Airmail for Mac a great replacement for Apple Mail

“After Mac OS X 10.8, Apple Mail has been going downhill by every update. It’s weird because the iOS Mail app is rock solid,” Jack Zimmermann writes for JackenHack. “Apple Mail has become a slow, unreliable application although they have fixed some of the more serious problems in the latest release. For the first time in many years, I was on the lookout for a new email client software.”

“I wanted to be able to have both of my private and work email accounts in the same program, but have them totally separate to make life easier, and after searching the net I found an application called Airmail [introductory price: $1.99],” Zimmermann writes. “Airmail is fast. I mean, really fast! I just bought a new MacBook Pro 15″ Retina with a 2.5Ghz Intel i7, so it’s probably not the best computer to pass any judgement on the speed of an application, but my computer at work is a three year old MacBook Pro and Airmail feels very fast on that machine as well.”

Much more in the full review here.


  1. Agree on both counts that Apple Mail is not as good as it once was, and that Airmail is a great replacement. I’ve been using Airmail for sometime now and I agree with the sentiments, though it does have its own problems from time to time (similar, in fact, to the problems of Apple a Mail but not nearly as frequent).

    Is it too early to ask anyone how the beta Yosemite version of a Apple Mail is performing?

    1. I have been testing this very thing with my heavy and challenging email use pattern.

      There is a material difference, especially with Gmail. Looking forward to the full and final version.

  2. I have a lot of complaints about Apple software giving a less pleasant user experience with each update but I can’t say I’ve noticed this in Apple Mail. None of the complaints here are specific. How, specifically, is Apple Mail going downhill?

    1. I noticed in the last version that you can no linger click and drag to dpselect a group of emails without one opening. Used to be you could select a group and drag them to the trash without opening any.

      Seems like I’ve had a few other small problems like this.

      On the other hand I have noticed that search is getting faster when it has to search on the server.

    2. Since Mountain Lion, IMAP only works about 50% of the time for me.

      Sometimes I will receive a mail notification on my iPhone, but it’ll never appear on my computer unless I quit and reopen the app. Sometimes I’ll come home and see a bunch of messages in my inbox that were deleted earlier in the day via my work computer or iPhone. Again, my only recourse is to quit and reopen the app. Sometimes it gets a wild hair and just decides that my password is invalid (Given: this could be a server issue, but it happens often enough that I don’t think so, and it’ll still work on my iPhone).

      The problems with Gmail are well documented as well.

    3. Here’s one:

      Mail does not display count of items selected anymore. It instead shows useless display of email documents on top of each other. I thought skeuomorphism was dead.

  3. Apple Mail….uughh!

    If only they would fix the weird font re-sizing issues in HTML email. There is a whole forum on Apples site regarding this issue going back years, yet they just ignore it.

    Boo hoo! Ha!

  4. Not quite sure what they are talking about here, either.

    A lot of the third party apps are not “better” but different. I am not seeing better, considering the screen shots and examples shown, and I haven’t seen what’s so bad about Mac Mail.

    I believe when people mark down a given product, yet they don’t provide any examples, they are touting hot air to hear themselves speak. People like to be experts even if they don’t know anything.

    Mac mail, what is it, Rock Solid or Slow and Unreliable? Seriously that is such a stupid paragraph.

    How rock solid does a mail app have to be? I have 15 mail account, AOL, Yahoo, Gmail, Me/iCloud/Mac, MSN/HotMail/Live, Vemio and Exchange. I have over 5GB of mail.

    Any problems I have are with the services, not being up all the time.

    I use smart folders, quite a bit. Unified accounts are a simple matter of selecting the master inbox, and just as easily, any of the other sub inboxes.

    Airmail is what’s left over from Sparrow. So who knows.

  5. I’m going to check it out.

    IMAP has become so slow in that I had to dump it. Maybe its the app itself but its become dog slow. Sync a folder and it hangs forever. The last 2 times it updated its mail database it beach balled for an eternity and I had to blow it out of memory, nuke my prefs and take it back to stock to get it going again.

    I’m on freakin’ outlook 2011 at the moment which looks dated so I’ll def take a look at this app.

  6. I really, really want to love Airmail. It’s so close to being an excellent application. But every time I use it, it feels just rough enough around the edges that I can’t feel confident in it.

    For example, the search keyboard shortcut pulls up the text entry box but doesn’t place the cursor in it, making it so you have to use the mouse anyway. And the text that appears when hovering over a link in a message sometimes shows up on a different message window. Little things like that that add up.

    I guess coming from Sparrow I’m a bit spoiled (I still use it on my primary machine, where it runs like a dream), but until they polish it up a bit more, it won’t be ready for prime time.

  7. I’m also not sure what’s with the Mail app negativism. I’ve used it for years with few issues to consolidate my multiple email accounts, IMAP and POP alike.

    I suspect some if the negativity may be related to third party apps like gmail changing their feature set and it not playing well with Mail.

    I’ve also noticed the people who complain the most to me about Mail becoming sluggish are the same ones who leave all their email in their Inbox, rather than filing it away in some folder structure in the app, forcing the app to actively handle thousands of old read emails whenever new unread email arrives.

    I have tens of thousands of emails over years stored in my Mail app’s folder structure, and Mail handles them all fine, instantly pulling them up when I do routine searches for items I’ve filed, but forgotten where. I think the trick is just to move read emails out of the Inbox, and all will be fine.

  8. Hi!
    I wrote the blog post from my perspective. I use Gmail (Google Apps) with iMAP. I also manage 45 users at work that use Apple Mail connected to Google Apps. Apple Mail doesn’t work very well with iMAP connected to Gmail. Missed synced folders, multiple half written email messages saved to draft (Apple has fixed this in a update now) and other similar problems. Google doesn’t follow the iMAP standard and uses tags instead of folders, so all developers, including Apple have to accommodate for that. So Google is to blame here as well, but the reality is that a lot of people use Gmail, and right now Apple Mail doesn’t work as well as it used to.

    I adhere to zero-inbox, so I don’t have a s***load of emails in my inbox.

    Airmail fits the way I like to work, it might not suit you…

    1. Why use Gmail? It’s not a free service because Google mines your data to send you targeted advertising. If Google wanted gmail to work with Apple Mail they would program accordingly. It’s not Mail, it’s google.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.