Let’s face it…not everyone is a fan of Apple’s native Mail app for iOS. Generally speaking, if you’re not a fan of it on the Mac, you’re likely not going to appreciate the iOS version very much either. And while there’s rarely the ability to get around having to use Mail when using other apps that allow for email to be sent (iOS doesn’t really like any other email clients being used to send email), there are some other options you can get that can help you steer clear of Mail as often as possible.
The most popular of the ones mentioned here, Sparrow has proven to be so much so that the team behind it has since been acquired by Google.
A minimal email client (there is also a Mac version), Sparrow does what an email client should do: allow you to get your mail, read it, send it, and yet still get out of your way while doing all of that. With the ability to use aliases, a labeling option to mark your emails with tags like “priority” and “follow up” (and just enough features to make it appealing – beyond its slick appearance), Sparrow is still a viable alternative to the stock Mail app. It’s important to note that the future of Sparrow is uncertain. It was recently updated for the iPhone 5 and iOS 6, but that was more maintenance than anything else.
An all-in-one solution, mail.com is a service all on its own (much like Gmail). The difference is that unlike Gmail (which is just part of Google’s ecosystem, mail.com does email…and that’s it.
One of the coolest features about the mail.com app is the Mail Collector, where you can receive emails from multiple accounts all in one folder, separated by account name. Sith inbox organization right from the iOS device and connection directly to the mail.com service, this Mail alternative is worth a look.
Perhaps the most stable of the alternatives to Mail, Gmail looks to get more and more powerful in terms of features (and users) now that the Sparrow team is on board.
Although it is meant for those who use Gmail (or Google Apps mail) as the home of their email accounts, those who do use Google’s services are going to receive a decent user experience on iOS with the Gmail app. Again, there’s not much to it, but if you are using Gmail or Google Apps mail, this could very well be the only mail application you need.
An app that not only monitors your email, but plays a role in curating it, AwayFind pushes all of the email you receive to the background…other than mail from those that matter most to you.
Synced up with the web-based service, AwayFind allows you to set parameters as to when you receive email, from whom you receive email, as well as plenty of other filters that you can apply to make your email experience less…distracting. You can send email from within AwayFind, which is great as well.
A less conventional choice, Drafts is where you can prep, refine, and send text for a task called “Email Actions”, allowing users the ability to send emails right from inside Drafts.
Sure, you can’t check your email from inside Drafts, but for composition of emails that come to you throughout the day, it’s worth looking at. Using Drafts will also lessen the amount of time you spend inside Mail (or Sparrow, as you can send mail via Sparrow using Drafts if you want), which is always a good thing for your productivity. Drafts may not be the most complete alternative to Mail, but it does have certain aspects covered.
Of course the biggest drawback to all these Mail App alternatives is that, unless you jailbreak, you can’t set any of these apps as the default mail client.
What email client do you use for iOS? Have I missed your favourite? Share in the comments below.
Photo credit: Daniel Lobo (CC BY 2.0)