1. Install Gmail On Desktop
  2. Gmail Desktop App Mac

Mailplane is the Mac desktop app that we use everyday to manage our Gmail inbox. We like it because it mimics all the features that you get on Gmail in the browser while providing a desktop app to manage your gmail separately from the (always cluttered) browser experience. With the HubSpot Sales Chrome extension for Gmail, HubSpot Sales Office 365 add-in, or the HubSpot Sales Outlook desktop add-in, you can access your sales tools directly from your inbox. Refer to the table below to determine which extension or add-in is compatible with your setup. Mac owners who use Gmail know Apple's Mail app for OS X is less than perfect when it comes to pushing emails from Google's service. AppleInsider weeded through a forest of third party apps to find.

Whether you live in your inbox or just use it to communicate with those who do, email is going to be a daily part of your work life. And if you use a Mac, one of the best things you can do to improve your experience with email is use a Mac email client. Unlike web interfaces like Gmail, desktop apps focus on providing robust native applications that are more responsive and feature-rich.

The email app you choose can change how you read incoming mail, browse your inbox, organize messages, and craft your responses. We've dug deep into the pool of email clients for Mac, and here we'll give you our picks for the best in breed.

What Makes a Great Email Client for Mac?

While reviewing dozens of dedicated email clients, we focused on 'full-fat' email experiences. This means leaving out the smaller assistants, menu bar apps, browser plugins, and generally cut-down software. Our chosen apps each contain a full range of email features, including the ability to read, compose, search, and organize your mail.

Support for a good range of email services is also important. Some apps are built with specific services in mind (like Gmail or Office 365), while others offer support for a range of providers. Whether you're using your own IMAP compliant email account, Yahoo, iCloud, or Google's ubiquitous offerings, you'll find something here that fits the bill.

The best email apps go further than providing a pleasant place to read and write correspondence. Setting up rules, filtering your inbox, organizing mail, and searching for messages are all key aspects of any all-encompassing mail app. Each of our selected applications offers something in this department.

We also considered user experience, as native applications have more flexibility compared to web apps in this department. Some use multiple windows for different elements, others offer tabbed email browsing. Better support for keyboard shortcuts compared to web apps also provides a boost to productivity.

Finally, there are a few small quality-of-life improvements that make your email client a nicer place to spend time. These come in the form of handy features, like the ability to snooze emails to a later date, email tracking tools to let you know if your past message has been read, and reminders that notify you when it's time to send a follow-up message.

No single email app will tick all of the boxes, so it's up to you to decide what you're willing to pay, which app feels most comfortable, and which features you can't live without.

The 9 Best Email Clients for Mac

  • Apple Mail for a basic, free client
  • Airmail for a feature-rich alternative to Apple Mail
  • Spark for collaboration on emails
  • Canary Mail for a security-focused email client
  • Unibox for people who wish email was more like instant messaging
  • Microsoft Outlook for people who value features over simplicity
  • MailMate for writing plaintext and Markdown-compliant emails
  • Mailplane for chronic Gmail users
  • Hiri for Microsoft email users looking for an Outlook alternative

Apple Mail

Best Mac email client for a basic, free solution

Apple Mail is a free client that comes preinstalled on every new Mac sold—that in itself makes it a solid default choice for Mac users. The application's trademark postage stamp icon hasn't changed a lot over the years, and despite steady development from Apple, the client still retains its old-school feel.

Aside from the attractive lack of a price point, Apple Mail is often chosen for its simplicity. It's 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 but nothing special, with mailboxes, folders, and accounts accessed via the sidebar. Messages are presented as threaded conversations that are separated by subject. Unified mailboxes let you see all of your incoming, sent, and draft mail in a single list by default, or you can pick specific mailboxes if you prefer.

Gmail for mac desktop app

One standout feature is the inclusion of smart mailboxes that filter your mail based on rules of your choosing. Head to Mailbox > New Smart Mailbox to define the criteria by which you want to filter your messages (e.g., unread messages, mail with attachments, or messages you never responded to). You can then quickly access your filters via the sidebar beneath the Smart Mailboxes heading.

There are plenty of other bells and whistles too. Handoff with iOS allows you to seamlessly pick up where you left off on your mobile device, and Mail Drop uploads large attachments to iCloud for easier sharing. In a recent macOS update, Apple also included support for macOS Mojave's dark mode.

Apple Mail Pricing: Free.

