The 6 best email clients for Mac in 2022 | Zapier

As a professional technical writer, I’ve been trying to make email better, both for myself personally and to have something to write about, for almost a decade. I’ve spent countless hours setting up automated rules, setting up nested accounts, and generally exploring the outer limits of what’s possible with email. my conclusion? email is always going to be a bit terrible.

but if you’re using a mac, there’s hope. There are some great native Mac email apps out there that make the experience so much better and more Mac-like. they can make reading incoming mail, navigating your inbox, sorting your messages, and crafting your responses an almost pleasurable experience (it’s still email, mind you).

I searched the bunch of email clients for macos, spent time testing each contender, and landed on these six apps as the best email clients for mac.

top 6 email clients for mac

  • apple mail for a basic free mac mail app

    airmail for a feature rich alternative to apple mail

    spark for email collaboration

    canary mail for a security-focused mac email client

    microsoft outlook for people who value features over simplicity

    mailspring for a fast, free and feature packed mac email client

    what makes the best email client for mac?

    To put together this list, I went through dozens of mac email clients (and skinned web apps pretending to be mac email clients). this is what i was looking for:

    • the full email experience. You need to be able to read, write, search and sort your mail. Apps that just added gmail notifications to the menu bar and other similar features were not included.

      compatibility with the most popular email services. email applications should, where possible, be service independent. I was looking for apps that support major services like gmail and office 365 as well as imap and pop3 protocols so I can use most of the other options.

      a great user experience. the gmail and outlook web apps are not nefarious. if you’re going to use a real app, it had better be nice. For mac apps, this means they should run natively, take advantage of macOS-specific features like the menu bar and notifications, and respect things like default keyboard shortcuts.

      advanced features and integrations. One of the benefits of having a dedicated email app is that you get access to more advanced features and integrations with other apps. while this was not strictly necessary, some form of email automation, filtering, and personalization was seen as a great advantage.

      improvements in the quality of life. There are simple settings, like being able to snooze emails so they come back to your inbox later or built-in reminders to follow up with someone you haven’t responded to, that make using an email app just be better.

      I tried any mac mail client that seemed to meet most of these criteria. in practice, this meant logging in with one of my (sadly many) email addresses and using it. I’ve gotten an absurd amount of experience with email apps over the last decade, so it was often clear pretty quickly which were great options and which had the potential to make the email experience even worse (yes, it’s possible).

      Any application that passed the initial detection test I used for a few days for normal email stuff. for the more advanced options, I went through the settings and preferences and played around with things to see how they would be used.

      No single application ticked all the boxes, at least not in the same way. some free apps were almost as good as the more expensive options for most things, but if you want, say, the most advanced customization options, then you’ll have to pay. which is better? that’s up to you to decide.

      With that in mind, here are the best email apps for mac.

      the best mac email client for a basic and free solution

      apple mail

      apple mail is already on your mac, which in itself makes it a strong default and the best option. the app received a visual overhaul a year or two ago and feels much more modern because of it. if you’ve ignored this one for a while, it might be time to take a look again.

      apple mail is quick to set up. is a basic email client with support for a range of services, including the company’s own icloud mail, gmail, yahoo! mail, exchange and aol mail. it also allows you to connect your own imap and pop3 accounts, with s/mime support for end-to-end encryption.

      The user interface is clean, with mailboxes, folders, and accounts accessed through the sidebar. messages are presented as threaded conversations that are separated by topic. unified mailboxes let you see all your incoming, sent, and draft mail in one list by default, or you can choose specific mailboxes if you prefer.

      a standout feature is the inclusion of smart mailboxes that filter your mail based on the rules you choose. go to mailbox > new smart mailbox to define the criteria by which you want to filter your messages (for example, unread messages, mail with attachments, mail from a specific person, messages you never replied to, or some combination of all of the above ) . then you can quickly access your filters via the sidebar under the smart mailboxes heading.

      There are also many other bells and whistles. handoff with ios lets you seamlessly pick up where you left off on your mobile device, and mail drop uploads large attachments to icloud for easier sharing. this is a solid email client, and you already have it. most users should check it out first, unless you are sure you need other specific features.

      apple mail price: free

      the best mac email client for a feature rich alternative to apple mail


      airmail takes the basic premise of an email client like apple mail and builds on more modern features and an emphasis on speed. There is strong support for all major email services including Gmail, Outlook, Exchange, and IMAP or Pop3 mailboxes. you can browse and respond to all your mail from a single unified inbox, which brings all your accounts together in one place. When you compose a new message, you’ll use a drop-down menu to select which of your connected accounts and people you’d like to send from. airmail is actually the application that I used for almost five years. I only stopped because I moved my email to hey, which requires you to use their (honestly inferior) app.

      airmail is a fast and clean email client that doesn’t bog you down with features you don’t need. If you’re familiar with Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts, you’re in luck: Airmail uses them by default. you can also set your own custom shortcuts. swipe left or right with two fingers on the touchpad to archive or trash a message, or set your own custom swipe actions (such as snooze a message or mark it as read/unread) from the Settings preferences. airmail.

      Conversations are sorted by topic, with a quick reply button to reply to an online message. click the little looping arrow icon and a reply field will appear, making it easy to reply to a specific message in a thread without losing your place. Composing a new message or a “full” reply takes place in a separate window, just like Apple Mail. you can drag and drop your attachments into this window, with full support for icloud mail link sharing.

      snooze the email directly from your inbox so it appears at a more relevant time, which you can define within your airmail preferences. turn your messages into to-dos or memos with the built-in airmail organizer with two clicks or a keyboard shortcut. the organizer sits at the bottom of the sidebar and looks and feels like an inbox for your schedule.

