While hundreds of popular messaging apps and platforms exist, email is still a widely-used communication standard, especially in professional settings. Since it’s flexible, OS and app-agnostic, and easy to use, it’s no wonder why many people and companies rely on and prefer it for work, security verification, and even casual chatting. However, as an email account isn’t locked to a particular program, choosing the most suitable client to use can be confusing, particularly in macOS. Thankfully, this article guide can help. In the following sections, we’ll discuss the seven best email clients for mac in 2021.
1. Gmail for Mac
- Integration with Google Services and Workspace
- Smart replies
- Email scheduling
- Send delays
- Direct Google Meet access
- Spam detection and blocking
Since Gmail is the most popular email provider worldwide, it’s essential for a Mac email client to support it well. However, for individuals that are only using Gmail, the extra features of such third-party clients might be unnecessary and can even slow down the performance. Moreover, while Electron Gmail Mac apps (wrappers) and modern web browsers can access this service, they’re not battery-friendly, always reliable, and good for productivity. Thankfully, one can use Boxy for Gmail, the first and only Gmail native app for macOS. It is part of Boxysuite, an excellent suite for using Google Keep, Calendar, Gmail, and Contacts on Mac.
Boxy for Gmail makes creating, viewing, and managing emails as easy as using the tools’ web version. However, unlike browser tabs, it provides a distraction-free, clean, and minimal environment for messages, inboxes, and accounts. When viewing emails, it’s possible to detect trackers, enable reading mode for streamlined view, and switch from and to Google Calendar. Moreover, as it’s a native app, it can offer system-related features like Settings-activated Dark Mode, Instant Account Switching using Keystrokes and Menu Bar Shortcuts, Integration with Task Managers, and Dock Icon Alerts Counter. Clearly, Boxy for Gmail provides the best Gmail experience on Mac, so please learn more or try it for free today!
- Fast performance and minimal interface
- Completely free
- Only accepts Gmail accounts
2. Apple Mail
- iCloud, Exchange, and Gmail support
- Email blocking
- Custom mailboxes
Apple Mail is the stock email app for Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Watch. Since it’s Apple’s own offering, it’s very stable, battery-friendly, and reliable in reading, sending, and syncing emails. Apple Mail supports various online accounts, including iCloud, Microsoft Exchange, Gmail, and other email providers for school
and work. It only has a standard three-tabbed interface starting from the inbox, email list, and to the expanded mail view. Luckily, it allows custom mailboxes, so users who want more customization, other than changing fonts, colors, and themes (dark/light), would have more viewing options. Apple Mail also offers a basic protection feature where it’s possible to filter email addresses and block their messages. Moreover, mailboxes allow sorting emails away from the inbox for better focus and archiving. Given that Apple is known for creating simplified software, it’s no wonder why users can’t change the interface and behavior of this app to a more extent, so anyone that wants more flexibility would be better off for an alternative.
- Entirely free
- Fast and lightweight
- Powerful search
- Limited customizations
- Built-in Calendar
- Microsoft Office Apps Integration
- Support for various email accounts
- Mail encryption
- Email flags and reminders
Unlike Apple Mail, Microsoft Outlook offers more customization and features for both casual and power users. Aside from Microsoft Exchange and 365, it also accepts iCloud, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and more custom servers. Alongside the mail inbox, users can also access a Calendar and quickly manage other Microsoft services. Furthermore, the main interface offers customizable themes (light/dark), toolbar ribbon, sidebar, and information density. While it displays the inbox of the primary email by default, it can also show the mails of all accounts in a single section, making it easier to work and multitask. Regarding safety, Outlook has protection features like message encryption to prevent other parties from reading messages and sensitivity labels to secure confidential mails. Also, it offers email blocking, flagging, spam protection, deep search, contact priorities, smart filters, and more. However, it’s also important to learn that unlike on mobile, the Mac app is only available for individuals with Microsoft 365 subscriptions.