For another free option, consider Mozilla Thunderbird, an email client from the developers of Firefox. Thunderbird is a free and highly extensible email client that feels like a classic version of Outlook. Some of the more useful features include tabbed email, sending of large attachments using cloud storage, and the ability to greatly change the look and feel of the app.

Airmail

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 it with more modern features and an emphasis on speed. There's robust support for all major email services, including Gmail, Outlook, Exchange, and IMAP or POP3 mailboxes. You can browse and reply to all of your mail from a single unified inbox, which brings all of your accounts together in one place. When you compose a new message, you'll use a dropdown to select which of your connected accounts and personas you want to send from.

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 shortcuts, you'll be off to a flying start, but you can also set your own custom shortcuts to navigate with your keyboard. Swipe left or right with two fingers on your trackpad to archive or bin a message, or set your own custom swipe actions (like snoozing a message or marking as read/unread) from within Airmail's preferences.

Conversations are threaded by subject, with a Quick Reply button for replying to a message in-line. Click the small speech bubble icon, and a reply field will pop out, which makes it easy to respond to a specific message in a thread without losing your place. Composing a new message or 'full' reply takes place in a separate window, much like Apple Mail. You can drag and drop your attachments into this window, with full support for iCloud's Mail Drop link sharing.

Snooze email directly from your inbox so that it appears at a more relevant time, which you can define within Airmail's preferences. Turn your messages into to-dos or memos using Airmail's built-in organizer in two clicks or using a keyboard shortcut. The organizer lives at the bottom of the sidebar and looks and feels just like an inbox for your schedule. You can even access your Google Contacts directly in the app using Google's search-as-you-type functionality.

Airmail Pricing:$26.99.

If you're willing to spend a pretty penny, we'd also suggest Newton (formerly known as CloudMagic). For $9.99/month, you get a client that's focused on speed, with instant notifications for all accounts, read receipts for everything you send, delayed sending, snoozing, sender profiling, and a feature called Recap that resurfaces emails that require your attention.

Spark

Best Mac email client for collaboration on emails

Spark is a desktop email client that brings Gmail-like features to Outlook, iCloud, Yahoo! Mail, Exchange, and IMAP email accounts (with support for Gmail too, of course). It includes a smorgasbord of conveniences, like the ability to snooze an email for later with a click and smart sorting of your inbox into categories like 'Personal,' 'Notifications,' and 'Newsletters.' Get follow-up reminders for email that you've sent, and organize your life using the built-in Calendar tool.

Spark for Teams is where the mail app takes on a whole new life. The team behind Spark hasn't just built a convincing email app—they've developed a collaborative email platform. This includes unique features like the ability to comment privately with team members on email in a small chat box to the right of the message. Collaborative composing allows you to invite other team members to collaborate and proofread your email in real time (just like Google Docs). Create secure links that point to specific threads or messages, and share them with your team. With these features, Spark could even function as a lightweight CRM solution.

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

If you're looking for an email client specifically for shared inboxes (vs. a personal email client that can also serve for collaboration), consider Front. Front allows you to connect mailboxes to channels, then assign team members to those channels. It's a powerful tool that can spread the heavy load of a busy inbox across your entire team.

Canary Mail

Best Mac email client for a focus on security

Canary Mail is an email client for the security-conscious individual due to its support for end-to-end encryption using PGP. You can choose to use Canary's own PGP-based encryption (which requires the recipient to also be using Canary) or private PGP keys for advanced users. With encryption enabled, nobody aside from the intended recipient is able to read your message—not even your email provider. Encryption can be enabled with a single click while composing your message.

In addition to privacy features, Canary offers a range of tools to improve your productivity. This includes the Focused Inbox, where Canary learns which emails are important to you and hides the rest with one click on the Focused tab at the top of the window. You can also search your mailboxes using natural language processing (think: 'photos from Dad last month') to find things quickly.

There are a host of other useful features that elevate Canary beyond its security-focused roots. You can track your emails to find out if they've been read, snooze incoming messages for later perusal, and unsubscribe from newsletters by clicking the thumbs down icon at the top of the message. Canary is suitable for use with Gmail, iCloud, Office 365, Yahoo! Mail, and IMAP accounts.

Canary Mail Pricing:$19.99.

Unibox

Best Mac email client for people who wish email was more like instant messaging

Unibox describes itself as a 'people-centric' mail client, something it achieves by grouping your messages by sender in reverse chronological order. Instead of seeing your inbox as a list of messages and subject headings, Unibox shows you a list of recent correspondents and the number of unread messages within each conversation.

