Apple brings its Mail app to every iPhone. Despite being a perfectly usable email client that connects to a variety of email services like Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft 365, it’s not as feature-rich as it could be, especially for business and enterprise environments .
Luckily, there is a wide range of alternative email apps for iOS. In this article, I’ll review five excellent options, each with their own unique features.
A note before we begin: I’m only adding mail apps that connect to multiple services. Services like Gmail and Yahoo Mail offer first-party apps that only connect to that service. They’re generally solid options if you only need access to a single service.
Outlook is Microsoft’s mail and calendar app for iOS. It natively connects to Exchange and Microsoft 365 and allows for deep integration with Outlook for Windows or macOS, making it an excellent and obvious choice in many organizations. But Outlook isn’t a one-trick pony. It also supports other email services, meaning it can be useful if you want a single email client for work and home, or in situations where you need to access multiple work-related accounts.
Outlook’s iOS interface is surprisingly clean and easy to navigate — in some ways it’s better than its desktop siblings. Microsoft also offers an excellent Outlook watchOS app that continues this clean interface.
Like the Outlook desktop client, the iOS app reduces inbox clutter with an optional Focused Inbox feature that places messages Outlook deems more important in the main Inbox tab. Less important e-mails are filed under the “Other” tab. Other useful message handling features include optional message threading and the ability to quickly flag, pin, or snooze messages with a swipe or a few taps.
While Outlook’s mail component is pretty good, the calendar component could be better, and you might want to rely on a dedicated calendar app like Fantastical or Readdle’s Calendars, or Apple’s built-in calendar.
Spark is an excellent Readdle email app that connects to all major email services. It has a unique interface that helps you sort your email by grouping new messages into three categories: people, notifications, and newsletters. This allows you to immediately focus on notifications and messages from individuals and later review emails sent to groups. This sorting of messages doesn’t place them in separate folders (although Spark supports folders) – it simply separates how you view items in your inbox, and you can switch to a more standard inbox view at any time.
Spark provides the ability to put messages on hold to view them later and allows most actions like deleting, archiving, or pinning to be performed with specific swipe gestures. It also offers workflow management options, with the ability to mark emails as “done” or “set aside for later review,” and its pin feature allows you to mark emails that have received a reply or a need follow up. You can also recall an email you sent – essentially giving you a few seconds to click “undo” after you click send.
Spark’s watchOS app has a very different user interface than the iOS and macOS apps, but it’s much more functional for the smaller display – it still supports inbox sorting and most other features, and works well with Apple Handoff.
Spark also offers a number of premium features for individuals and organizations. For individuals, this includes options to prioritize specific messages or senders, block and set “gatekeeper” rules, group emails by sender, and mute discussion threads that don’t require immediate attention. For organizations, there are options to share email drafts and popular email templates, shared storage space, and the ability to assign messages or threads to specific team members. With an annual subscription, premium features start at $5 per month for individuals and $7 per user per month for organizations.
Edison Mail supports all major email services. It offers a consumer-centric feature set that’s also useful for business users, with the ability to manage travel itineraries, package tracking, bills and receipts, as well as refund status and more when it detects relevant information in your emails. It also offers the ability to view and unsubscribe from emails with a single tap.
There’s an optional premium feature set called Edison Mail+ ($15 per month or $100 per year) that makes it easy to update contact information, verify email senders, block spam calls and texts, and mute on incoming calls Shows recognized caller ID information in your emails.
Edison Mail’s interface also supports setting swipe options for your inbox, snoozing messages, enabling a focus mode to avoid distractions (somewhat superseded by Apple’s focus mode that debuted in iOS 15), and it includes a decent watchOS apartment
Largely designed for secure messaging with PGP encryption, Canary Mail supports the most popular email services. Like Spark, it organizes messages in your inbox into multiple categories, including Personal, Social (emails from social media sites or notifications), Updates, Forums (forums or listserv emails), and Promotions (emails with special offers or services). Canary also supports dark mode, custom swipe actions, and the ability to postpone messages.
Like Edison Mail, Canary Email offers a premium feature set called Canary Pro for a one-time fee of $20. The Pro version includes a variety of features including contact profiles with additional details for the sender of each email, a built-in calendar feature, easy access to messages from favorite contacts, pinned emails, compose suggestions when composing a new message, custom Email thread actions, custom notifications, an attachments browser, end-to-end encryption, push notifications, read receipts, custom email templates, and custom snooze times.
The developer is also testing an enterprise option that includes easy encryption key management, enterprise-wide PGP management, user onboarding, support for regulatory compliance, and other enterprise features. Organizations can request participation in the pilot by selecting an option in the app.
Spike is an interesting version of email. It organizes all your email threads as chat conversations, much like Slack or Microsoft Teams messaging features. This is an excellent team collaboration tool when dedicated apps like Slack and Teams aren’t available. Email conversations can be sorted by person or subject. The app also offers shared or group tasks and tasks, as well as access to calendars configured on your iPhone.
Spike lets you streamline your inbox by separating messages, although the sorting options are more limited than some of the other apps on this list and only Priority (people you’ve emailed before), Other (emails from ” strangers”) and offers unread views.
Like other apps, Spike can snooze messages, supports swipe actions for message management (albeit to a more limited extent than some other apps), offers quick message templates, and can be locked after a period of time. (Although the setting only shows Touch ID as an unlock option, enabling it will enable Face ID unlock on devices that support Face ID.)
Spike’s free plan only supports one email address and limits search results to the last 60 days. To include more addresses and get unlimited search history, you need to upgrade to a paid plan. Pro and Business plans start at $5 per user per month (billed annually) and include more storage, group video calling, priority support, and other business-focused features.
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