      It’s a fast, clean and full-featured application.

      Airmail price: Free for many features; paid plans from $2.99/month.

      best mac email client for email collaboration


      spark is a desktop email client that offers gmail-like features for outlook, icloud, yahoo! email, exchange and imap accounts (with support for gmail too of course). It includes a ton of handy features, like the ability to snooze an email to view later with one click, and smart sorting of your inbox into categories like personal, notifications, and newsletters. You can even get follow-up reminders for emails you’ve sent and check when you’re free with the built-in calendar tool.

      spark is a decent email app that’s worth checking out if for some reason you don’t like mail or airmail, but spark for teams is where the mail app takes on a whole new life. the team behind spark has not only built a solid email application, but also developed a collaborative email platform (if that’s what you’re looking for).

      This includes unique features such as the ability to privately chat with team members via email in a small chat box to the right of the message. Collaborative writing allows you to invite other team members to collaborate and review your email in real time (just like Google Docs). create safe links pointing to specific threads or messages and share them with your team. With these features, Spark could even work as a lightweight CRM solution for some startups and small teams.

      Spark Pricing: Free for 5GB of storage, two active contributors per team, and five email templates; from $7.99/user/month for the premium plan that includes 10GB of storage per team member, unlimited collaborators, and unlimited email templates.

      the best mac email client to focus on security

      Canary mail

      canary mail is an email client for the security conscious. It supports end-to-end encryption using pgp, as well as its custom secure send feature that allows you to send encrypted messages to anyone, regardless of the email service they use.

      for pgp, you can choose to use canary’s own pgp-based encryption (which requires the recipient to also use canary), or advanced users can use their own private pgp keys. securesend, on the other hand, is as simple as flipping a switch when composing a new email: if the recipient doesn’t have a canary, they’ll be prompted to log in to a secure site to view the message. Regardless of how you have encryption enabled, no one besides the recipient will be able to read your message, not even your email provider.

      In addition to privacy features, Canary offers a variety of tools to enhance your productivity. There’s support for categories, which automatically classifies social media posts, updates, forums, promotions, and real email from people you know. you can also set different notification sounds for different email accounts.

      There are a host of other useful features that lift canary beyond its security-focused roots. You can keep track of your emails to see if they’ve been read, snooze incoming messages for later, and unsubscribe from newsletters by clicking the thumbs-down icon at the top of the message. There are also profiles for all your contacts, in some cases including social network links and a built-in calendar. canary works with gmail, icloud, office 365, yahoo! mail and imap accounts.

      price of canary mail: free with standard features (which does not include pgp encryption). $20, with a 30-day free trial, for pro features. also available in setapp.

      the best mac email client for people who value features over simplicity

      microsoft outlook

      If you have a personal Microsoft 365 subscription or use it for work, you already have Microsoft Outlook, including the Mac version. That should be reason enough to give Microsoft’s full-featured email client a try, as it works with Microsoft, Gmail, iCloud, and Yahoo! mail, as well as standard imap and pop3 email addresses.

      outlook added some new features over the years. Focused Inbox is one of those tricks: It separates your inbox into two tabs, putting all the emails Outlook perceives as important in the Focused tab. twitter-like @mentions let you tag people, and outlook automatically adds their email addresses in the to: field, which can be useful if you often add co-workers to emails emails in the middle of writing them. you can even customize two-finger swipes to do things like archive or delete messages.

      Like most Microsoft Office branded products, Outlook includes excellent support for mail templates. Use Microsoft’s included templates or design your own so you can deploy them over and over again. And many of the modern email features that have emerged in recent years haven’t escaped Microsoft’s gaze either: follow-up reminders, delayed sending, email scheduling, and support for SVG graphics, to name a few.

      Outlook offers all of these mail features, plus a calendar, chat, task manager, and note-taking. You can even create Microsoft 365 groups right in Outlook. If you take an “everything including the kitchen sink” approach to email (or are just forced to use it professionally), Outlook is the client for you.

      outlook pricing: starting at $6.99/month for microsoft 365 personal.

      best mac email client for fast, free and full featured email

      source of mail

      mailspring is the only open source app on this list, which for some people is reason enough to look into it, but that’s far from the only thing to like here. this is a fast and functional email client that makes it easy to set up multiple accounts. there is support for gmail, office 365, yahoo! mail, icloud, fastmail and more: mailspring supports just about any email service you can think of.

      Set up your accounts and you can quickly browse and search your pending email, thanks to a local message cache. the search function is robust, with support for filtering by sender and date. honestly it’s the only client i’ve tried that looks for something as fast as gmail. There are also plenty of customization opportunities, from custom themes to plugins. You can choose from Gmail, Apple Mail, or Outlook keyboard shortcuts, or set your own. and there’s even a simple automation system, which lets you set up rules to do things like send emails from particular senders directly to a folder or filter based on keywords.

      There’s a lot to like here, especially with the free version. paying users get some quality of life improvements, read receipts, a sidebar with contact info and social media links, and even link tracking, but at $8/mo, it’s in high demand. Check out the free version first, especially if you were ever a fan of Nylas Mail – this is the reincarnation of that product.

      mailspring price: free. $8/month for pro, which adds contact profiles, follow-up reminders, read receipts, and more.

      alternative approaches to email

      I was looking for the best email app for mac, but all the apps I came across have a pretty straightforward approach to email. you have an inbox, you reply to people – it’s a step up from the app you used in the early 2000s, but it’s not radically different. if you want a tool that tries something new with email, you might consider one of the following:

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