Email is one of the most important mediums for managing our electronic lives. Either for professional or personal use, it is essential to have all of our messages available on the go.
How we use our phones is very personal, and everyone has preferences regarding the apps they use. In the following article, we will be breaking down 5 of the best email apps for iOS. Whether you prefer Apple’s default app or something a little different, here are some quality options for you to consider:
1. Apple Mail
First up on our list is the Apple’s stock offering, Mail. This is the default app that comes installed with iOS, and offers some powerful tools to help you manage your digital life. Because Mail comes pre-installed, most people may gravitate towards Apple’s email client. Overall, Mail offers a nice suite of features to satisfy iOS users.
At its core, Mail follows more of a “no frills” approach when it comes to email. Lovers of the app will appreciate the clean and simple design, which favors usability over visual distractions. Compared to other email apps, there are no crazy color combinations going on here – black, white, and blue take center stage. There are no contact circles or other types of avatars in your inbox. Your inbox will greet you with the senders’ names, keeping things basic.
In Mail, your main inbox is the star of the show. However, tapping the “Mailboxes” back arrow allows you to view your various accounts and folders. You can also access your drafts, sent items, and junk emails. These are all clearly labeled thanks to their respective icons.
Like most email apps, Apple Mail includes a compose button in the bottom right. You can also choose to set quick filters for your inbox. These can include unread messages, flagged messages, attachments, and VIP messages. Opposite the compose button is the filter toggle in the bottom left. Tapping this once applies your filters and changes your inbox view accordingly. Simply tap the filters icon again to disable filtering.
You can insert an image or video by positioning your cursor where you want it, then holding your finger on the screen. Using the side arrows, you can also choose to add an attachment directly from iCloud Drive. Though useful, it would be less clunky to include easily-accessible buttons to access attachments and media. Currently options are a bit too hidden for their own good.
Mail users can also make use of gestures and customized buttons to boost productivity. Managing large amounts of emails can be tricky, but Mail makes this relatively easy. With a sideways swipe in either direction, you can quickly flag, delete, or archive messages. The primary actions here can be customized in Settings > Mail > Swipe Options.
Finally, a VIP inbox allows you to include certain contacts you deem most important. Instead of going to your main inbox, Mail will direct emails from these contacts to the VIP inbox. If you are keeping an eye out for something important, VIP features can be helpful.
Functionality is the double-edged sword for Mail. While most users do not need additional features, power users may want options like snooze and scheduled email. As third-party apps add features like smart inboxes, Apple is still playing catching up. For Gmail users, there are no push notifications for those accounts. You will have to rely on a scheduled fetch, or manually refresh your inbox.
All this in mind, Mail is certainly a strong choice for the vast majority of iOS users, but may leave some wanting more. You can download Mail here, if needed.
Pros: Clean, native iOS design with easy iCloud Drive integration. Ability to create a special inbox for VIP contacts makes organization easier. Can view conversations by email thread.
Cons: No push notifications for Gmail accounts, UI customization is a little bit limited. There is no snooze feature or built-in calendar.
2. Spark by Readdle
Next up on our list of the best email apps for iOS is Spark. One of the more visually unique and customizable email apps in the App Store, Spark is a great option on iOS. It also offers useful tools for power users and casual users alike.
In many ways, Spark deviates from the typical design language of iOS while offering its own style. Sporting unique fonts and smaller headings, Spark favors screen real estate more than iOS. Plenty of white space and well-organized items make scanning your inbox easier. Speaking of scanning, Spark adds icons next to sender names to categorize the type of email received. A person denotes personal mail, a bell marks alerts and confirmations, and a signal icon marks newsletters.
You can customize the look of the app within Spark’s settings. Background colors can be changed to match your tastes, with four options at your disposal. These style options effect both the sidebar and top banner. You may even tailor the quick-actions button, which Spark names the “widget.” Spark places this button next to the compose button by default, but users can move these options to the top banner.
User actions are clearly labeled, and items like attachments stand out with a pop of color. Most items are color coded, preventing things from blending together. You can even color code your mail accounts.
Spark includes a great collection of features that offers users firm control over their email experience. First up is the Smart Inbox, which automatically organizes your incoming emails based on type. A special sorted view keeps email categories separate, which Spark calls Personal, Notifications, and Newsletters. While Spark pushes the Smart Inbox, you can disable it in settings. You can easily tap the toggle in the upper right to change between your Smart and traditional inboxes, if you prefer both views.
