While Mail for Mac is a great email client for most users, some of us require something a little more feature-rich for our day-to-day life. Here, we showcase a number of alternatives to the default Mail app for Mac, with some offering extended functionality including read receipts, end-to-end encryption and more.
We’d better start by mentioning the default Mail app for macOS – Mail. Mail is one of the neatest email clients available and enables you to work with multiple different accounts at once. It has integrated Spotlight search, so it’s easy to find emails and is integrated with Mac OS X so you can send replies from the Notification Centre.
However, many users have noted issues with services, Google Mail in particular, and we found it recently difficult to integrate with Hotmail and Outlook.com, all of which is starting to make us doubt if Mail is the best option. macOS Mail is certainly the easiest to stick with, but we think it’s worth taking a look at other email clients.
Polymail is a favourite of ours because it offers just about everything you’d want within a single app – and the best part is that there’s a free version of the app that includes most features. The app, available for both iOS and Mac, offers a range of advanced productivity tools including email tracking, send later and read later, all from a tidy interface.
The free version of the app provides a read status for all outgoing emails, but the Pro version provides much more in-depth insights including the number of times the email has been read, and when. It’ll also provide handy info including if/when attachments were downloaded, as well as blocking any tracking features in emails you receive.
All versions of the app include Contact Profiles, which appear alongside emails, and displays all information it can find on that person online – LinkedIn bio, Twitter handle, photo, current job, etc. Think of it as Facebook, but for email. It’ll also bring up any previous encounters you’ve had with that person, and any files you’ve shared.
Oh, and it lets you un-send emails once you’ve sent them (for several seconds, anyway). The only downside? It doesn’t perform very well in offline mode, and emails can sometimes ‘disappear’ from Polymail when still present in the native email app.
If Polymail isn’t for you, then maybe Newton can tempt you. Like Polymail and other clients mentioned here, it offers both a free and paid version of its app via monthly subscription, providing more in-depth features for Pro mail users. Newton offers all the capabilities that you’d expect from a high-end mail app – email tracking, user profiles, send later, advanced search capabilities – and more.
It comes with a range of SuperChargers that aim to enhance your email experience by performing tasks like clearing out social media and newsletter emails, allowing you to concentrate on personal emails or set a reply reminder if you don’t hear back from a recipient in a number of days.
As well as offering an impressive suite of email-focused features, Newton also offers integration with several service providers including Salesforce, Trello, OneNote and Evernote, allowing users to save content from emails directly to the other services. Got a link you need to check out later? Easily add it to your Pocket account without leaving the app.
The catch is that Newton isn’t free. You get a two-week free trial when you sign up via the macOS, iOS, Android or Windows app, but after that, you’ll have to pay an annual subscription fee of £39.99/$49.99.
Airmail 3 is a popular Mac Mail client, and provides the same experience whether being used with a single email account, or many – ideal for those of us with multiple email addresses for work and play. It’s modern with a flat, slightly transparent macOS look and features a generally clean interface, offering the ability to quickly and easily switch between email accounts.
It also boasts support for a number of email providers, from the likes of iCloud and Gmail right the way through to Outlook and even AOL. Like the default Mail app, the app also boasts a VIP feature, which lets you filter out emails from people you deem important from the general inbox, meaning you’ll never miss an important email from a colleague again.
Thunderbird is one of the bigger names in our roundup. This open-source email client from Mozilla enables you to bolt on countless add-ons, potentially infinitely expanding its functionality depending on what you require. By default, Thunderbird is a little bare, but once you start tinkering, it can become stylish and powerful – and tinker you will.
It offers a number of smaller helpful features by default, including Attachment Reminders, which will automatically look for the word “attachment” (along with words like “files”) in the body of your email, and will remind you to add the attachment before sending. We’ve been in many, many situations where we forgot to attach a file to an email, so it’s very useful for us.
It also has built-in instant messaging, offering support from multiple networks including Facebook, IRC, Twitter and more.
If you’re one of the many that use and love Inbox by Gmail, Boxy may be the perfect Mac Mail client for you. It’s essentially an unofficial Inbox client for Mac offering the same features as Google’s Inbox (automatic bundling of similar messages, Google Now-esque highlights and event reminders) along with a few extras.
One of the coolest features of Boxy is the ability to start writing an email on one device, say your Mac, and then continue on your iPhone. It’s like Apple’s handoff feature, except it doesn’t use Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to communicate between devices – it’s automatically and instantly synced. It also offers an interesting “Reader” mode, which strips back everything apart from the text of an email, providing a more comfortable and less distracting reading experience.