Last week, I made the mistake of upgrading to the new Mavericks operating system on my MacBook Air. I immediately began to experience problems with Apple Mail and my Gmail accounts. (The problems have been documented in numerous places, including this article on TUAW.) I am now testing alternative email clients. Which email program do you use? Why do you love it—or hate it? Tell me in the comments below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

81 thoughts on “Which Alternative to Apple Mail Do You Prefer (if any)?

  1. Love me some MailPlane. Been using it for quite a while now, sync it will multiple accounts and have never had any trouble. But…I have yet to upgrade to Mavericks, so take what I say with a grain of Jony Ive’s tears.

  2. The #1 Rule with Apple products is: never, ever, upgrade to an x.0 version. Wait until x.1 or x.2 and the initial bugs get reported and fixed.

  3. I have had nothing but trouble with MailPlane with the last several updates. I wish I didn’t because it is a great program, but for me nothing beats the browser for Gmail.

  4. I also upgraded to Mavericks on my MacBook Air, and have experienced no issues whatsoever. I still love Apple Mail, and use it with several different domains. I did a “clean” install, so maybe that is the difference.

  5. I used Sparrow for years, and ended up having to switch to Airmail. Tried Postbox too, and after a week or two I’m absolutely loving a completely different email client: Unibox.

    They took a unique approach in organizing everything by people and conversations, instead of individual emails, which took a few days to get used to, but makes total sense (very similar to the Messages app for texting people on your iPhone).

    I didn’t like the default “Unibox” view very much, so I disabled it for a more traditional “Inbox”, but it’s pretty sweet being able to see recent conversations and all the files you’ve ever sent to or been sent from a specific person. Definitely worth a look.

  6. I downloaded Mavericks onto my MacBook Pro and like Trey, I have not had any problems with Mail. I’m sorry you’re having problems, because that can be hugely frustrating.

  7. I love airmail. Great program, and easy to use. It also looks great. I also purchased hyperdock and this has made all the difference. Two new apps that I am loving right now.

  8. The truth is this issue will be resolved shortly. Apple is pretty quick with big bugs like this. Early adopters have to put up with these issues. I am finding myself answering many of these questions right now. I think since Apple has given away Mavericks for free more people are adopting too quickly.
    I would stick with just Gmail right now. To switch and learn how another mail program works while they fix the bugs might be a waste of time. They will fix it then you might decide to go back to Apple Mail. Actually most people do go back to it. I had an issue like this a couple of years ago with Apple Mail and my host. It took a couple of weeks and it was fixed.
    Even though I have Apple Mail, I tend to use Gmail in the browser more often.
    Good luck and as someone else here mentioned earlier, wait a month for the at least the x.1 versions. Apple is usually good about putting there first big update a month after release for the big bugs.

    • I waited a year to upgrade so Apple could iron out the kinks and I regret it. The Mail problem is still not resolved. It’s a complete mess. From what I understand things are even worse in Yosemite. I’ve switched to AirMail for now and so far am impressed. For $2 you can’t go wrong. At least check it out while supporting an alternative to Apple’s horrendous Mail program.

      I’m seeing other problems with Mavericks as well. I’m very disappointed in Apple’s QA these days. It seems that since Steve Jobs has passed that they’ve really been dropping the ball a lot these days. No way he’d let this kind of crap fly.

  9. I use Thunderbird by Mozilla. Open souse and cross platform. Works really well, stable, even their beta versions! Calendar integration available and loads of plugin too.

  10. The gmail web interface isn’t sexy but it works as it should 100% of the time.

    I manage multiple email accounts and I use gmail for my primary work email and I do use mail app for personal and blog emails. Those aren’t as important as work emails. In the gmail interface everything is where it should be and he search is not matched by any 3rd party app.

    • I agree Dave. I haven’t used a mail client for a good 6 or 7 years now. I mean who needs one any more? If I’m not online then I don’t want to read and write emails anyway.

    • I have tried them all, but I have always come back to Chrome browser gmail. “It just works,” as Steve Jobs said. I too manage several accounts, have several signatures (WiseStamp works great for that), and no “app” has ever done everything seamlessly like that setup. If WiseStamp develops a plug-in for Airmail I would try that, but nothing else.

  11. Loving Mavericks, though I only use gmail as a junk address. I’d recommend Fastmail.fm. I use Postbox. The send to Evernote feature won me over a year ago. Sparrow is dead. Outlook is death itself. Thunderbird is good for Windows as a way to avoid Outlook. Haven’t tried Mailplane or Airmail but have heard good things.

  12. Early versions of Airmail had some problems and lacked some features, but now most of those issues have been resolved, and it’s a really nice mail client. I’m waiting for Mail Pilot, though, and may switch to that when it comes out (if they also fix some of the issues I’m having with the iOS version).

