Most Mac users have a love hate relationship with Mail, Apple’s built-in Mac email app. At best, Mail gathers and saves our email messages. At worst, Mail is becoming more like Microsoft Word, loaded with features most of us never use.
Assume for a moment that there’s a better way to do email than Mail. Sparrow is a Mac app that goes in the opposite direction of Mail. Instead of every feature and function under the sun, Sparrow is light and simple.
At first glance, Sparrow looks like an email app. But if you look closely you’ll see that it’s not cluttered with a do-everything-toolbar.
Sparrow follows threads in your email messages with a click, so you won’t have to jump around to figure out the email conversation.
Replies are instant. Click, write, and send from the same window. No extra pop up windows. Sparrow is social, too, and adds your friend’s Facebook profile photos so you can see who’s sending you mail.
Like Apple’s Mail, the inbox is unified so you can manage multiple accounts but not have to click around to check incoming email. I like being able to create labels and folders and Sparrow does that easier than Mail.
There is a toolbar but it’s more of a writing formatting bar so you can change fonts, create lists, and customize a message. But no templates. Your Mac’s Quick Look functionality is built-in, too. Press the Spacebar to preview attachments.
Setup notifications for specific accounts, and create multiple email aliases. If you’re a Gmail user, Sparrow handles the Priority Inbox. Screen space on a Mac is a premium, so there’s both a Minimal mode to hide previews and the sidebar, and an extended sidebar to view folders, labels, and email accounts in one window.
What you won’t find in Sparrow is much clutter. It’s deceptively simple and straightforward to setup multiple email accounts, and that’s where you’ll run into the only major caveat.
Sparrow does IMAP email and not POP email. That means it’s fine for Gmail, Yahoo! mail, AOL mail, even Apple’s iCloud mail, and most IMAP servers. But no POP mail. Sparrow also has a price tag, though it’s nominal. And, fortunately, there’s also Sparrow Lite, which is free.