Inky Mail for iPhone and iPad review: A unique approach to tackling mail

Inky Mail is a new alternative mail app for both iPhone and iPad that can help you quickly triage and get your inboxes under control. Even though Inky is new to iOS, it's been available on the Mac for quite some time. I even named it one of the best alternative Mac mail apps currently available. The thing that makes Inky so unique is not only how it sorts your mail, but how it can sort what messages are actually relevant and important to you.

The first thing you'll notice when you launch Inky on either Mac or iOS are the Smart Views. These are areas that you can use to collect different kinds of messages. The most significant of these views is the filtered inbox. This keeps all the noise and distractions away. Essentially it'll filter out any kind of newsletters, social invites, and other kinds of noise that can distract you from getting things done. In my experience, the filtered inbox works rather well. It occasionally filters something out it shouldn't, but those occurrences are few and far between. As for the rest of the Smart Views, if there is a particular one you don't want to use, you can disable it in settings.

Sorting items in Inky can be done in several ways. My favorite sort option is relevance. Over time Inky can gauge what messages are extra important to you and what ones are not. If Inky ever gets something wrong, you can correct it and it should remember your preferences. Relevance is shown on all inbox views with a water droplet. The darker blue it is, the more relevant Inky things that message thread is to you.

If you use a different mail app on your Mac or need to grab something inside a folder or label, you can easily access all your folders with Inky. For some people, not being able to easily access old folders in alternative Mail apps such as Mailbox can be a deal breaker. We've all come across a time or two that we need to dig for an older message. At times like this, you can just drill down to folders like you used to in Inky, no need to switch to the built-in Mail app anymore.

Inky also features a one click reply feature that lets you easily reply to similar emails with a boiler plater response. You can pick from a handful of already made responses or you can create your own. Anyone that spends a lot of time answering similar emails will appreciate this feature.

I did experience a few issues with Inky on iOS and my biggest one is that there is currently no contact sync. This means Inky can't look at your contacts in order to pull them in, it simply advises you to do this from your computer. It's been one of my biggest pain points with Inky and one of the things that keeps me from wanting to use it on a regular basis.

The good

  • Great interface that's easy to use and navigate around
  • Smart Views and the filtered inbox to a great job at triaging cluttered inboxes
  • Support for Gmail, iCloud, Yahoo! Mail,, IMAP or POP servers — Inky can even pull Google apps accounts with no manual setup needed on your part
  • Zero setup system lets you create an Inky account and only add your accounts once, after that just sign in on a new device and all your stuff is right as you left it
  • Real time package tracking information via Smart Views
  • Cloud storage support via Dropbox

The bad

  • I found a weird UI bug in the compose screen where the from address field kept hiding and unhiding while typing, hopefully that'll be fixed soon
  • No contact syncing on iPhone and iPad
  • Push notifications were a bit sketchy for me and didn't work 100% of the time

The bottom line

Inky Mail takes a uniquely awesome approach at helping you triage and tackle your inboxes. Smart Views work wonderfully and integrated cloud storage with Dropbox make it a decently well-rounded option. I hope the intermittent push issues I'm experiencing get worked out as that's currently a deal breaker for me when it comes to as using Inky Mail on a regular basis. Regardless, I'm excited to see what the future holds for Inky Mail as it's off to a great start on iOS.

If you try out Inky Mail on iPhone or iPad, be sure to let me know your initial impressions in the comments!

Allyson Kazmucha

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.

  • I was hoping to get Mailbox for my personal domain email but it only supports icloud or Gmail. I've found and fallen in love with Boxer which works really great with my personal email. It integrates nicely with iOS calendar so I can accept meeting invites and they populate to calendar. The only thing I don't like so far is the lack of support to easily add email senders as a new contact in iOS.
  • Yep, Boxer is great!
  • I was just trying out Inky earlier this week, but gave up on it due to that same issue with Push notifications that you mentioned. In fact, for me it didn't appear to support push at all. I'm always on the lookout for an app that will restore Gmail push to my iPhone (other than the official Gmail app).
  • It does they are just slow Sent from the iMore App
  • If you're using Gmail, it's possible to use the Gmail app only for notifications and another app for reading and sending mail. Just put the gmail app somewhere you'll never see it in a folder, and it serves as only a notifier. What the heck, it is free.
  • That's exactly how I use it (Gmail app for notifications; Mail app for actual mail handling)... but it would be nice to not depend on a separate app for notifications. Sure, I could simply use the Gmail app, but I prefer Mail's interface and its integration with the rest of iOS. *sigh* How I wish iOS Mail supported IMAP Idle...
  • Nice Posted via iMore App
  • After testing it out, and exploring the features I think it is great! Inky even let's you set your default browser to Chrome. Thanks for the article!! Sent from the iMore App
  • I just invested in Dispatch a few days ago and I am enjoying the new update. I may give this a try.
  • Allyson, thanks for the quick review! Aside from your gripes, which I agree with, I'm annoyed at the need to sign into Inky to fetch mail. Overall this is a nice alternative; a work in progress going the right way.
  • Hopefully with IOs8 we will be able to set default apps, because love all these 3rd party apps, hate not being able to use them as default Sent from the iMore App
  • Does inky work with Exchange?