  13. I use gmail in Chrome exclusively. There is a gmail offline when internet is not available. Used Outlook a number of years ago also Thunderbird to access gmail. I like the fact that when changing computers, (desktop to laptop or tablet) everything is available. Some recommend just using Thunderbird to backup gmail.

  14. Gmail! Hardly ever a spam message… (I gave up on Apple mail years ago when I got tired of deleting spam—it’s probably better now.) Gmail’s search feature… well, it’s from Google, so works beautifully. Labels work better than folders. No matter the device, it stays in sync. Plus, there’s the Email Game to help power through messages (in case you want to have an empty inbox).

  15. Email is key for me and my workflow. I used MacMail until September 2 of this year. I took a class on Udemy that explained some of the in’s and out’s of gmail, especially the filters. I decided to take a leap and so I went 100% gmail. I LOVE the filtering/classifying system and my life has noticeably improved. Thanks for the tip on Maverick…I was about 90% downloaded and upgraded when I read this. I’ll hold off a bit.

  16. You’re not the only one Michael. I feel your pain! I thought I was the problem! Messages keep creeping back into my inbox after I file them I used to use Outlook, but I like Mail’s integration with Calendar etc…

    I guess I will check my messages online with Gmail for a while until they figure it out.

      • @mhyatt:disqus Is your e-mail problem also giving you these double replies? Looks like it’s sending your replies twice, if you’re replying to the comments via email.

        Why don’t you just switch to the gmail browser interface? I’ve been doing that for 7 years and I love it?

        • Yea, it appears to be a problem with AirMail. (I am replying via email.)

          I’m not crazy about the browser interface. I know people who love it, but I prefer a dedicated client. I am now trying Postbox. The jury is still out.

    • Jonathan, I am a long time outlook user but the combination of google apps, outlook and a mac is less than ideal. How are you using mail to integrate with calendar etc? Thanks in advance, Bill

      • Hi Bill!

        It took me a while to adjust to not using Outlook, since I used it for a long time, but the reason I use Apple is that in the long run there are less headaches.

        I have gradually gone all Apple: I now own an iPhone, a macbook pro and my wife has an iPad, so I have not found a better way to work than to use all of Apple’s productivity software. Synchronization used to be a big headache when I used a Windows phone.

        – Contacts + the free App Cobook works very well for my addresses. (Thanks Michael!)
        – Mail is very easy to set up. (There are even instructions within Google). It looks like they even fixed the problem with Google in Mail.
        – Calendar is very easy to use.

        The weirdest adjustment was to go from one program that did it all (Outlook) to three programs. But actually it minimizes distractions, and the with OS X Lion it can give you the alerts you need without having the programs open.

        Adding addresses or appointments directly from an e-mail with one click is incredible too!

        I hope that was helpful!

  17. I prefer the gmail browser window to the apple mail app. I still use the app too. I upgraded to Mavericks, and have not had a problem. I will pay a little closer attention to be sure.

    • I really like a lot of the features of PostBox.
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      A new comment was posted on Michael Hyatt

      Chris Young

      I’ve been using Postbox for my various Gmail accounts for over a year now and love it. It’s running perfectly on Mavericks too. 7:13 p.m., Wednesday Oct. 30

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    • I really like a lot of the features of PostBox.
      Settings

      A new comment was posted on Michael Hyatt

      Chris Young

      I’ve been using Postbox for my various Gmail accounts for over a year now and love it. It’s running perfectly on Mavericks too. 7:13 p.m., Wednesday Oct. 30

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  18. I just use the Gmail web interface in Chrome. I really like how it separates out updates, newsletters, and sales items into separate columns. I have tried Thunderbird and Outlook, but they tend to be slow to update, and just add another layer of clutter to my machine. As far as Mavericks goes, it has really fixed a lot of nagging problems on my Mac. It is faster and smoother that either of the Lion updates. Basically, Apple finally got it right. I’m sure they will have the Mail/Gmail issue fixed soon.

  19. Hey Michael, you should add Google Apps to the list. We use Google Apps for business which is a corporate version of Gmail, which includes drive, and shared calenders. We started using it 3 years ago because I had assistants who needed to check my email and reply on my behalf. Right now, we have it set up so that we share calendars and emails. There are some great plugins with it as well for autoresponders and my staff members can actually have many different emails in one login. For example, matt@mycorporatesite.com, matt@my1stbusinesssite.com, and matt@my2ndbusinesssite.com. It also integrates really well with mail for Iphone, but the best thing about Google Apps is that it is cloud based. PC dies and you’re good to go on any PC. I’ve tried just about everything and Google apps was life changing for communication.

