Airmail 2: The Best Email Client For The Mac
Email is probably one of the most important functions of any computing device, be it an ultra-powerful desktop system or an ultra-portable device in your pocket or on your wrist.
This one function has largely displaced traditional physical correspondence to such a degree that I, for one, haven’t written a letter on paper for over a decade and a half. I would wager that holds true for most of us, and that’s discounting millennials and younger, who may never have handwritten a letter on paper for the purpose of personal communication in their entire lives.
With the critical importance of email well understood, it should come as no surprise that which email client you use can exert a profound impact over your daily productivity. This article focuses on the most intuitive and powerful client I have tried, to date, on the OSX desktop: Airmail 2.
The interface being the first thing you see, we’ll begin here:
Airmail 2 features a beautiful interface. For multiple accounts, particularly, the Unified Inbox view up top, with individual account inboxes and folders in a collapsed view below, is intuitive, tidy, and pleasing to the eye.
There are upsides and downsides to any application. That goes for Airmail 2, as well. However, if you are willing to overlook the downsides, the upsides are just amazing.
Airmail 2 works with multiple email services, including iCloud, Gmail, Outlook.com, Yahoo, and more. One of its best features was a temptation to add to the Interface section — the Unified Inbox.
Unified Inbox allows you to read and process messages from *all* your email services at a glance. Moreover, the options for processing messages is extensive.
As you can see, Airmail 2 allows you to filter a read message into one of several predefined categories. I find this particularly helpful with messages that will have a response that is in the very near future but not Right Now.
But one of Airmail 2’s strongest upsides is also one of its strongest downsides — depending on your budget.
Airmail 2, for the most part, “farms out” its spam detection duties to a third-party application, SpamSieve.
Some may see this as a negative — and not without cause. I certainly saw it as a negative initially myself. Airmail 2 alone costs $10 through the Mac App Store. SpamSieve by itself costs $30 through the developer web site.
That’s a not-inconsiderable investment in order to replace and enhance the functionality of an app that Apple includes with OSX for free.
But read on.
The combination of Airmail 2 and SpamSieve carries with it *phenomenal* spam-blocking power, and delivers it through a stylish, minimal, functional and above all *intuitive* interface that Apple’s Mail — and all Mail’s other competitors — simply do not even approach, let alone match.
SpamSieve carries several dozen (at least) pre-written conditions for detecting and deflecting junk email. But the really powerful drive of the app is that you can train it to recognize new spam angles as they emerge; it learns from you.
And now let’s step back from SpamSieve to address a form of spam elimination which actually *is* built right into Airmail 2 and which, until recently, I hadn’t even noticed:
The ability to *bounce* spam messages. Now, this is important — bouncing spam is a very powerful action, and you need to know when to do it, and when *not* to do it.
DO bounce spam:
*When it comes from a non-forged source, such as a mailing list or organization that a third party has shared your email address with, but which itself sends you mail from a verifiable address.
For example, if you signed a petition to stop Senators from lighting iguanas on fire back in 2006, and now you’re getting drowned in spam from liberal or conservative PACs seeking donations for everything under the sun, go right ahead and bounce it. It will tell their servers that your email address is no longer valid, which should get your “invalid” email address off their “let’s send this person crap” list.
Do NOT bounce spam:
*When the originating address appears to be private or obviously fake, or when the recipient address (which should be your address) is either *not* your address, or reads as, “undisclosed recipients.”
If you bounce a message addressed in this way, one of two things can happen:
1. Nothing at all, or
2. You just rebroadcasted the spam to everyone else who falls under “Undisclosed Recipients”, in effect making *yourself* part of the spammer’s machine.
Message bouncing is a powerful tool — if you don’t know when and how to employ it, you could cause others as much trouble as you save yourself. But it’s *awesome* that Airmail puts that power (and, don’t forget, that responsibility) in the user’s hands.
So do I recommend Airmail 2 to Mac users? *Absolutely.* Do I recommend that you pair it with SpamSieve? *Absolutely.*
You can try Airmail 2 by visiting http://airmailapp.com
You can try SpamSieve by visiting http://c-command.com/spamsieve/
Thanks for reading. As always, be good to yourselves and each other.