Allow me to share a common sentiment. I hate email. The killer app of the internet is the app that kills. Email kills time. Email kills a positive attitude. Who among us has not become upset because of email, whether a nastygram from the boss, or a growing pile of spam to sort through, email is the app we love to hate.
Apple’s Mail app is decent and, typical for Apple, has a good blend of features that help to make email management tolerable. Or, mostly tolerable. Or, sometimes tolerable. But Apple’s Mail has issues. Not everyone needs all those features. Power email users need, well, more power. Despite the junk mail feature, spam remains a problem.
What I like about Mail probably is what you like, too. It’s a somewhat similar interface Mac to iPhone to iPad.
Are there alternatives to Apple’s built-in Mail app? Yes. There’s Microsoft’s Outlook, free on iPhone and iPad, but subscription for Mac. Anything else? Any other email apps which have versions to run on Mac, iPhone, and iPad?
Enter CloudMagic, a free email application for iPhone and iPad, and now with a new version for Mac (which comes with a price tag). The iOS version has been around awhile and has millions of users, and for good reason. CloudMagic much beloved and garnered nearly 10,000 reviews on the iOS App Store, with an average rating of 4.5 stars.
There’s much to like about CloudMagic. It gives you instant push notifications from nearly any email service (IMAP, Gmail, Yahoo!, iCloud, et al), including Exchange. It even works on Apple Watch.
What I like best about the OS X and iOS versions is the unified inbox, a requirement for anyone with multiple email accounts (trust me, I have more than my share, and some date back to the last century). File attachments are pain in any email app but CloudMagic has options to save attachments in Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud Drive and other locations.
The Mac version varies from the iOS versions thanks to increased screen real estate.
CloudMagic is not nearly as visually cluttered as Apple’s Mail app. Managing email begins with the unified inbox so you won’t be tempted or distracted from a bunch of buttons and options. The Compose option gives you a simple, white screen to type your message, sans the clutter.
CloudMagic takes a cue from Apple’s famed integration and features Handoff, so whatever you’re doing with email on one device shows up on another device. The basics are there, of course. Unread messages have a visual badge with a count of unread email. Messages can be filtered and marked as needed; read, unread, move, delete, archive.
Folders can be synchronized, any message can be printed, and there’s an option to sync accounts and messages across devices which means using IMAP requires just seconds to setup and use a new device and have email running. Even HTML signatures can be synced.
This very Mac-like email app manages message threads and even includes photos so you can quickly see who said what within the message. That and account sync between devices is worth the price of admission. But that doesn’t mean investing in CloudMagic across all your Apple devices is a no-brainer. There is much to like, but there are some deal breakers.
For example, spam is an ubiquitous problem and while Apple’s junk mail filter helps, the well designed SpamSieve reduces the problem to less than an annoyance (at an extra cost). CloudMagic does filter spam before it hits the inbox.
Finally, there’s the issue with business model. For the Mac, CloudMagic is a commercial app and that means it has a price tag. Apple’s Mail app is built-in to every device, which means Mail isn’t likely to fall victim to a lack of customers. CloudMagic’s iOS version is free, but free isn’t much of a business model, so the usual caveat emptor thoughts apply here. Plus, there’s no try-before-you-buy version for the Mac.
Otherwise, CloudMagic is more than decent; it’s downright great to use (despite the issue with spam filtering), and the account sync with IMAP accounts works great between devices.