      • I should have figured! :-) You guys are the masters! I gave up on mail clients and software when I left the home office because I wanted to have an easy IT set-up when we grew. We now try to do everything cloud based to avoid software and updates.

  20. I started using Inky last night after a week of frustration with mail.app. The interface is a little different and takes a few minutes to get used to. Some interesting features for filtering. So far I’m pleased.

  21. As others have noted, I too upgraded to Mavericks and have had no issues whatsoever with Apple Mail. I have about 8 email addresses that are maintained with it (including a Gmail account). Your post was the first I’d even heard of problems.

  22. I am really at a cross roads, as a long time PC power user i made the switch to a mac almost a year ago. We use google apps at work and the integration with apps and outlook was less than ideal (great unified inbox, terrible, read no, calendar integration) so I took the leap to the native apple offerings (mail, calendar, contacts) With this latest upgrade to Mavericks I feel as though I took a giant step back in functionality as it related to email, slow delivery, missing, and reappearing messages, etc. I am partial to outlook simply based on routine and functionality however I find that google calendar in apps does not play at all with outlook. If google and outlook could play nicely on a mac for calendar that would be my suggestion.

    Does anyone have a suggestion/solution that provides the functionality of outlook with google apps on a mac? Thanks so much!

  23. Mailbox has been giving me problems with any iMAP account other than Apple’s. While a majority uses Outlook – I love the simplicity of Postbox and AirMail. Both are robust, but Postbox is a cleaner interface and has a strong resemblance to Apple Mail. I think you would love Postbox.

    • Additionally, Macworld and several Mac-related sites all reported Mail’s inability to play well with Gmail. For the time being I’m putting Apple Mail on ice.

    • I tried PostBox for about four days. I really do like it. Maybe it’s just the volume of email I have, but I found it really slow in loading mail. Sometimes it would even hang. The indexing took for ever. (It seems like this is something that should happen in the background.) I have my Gmail accounts set to include only the 1,000 most recent messages, so I don’t think that was the issue. Thanks.

  24. The problem I am now having is with photo attachments since upgrading to Mavericks. I had this problem before, until I discovered Attachment Tamer by Lokiware. The problem is that that plug-in hasn’t been upgraded for Mavericks. They have a temporary build, which addressed the problem until Apple came out with an upgrade to Mavericks. Has anyone found a Mail program that can handle photos as attachments (not embedded) that can also use your contacts from the Contacts app?

  25. If you have a number of email addresses and a ton of email mailmate is the best. It’s so configurable and does everything you want. It’s not the prettiest, but having used all the one’s mentioned is the one that’s my workhorse.

  26. Oh, I wish you hadn’t said that…my husband just uploaded that to mine!!! But so far, I mainly use G-Mail and haven’t had any problems! Mary Young Robinson

  27. I know this string is old and SUPPOSEDLY the Gmail problem is fixed now with Mavericks. It isn’t on my Macbook Pro and I did load the updater. I feel like I went from Snow Leopard to Windows Vista in some ways.

    Mavericks took up 16GB of space above and beyond the previous installation. Regarding the Mac Mail slow he Apple Genius suggested I buy more RAM and clear off more hard drive space. That’s why I compare it to Vista.

    The Gmail fix did improve things to a degree – downloading 20 emails without attachments now only takes me 3-4 minutes instead of 10-15 minutes like before the Gmail fix.

    Of course with Snow Leopard 20 no-attachment emails took seconds to download.

    Now, downloading a 1MG attachment might take 1-2 hours before it shows up in my inbox – or it might take 30-40 minutes. Before the fix it took 3-6 hours. With Snow Leopard it might take a minute if someone else on my WiFi was doing something using bandwidth.

    I find if I want performance out of compute intensive apps like Photoshop or QuarkXPress, it is best to reboot and run those apps alone, or at least not run Mac Mail.

    Launching Mac Mail slows everything down, though no app runs as fast on Mavericks as it did on Snow Leopard.

    A rather funny observation – before Mavericks, launching MicroSoft Word 2008 would take 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. Now it is available in ten seconds or so.

    If I could snap my finger and go back to Snow Leopard on my Mac and deny everyone else in the world the benefits of Mavericks, I’d do it.

    That is, unless you all got together and bought me a new MacBook Air – wink, wink.

    Thanks for letting me vent.

    • Ted, have you tried limiting the number of messages that Gmail stores in it’s IMAP inbox? That was the problem I was having. You can find this in your Gmail account Settings | Forwarding and POP / IMAP m| IMAP Access | Folder Size Limits. Change that setting to “Limit IMAP folders to contain no more than this many messages: 1000.” Make sure you click on the Save Changes button.
      With this changed, Mac Mail will only download the most recent 1000 messages. (You change this setting to suit your needs.) You should start seeing your missing hard drive space reappear as Mail syncs with Gmail. Of course, all your messages will be available via the the Gmail web interface, but this keeps them all from downloading to your computer.
      Let me know if that helps. Thanks.