- Modern design
- Only usable through a Microsoft 365 subscription
- Sync issues
- Email scheduling and reminders
- Smart inbox and notifications
- Built-in calendar
- External services integration
- Threaded conversations
Spark, a product from Readdle, is a beautiful and powerful email app for Mac. It supports iCloud, Gmail, Exchange, Yahoo!, Outlook, IMAP, and more. Spark’s interface is still the standard three-tabbed look, but with more features. As such, its Smart Inbox will automatically sort emails by people, newsletters, websites, and other filters right in the mail list. Next, the app will pin the people section on top, only send notifications from this group, and provide quick actions like deleting, archiving, and turning on/off alerts. Apart from that, it also has a built-in Calendar, default quick replies, signature support, follow-up mail reminders, and more work-focused tools. When working in a group, Spark has various unique and powerful features for teams, including real-time co-mail composing, delegations, shared drafts, and templates. Lastly, the app can integrate with external services, where it’s possible to archive emails to read-it-later apps, store messages to cloud drives, and forward invites to project management tools.
- Highly customizable
- Modern design
- Fast and reliable
- Weak support for batch emails
- Incomplete mail number counter
- Smart inbox
- Privacy mode and offline accounts
- Email scheduling
- Mail rules and actions
- Quick Reply
Airmail is an awardee of Apple’s design recognition, and for good reasons. It has a refined interface, easy-to learn and use functions, and customizable components. In Mac, it has a default gorgeous dark sidebar and light email list/view. However, as everyone has different preferences, Airmail allows changing the email display, account colors, themes, and more things in the app. Moreover, it supports Touch Bar on some Macbooks for quick controls, a widget for today’s agenda in the Control Center, Apple Script for automation, and plugins for adding more capabilities. Airmail accepts Google Account and Workspace, Outlook, IMAP-POP3, iCloud, Exchange, Yahoo!, and allows storing accounts for local/offline use. While these are great, the app’s main strengths are its smart inbox that prioritizes the most critical messages, actions/rules that automatically handle incoming emails using defined instructions, tracker blocker, and sharing extension for quick mail composing.
- Supports multiple accounts
- Offers privacy features
- Occasional incorrect email displaying
- The additional features require a subscription to unlock
- Chat-like emails
- Calendars and tasks integration
- Built-in cloud storage
- Video and audio calls
Spike differentiates itself from the sea of similar-looking email apps. Unlike others that display emails as individual items, it instead groups conversations, removes redundant headings and texts and makes the interface look/act like a chat room. However, while Spike behaves differently, the recipient will still view the sent messages as regular mails through standard apps. Since it’s an all-in-one productivity program, Mac users can create and collaborate on notes, track tasks and calendars, store files on the cloud, and even perform one-to-one or group audio/video calls without leaving the inbox. Apart from that, it also offers integration and a smooth transition from the built-in chat and emails, especially when working in a team. After removing emails, Spike retains the chat history, so users will still have access to essential information anytime. Then again, it’s still worth considering if the monthly subscription for such features is necessary or beneficial, or if going for a one-time purchase yet standard email app instead would be a better choice.
- Combined productivity tools
- Fast and lightweight
- Offers free version
- Users can’t delete a single email without removing the thread
- Limited signature support
- Using multiple accounts require a monthly subscription
- Powerful keyboard controls
- Markdown email composition support
- Mail encryption
- Integration with third-party tools
- Customizable notifications
MailMate has been around since 2010 for macOS, so it’s already a staple in many people’s workflow. However, while it’s older than most email clients today, it still uses an outdated interface. Yet, many individuals still love it due to the capabilities and benefits it offers. In detail, it has the best and most number of keyboard shortcuts of all similar apps, a powerful and highly specific search engine, advanced default and custom mailboxes, and customizable individual notifications for accounts, inboxes, and tags. Aside from these, MailMate also provides various options for information density and email list/view display, including a widescreen layout for better readability. Regarding mail protection, it uses strong encryption standards, namely OpenPGP and S/MIME. Furthermore, since it’s about flexibility and power features, users can set and personalize tags, toggle multiple alert counter indicators in the menu bar, automate processes, and even connect to third-party applications. However, besides the outdated UI, MailMate only supports IMAP protocol, so using some email providers and accounts might be an issue.
- Highly customizable
- Only a one-time purchase
- Outdated interface
- Only supports IMAP
- Too complex for casual users
Final Words – The Overall Best Email Client for Mac
While email apps serve the same function, they differ in design, specialty, and extra features. Accordingly, it’s up to the users to decide what app better fits their needs, wants, and preferences better. However, for individuals that are only using Gmail, Boxy for Gmail offers the best experience, fastest performance, reliable syncing, and more tailored features for the service. On the other hand, for anyone looking for a free, basic, and good-looking client, then Apple Mail would be the best choice. Finally, MailMate works better for power users, Spike for those tired of the old email look, and Airmail for people who care more about design.