Sent from the iMore App

rollema says:

Wow
Article says: boxer 0,99
In store it says: 9,99......

Sent from the iMore App

rollema says:

Forgot to mention my prefs
I am in love with Acompli

Sent from the iMore App

Melvin Johnson says:

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

mtnoblexx87 says:

I was using Cloudmagic for a while but now use Triage with the stock mail app and love the combo!

Eklipze6663 says:

The 1 thing I found is the typo in boxers price it's $9.99 not $.99

Sent from the iMore App

tylerpond05 says:

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

LasPecas says:

For me Hop Mail works best.

Sent from the iMore App

SWFLFFPM says:

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.

Ninotschka says:

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.