Best email app for Mac – including free options

Spark is a well-regarded messaging app by Readdle, so much so that it received Apple’s Editors’ Choice award on the Mac App Store.

It’s relatively easy to set up, although there are a few hurdles to jump through when it comes to iCloud. To set this up in Spark, you’ll need to generate an app-specific password, and to do that, you’ll need two-factor authentication. This is more of an Apple security feature than a limitation with Spark.

Spark’s layout is clean and simple. In the sidebar you have all your inboxes for the different email services you link (Gmail, Hotmail, iCloud, Exchange, etc.), but there is also a universal inbox so you can see everything at same place. One of the real benefits of Spark is the smart inbox setting. This divides your received mail into different sections including Personal, Notifications, Newsletters, Pins, and Seen. Right from the start, we already felt less stressed because it felt like the important things had been taken away so we could focus on them right away.

Open an email and you’ll see an option to pin – which is similar to choosing to flag an email in Mail, but more in line with how you can pin a note in Notes or a webpage in Safari. It’s an easy way to separate important emails so you can find them quickly – but don’t pin everything. If only Mail could do that too!

You also have a snooze option, which we think is a great idea. We tend to “manage” our emails by opening them, looking at them to see if we need to take action immediately, and then marking them as unread to come back to later. With Spark, we can choose to reschedule an email for later today, tomorrow, next week, a day, or choose a date.

You’ll see another cool feature if you scroll to the bottom of an email. Here you will see buttons for Reply, Forward, and Quick Reply. Quick Reply is kind of like how you can respond to text messages or social media posts with a Like or a Love, with the addition of replies like Good Idea or Call Me. We like the idea, but these types of replies probably aren’t appropriate for business email.

There are handy swipe actions you can use to quickly manage your emails. A short swipe from left to right changes from read to unread. A long swipe from left to right archives an email. A short swipe from the right Pins an email. And a long swipe to the right will delete. We were a little worried about accidentally deleting something we wanted to pin. You can actually change the swipe actions in the settings which makes it even more useful.

Templates are another handy feature. If you often send identical or similarly worded emails, you can store them in templates and call them when needed.

If you find yourself frequently checking your emails late at night and you stop responding right away because you don’t want your email missed or because you don’t want that person feel obligated to respond to you at 11 p.m., then Send Later is for you. This allows you to schedule an email to be sent, so you can choose to send later today, tonight or tomorrow, or choose a date from the calendar.

There’s also the option to set a reminder – so if a response hasn’t been received for, say, a week, you can get an alert reminding you to remind them to move. It could be really helpful.

The app has a built-in calendar that works with iCloud and Gmail. It supports iCloud, Google, Yahoo, Exchange, Outlook and IMAP.

Spark is free, but you can pay a monthly fee per user for various team-focused features and additional file storage. The app is awesome and you should definitely give it a try, plus there’s also an iOS app which is just as powerful.

About Sandra A. Powell

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