While composing a message, Spark offers users quick buttons for adding media and files. You can access your photo library or iCloud Drive with ease. On the same banner, Spark offers options to alert yourself to stagnant messages. If your recipient has not replied in a long time, Spark will remind you. In addition, you may even schedule your email to send at a specific time or date. If using Spark for business, you can invite team members to join the conversation using secure links.
Speaking to cloud integration, users can connect with many popular services like Dropbox, Drive, OneDrive, Box, and more. If there are files you need to access, Spark has your back.
Also included is a built-in calendar, where you can keep track of events and appointments. To streamline the reply process, Spark lets you customize Quick Actions to provide rapid responses to emails. These may be best suited for casual replies and confirmations.
Finally, Spark offers Smart Notifications, which only notifies you of important emails. You can also heavily customize swipe options to help you manage your growing inbox.
Overall, Spark is a massively-powerful client that offers options to users of all types. Spark does not have many shortcomings, and provides a rich experience down to the details. You can download Spark here.
Pros: Fully-featured with many options for composing messages. Inbox swipe gestures are varied and fluid. Business options elevate Spark from only personal use to a true enterprise option.
Cons: Quick Replies are more social, and may not be best for business use.
3. Gmail by Google
Gmail is the most popular email service today, so not including Gmail on our list of best email apps for iOS would feel criminal. Overall, Google’s app offers a vibrant and rich email experience.
From the company whose logo is comprised of four colors, Google’s Gmail app is accordingly quite vibrant in its own right. Gmail injects a little bit of personality into the mix, with bright colors, patterns, and even circular sender avatars. While many apps can feel strictly professional, Google takes a fun approach.
That being said, the Gmail app is not cluttered. Sender images are tasteful and not dominant. Within the inbox, there are only buttons for the sidebar, compose, and search. By default, each message only shows two preview lines, offering a nice balance of cleanliness and information. Sender photos can be disabled in settings, which then give way to check boxes. However, we might prefer it if these boxes only appeared after a long press. Things might look a tad cleaner that way.
From a usage standpoint, Gmail offers all of the essentials and then some. Like other Spark and other apps on our list, Gmail includes customized snooze settings. As is common with modern email apps, users can also manage and create new email signatures.
Similarly to Spark, Gmail also has its own version of Smart Reply for supported emails. This allows you to quickly interact with incoming mail more efficiently.
The email composer offers easy access to attachments and media on your device, as well as in the cloud. Gmail automatically integrates with Google Drive, and offers attachment suggestions when attaching items. The app will also recommend recipients from your contacts if you are emailing a friend or family member. Unique to Gmail is the option to send and request money using Google Pay. This included service gives Gmail more of a Venmo or Apple Pay feel when appropriate.
Gmail also includes a Confidential Mode, which restricts access to certain emails and contents for a set time. Users can unlock these emails and interact with them fully using a passcode which Google supplies.
Lastly, Gmail gives users passive options when communicating with others. You can make use of a Vacation Responder, which will send automatic replies while you are away. You may customize the subject and content of these replies, along with their time window. If you or your recipients sit on any emails for too long, Gmail will “nudge” you to either take or seek further action.
Being the mainstream option on this list aside from Apple Mail, the Gmail app gives users a plethora of options when it comes to managing emails. With some unique features and clean layout, extended use will be a joy. You can download Gmail by Google here.
Pros: Mostly clean layout with personality. Unique features like Vacation Responder and Confidential Mode give users options that other clients do not. Keeping emails organized is simple, and core functions are powerful.
Cons: Despite Confidential Mode, Gmail unfortunately offers little more for business teams. Layout options with sender photos disabled can be cleaned up slightly. No clear iCloud Drive compatibility.
4. Microsoft Outlook
In our search for the best email apps for iOS, we have finally arrived at the enterprise behemoth. Microsoft Outlook has long been used by businesses for its comprehensive feature set. Now, many of those features are available to personal users on iOS.
Overall, Outlook for iOS is perhaps one of the most modern email apps in its appearance. The overall design and iconography is clean, and the theme relies on a simple black and white look. Of course, there are small splashes of color to keep things interesting.
Like other email apps, Outlook has a main view focused on the inbox. If you want to move to other folders or accounts, a hamburger menu opens the sidebar to the left – pretty standard. When interacting with your inbox, swiping options are colored to help them stand out from one another.