  28. I currently use Mac Mail but have constant problems with sent mail not saving in the sent folder. I know this is not a common problem but it persists from one OS to the next for me. I’m looking for a good alternative with a lot of the same features.

  29. I’m really loving Airmail. My favorite feature (which Sparrow also has) is the ability to use dropbox for attachments. This is great for me, because I often need to send someone a video clip or psd file that can suck up alot of disk space or inbox space. Then I have a Hazel rule that deletes anything in my airmail attachments folder that was added over 30 days ago. That way my dropbox doesn’t get filled up. I’m thinking 30 days is a reasonable amount of time to allow a mail attachment to be available. I also love that it integrates Evernote, so I can send emails to evernote without having to forward them to my evernote address or use an IFTTT rule.

  30. Hey Mike! I’m way late to this party, but I’m wondering where you landed on this. I really love all of Postbox’s features, but am getting too bogged down by the indexing and slow load time. I need to switch, but haven’t found another that rivals Postbox’s vast features. Would love to know what you ultimately decided to go with…

    • Right now, I am still stuck with Apple Mail. I tried Postbox, Airmail, and Mail Pilot, and MailPlane. All of them had their plusses and minuses. I am still losing email in Mail. I am hoping Apple can get this fixed soon. It’s pretty frustrating.

      • Ahhhhh… I think I may revert to Apple Mail and see how it goes….

        Thank you! Hope you and Gail are doing well. Would love to get together soon — it’s been way too long!

  31. Michael, where did you land after this issue? Are you back to Apple Mail or did you stick with Unibox or do something altogether different? Thanks. David

    • I’m still using AppleMail. Though it’s broken and frustrating, I have not found anything else I like as well. (I think I tried every email program available for the Mac.)

      • bummer… I was hoping that if I kept reading in the comments… I’d see what you finally settled on. I agree. Apple Mail works… or at least it did. Trying to find something to replace it is murder.

  32. Dd you ever come up with a solution to this problem? I see that early in 2014 you purchased a new MacBook Pro. Did that solve your problem? I just recently upgraded to Mavericks and have been on the phone with Apple support all week. I have fixed some of the capability issues but others remain. What was the solution for you? Thanks!

      • Did you find that even after your with your new MacBook Pro you are still having problems? My MacBook Pro is almost 5 years old and this mail situation has me a bit tempted to just go out and get a new one! If not, which is your current preferred mail client at this time (although it may be imperfect). I know you tried a few. Thanks again for your help.

        • I don’t think it is hardware related. I have the exact same problems with my MacBook Pro.
          I am still using Apple Mail. It is a struggle. I have difficulty finding old emails. The search feature seems very broken. I usually go to Gmail when I need to find something.
          I have tried about a dozen other email programs. In my opinion, they all have pluses and minuses. Mail is still better for my use than anything else I have found.
          Thanks.

          • Well if it matters, I installed Mavericks on a clean system and then brought in my data from Time Machine. After HOURS on the phone with Apple Support (high level and even system reports sent to the engineers). They had me delete all of my mail files (they are IMAP accounts) and then reimport them into a clean mail system. I had much less of a problem after this. There were files left over from previous operating systems that apparently interfered with how mail was running.

            I still have issues and the next step is to erase and start over. I’m not doing that. A lot of trouble and time for what will probably not fix the problem. After checking around online and then reading your comments. I don’t think that will help.

            I agree that it’s an Apple Mail/Gmail problem. However, I will suggest that if you started on your new MB Pro with restored data from Time Machine, and if you have IMAP accounts, having “second-tier” support at Apple walk you through starting mail “clean” and then reimporting may give you a different result. Not perfect but maybe better. (You can make this work with non-IMAP accounts as well but that requires a more steps to get them back into mail.)

            Hope that helps. Thanks for all of the help you share on a regular basis. Thanks for taking the time to engage in this exchange on this topic.

  33. Hi folks – Just switched to a Mac after 10 years on PC. Fun stuff! Right now I am using the Mac Mail app. I set up my email accounts using the Gmail setting. The problem I am having is that I do not see how to have my “from” field show my actual domain address. Ex: diabetesholistic@gmail is in the from field instead of drnicki@reversediabetesholistically.com

    On my iPad, the Gmail app automatically picked up on my domain address (set-up in my browser) in the from field but Mac Mail didn’t. Is there a way to use the Gmail setting and still show my domain address in the “from” field? Thank you much, Nicki

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