iOS app Airmail's unannounced switch to subscription-based pricing angers users

Airmail on iPhone and iPad
Airmail on iPhone and iPad

What you need to know

  • Popular iOS email app Airmail switched to a subscription-based pricing without telling customers.
  • Naturally this angered a lot of users who are already cut off from some features like notifications or multiple account support even though they already paid for the app.
  • The new pricing includes a free tier without notifications and multiple account support or $2.99 per month and $9.99 per year plans.

Users of the popular iOS email app Airmail are being greeted by an unexpected surprise: the app switched from a standard priced app (one-time purchase) to a subscription-based app, cutting them off from key services like notifications or multiple account support.

Multiple users took to Twitter to voice their frustration with this switch, particularly because Airmail did not warn them of the change. Before the change, Airmail costs $4.99 and then users were free to enjoy the app. Now it costs $2.99 per month or $9.99 for a year in the U.S.

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Most users were angry because they already paid for the app, yet they're seeing many of the core functions, particularly notifications, stop working. In response to the issue, Airmail issued a statement to MacRumors:

Airmail for iOS is now free and new users can use the app with a single account and no push notifications.Customers who purchased the app can still have access to multiple accounts but not push notifications which, is a side service of the app and is not preventing the use of the app's core functionality.We do understand users frustration, the decision was made to keep the business sustainable as we face increasing backend service expenses.Customers who purchased the app in the last 4 months will be granted a grace period of premium subscription up to 4 months (depending on the purchase date).

Airmail seems to think a free version without key features will be enough to quell concerns, but obviously it is not.

Users who purchased the app in the last four months are covered, but those who purchased the app before will now be cut off from notifications and multiple account support unless they subscribe to the new pricing plans.

Since those users are already angry, they will most likely eschew the new subscription and go to look for another email app. Luckily, there are plenty of those around like Spark and Edison. Even an app like Newton—which is also a subscription-based, though more expensive—is a great option because you know exactly what you are getting.

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Danny Zepeda