The bottom banner contains buttons for quick access to Inbox, search, and the calendar.
Like Spark, Outlook focuses heavily on putting what it considers the most important items in front of you. Outlook has its own smart inbox, which it calls your Focused Inbox. Microsoft says Outlook places the items requiring the most attention there. This focuses on personal email and email from contacts, as opposed to email blasts and other mass emails. Users can toggle this feature on or off in settings. You can also choose to only receive notifications from your Focused Inbox, or for all emails.
Outlook offers customizable swipe gestures, allowing you to choose two main actions for your inbox. You can access these commands by swiping right or left on a message. These are colored so they stand out from one another. You can delete, archive, or even schedule messages, the latter requiring a special folder.
As is becoming increasingly standard, Outlook offers an option to organize conversations by thread. These threads are very easy to interact with, and appear to be sorted neatly.
Composing an email is straightforward, and users can easily add media and files as needed. Outlooks offers access to services like OneDrive, Box, Dropbox, and even Google Drive. Outlook will also pull attachments from your other emails as suggestions. However, iCloud Drive is absent. If you heavily rely on this service, you may want to look elsewhere. As is no surprise, you can edit Microsoft documents and attach them from their Office apps.
Outlook includes a robust calendar, where you can tailor events, notifications, and the like. You can also quickly send meeting availability to team members using the composer. If you are leading a meeting, you may send invites to contacts.
Finally, Outlook includes integration with apps like Evernote, Facebook, and Trello. With this in mind, Microsoft is really trying to help power users remain in the loop.
Much of what makes desktop Outlook popular for businesses has made its way into its iOS app. This is great news for users who simply need to get things done. Outlook has a wide set of features, and has consistently been one of the most popular email apps for this very reason.
You can download Microsoft Outlook here.
Pros: Powerhouse features for professionals and causal users. Calendar and email management features are well-integrated. Layout and features are user friendly.
Cons: No options for iCloud Drive users.
5. Email by Edison Mail
Rounding out our list of the best email apps for iOS is Email by Edison Mail. While the name is basic, the well-rounded features available to users are anything but. Email includes some interesting management tools for orders, payments, and more.
Aside from Apple Mail, Email is decidedly the most iOS-like in look and feel. Taking cues from iOS 11 and its preference for large headings, Email feels at home on the iPhone. The overall color scheme is black and white, with splashes of color to help users navigate the app.
Email’s overall layout is quite simple. In the bottom right is a compose button, with a hamburger menu in the top left, and a search bar in the center. Everything is visually pleasing and right where you need it to be.
Like other apps, Email also has a sidebar where other accounts and folders are located.
In the compose view, Email keeps things clean and nicely organized. You can access files and media by directly tapping the available icons above the keyboard. Email defaults to iCloud Drive, but if you have other services connected through there then you may access their contents. The photo viewer brings up a scrolling banner of available photos. You can choose a photo here, or jump right into the Photos app if you need to hunt something down.
The inbox is spaced nicely, and paper clip icons show emails that contain attachments. Conversations are automatically organized in a threaded view. These conversations are numbered, telling you the total number of emails exchanged.
Swipe options are actually quite plentiful in Email. You can assign two swipe gestures per direction, which you can access via a short or long swipe. These are colored differently to stand out. You may snooze emails, trash them, mark as read or unread, flag, archive, or move them. For snoozing, you can choose a time later that day, the following day, or the following week.
Users can customize 3D Touch actions to their preferences. You can edit signatures, and even choose a primary email account if there are multiple. Email also offers a unique feature called Drag Dot. If you want to mark an email as read, you can simply drag this dot sideways from the inbox view.
By far, the star of the show for Email is its ability to keep track of packages, bills and receipts, entertainment, travel, subscriptions, and more. Think of these sections as special inboxes. You can tap each of these categories to view assorted messages. Email will keep track of your orders, boarding passes, and more – you can even track packages! The app makes it dead simple to manage these sporadic but important messages.
Email by Edison Mail brings some compelling features to the table, offering what few other apps do. A clean interface and inbox cleanup shortcuts will make email exciting again. You can download Email by Edison Mail here.
Pros: Awesome tools to keep track of bills, orders, passes, and more. Clean layout, fluid UI, and essential features make emailing easy. Smart replies for quick responses.
Cons: No calendar for power users and power planners.
There you have it, our best email apps for iOS. Hopefully you will finally find the app that makes your email experience exponentially better.