The app presents everything—including email composition—in a single window view. Respond to an email, and a compose box will slide into view, providing just enough room to type your response and still read the original email thread. This simplicity in design is seen throughout the app, from truncated message threads to the ability to view all files exchanged between yourself and another contact by toggling either of the attachment views at the top of a thread.

It's not possible to view your inbox like a standard inbox in Unibox. There's nowhere to view all of your outstanding drafts either (you'll need to find the contact, then open the editor to view them). This is a radical conversational approach to email, and assuming your own email habits are compatible, it works.

Unibox Pricing:$13.99 with a free trial available. Also available on SetApp.

Microsoft Outlook

Best Mac email client for people who value features over simplicity

If you have an Office 365 subscription, you're already paying for Microsoft Outlook. That should be reason enough to give Microsoft's full-fat email client a go, since it works with Microsoft accounts, Gmail, iCloud, and Yahoo! Mail, as well as standard IMAP and POP3 email addresses. Outlook maintains the same familiar design that hasn't changed much over the last decade, which is why it may feel a bit stagnant in the UI department.

There are many new features to get stuck into though. Focused Inbox is one such trick: It separates your inbox into two tabs, placing all the email that Outlook perceives as important on the Focused tab. Twitter-like @mentions let you tag people, with Outlook automatically adding their email addresses in the 'To:' field, which can come in handy if you're often adding coworkers to emails. You can even use customizable two-finger swipes to cut through your email.

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 roll them out time and time again. And many of the modern email features that have emerged over the past few 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 delivers all of these mail features, plus a calendar, chat, task manager, and note-taking. You can even create Office 365 groups right in Outlook now. If you take an 'everything including the kitchen sink' approach to email, Outlook is the client for you.

Outlook Pricing: From $5.99/month for Office 365 Personal.

Another feature-rich option to consider is Postbox, a powerful mail app at a sensible price point ($40). It includes the ability to group accounts together into custom unified inboxes, tabbed email, a focus mode for hiding unimportant email, and the ability to quickly post mail content directly to other services like Dropbox, Trello, and Instagram. It's a good alternative to Outlook in that it takes a full-featured approach to email management, with plenty of bells, whistles, and filters to boot.

MailMate

Best Mac email client for writing plaintext and Markdown-compliant emails

MailMate isn't like any of the other apps on this list. It's a niche product aimed at users who want things done their way. The big difference is that MailMate loses the rich text editors seen in competing apps, opting instead for a plaintext composer for crafting your messages in Markdown, HTML, or plaintext instead.

But the differences don't stop there. For one, MailMate excels in its keyboard-friendliness, allowing users to navigate virtually the entire app without taking their fingers off the keyboard. It also offers 'bundles,' extensions that allow you to expand the app's functionality via the Command menu, even adding support for using external editors when composing messages. Download bundles to add support for other apps like Evernote and Reminders, then head to Command > Evernote or Command > Reminders to quickly save messages as notes or reminders in the respective app.

Install Gmail On Desktop

If you want to compose email in your text editor of choice (like Atom, BBEdit, or Sublime Text), MailMate lets you do that too. First, enable the appropriate bundle, then compose a new mail message and head to, e.g., Command > Atom > Edit, and your draft will open in Atom. When you save the file in Atom, the contents will appear in the compose window of MailMate.

Beyond these quirky niche features, MailMate is an aggressively simple mail application. Its three-pane view is reminiscent of Outlook or Thunderbird, with mailboxes on the left, messages up top, and message body down below. It has smart mailboxes but lacks modern comforts like the ability to snooze mail, natural language processing, or threaded conversations.

MailMate is a very specific tool, for a very specific audience. If you prefer a roll-your-own approach to email, MailMate might be it.

MailMate Pricing:$49.99.

Mailplane

Best Mac email client for chronic Gmail users

Gmail Desktop App Mac

Mailplane is a desktop email application for Gmail users (note: the project is not affiliated with Google). The app enhances the existing Gmail web interface, and as a result, won't work with other services like iCloud or Outlook. Mailplane supports multiple Gmail accounts, Google Calendar, the soon-to-be-defunct Google Inbox, and Google Contacts. It uses a tabbed interface (one tab for each account inbox and each account calendar) to keep your various email and calendar accounts close at hand.

One of the app's best features is called Search Everywhere. It lets you search all of your connected inboxes at once, a real time-saver for users with multiple accounts. A handy menu bar notifier sits at the top of your screen to show you your unread count, and provides quick access to recently received messages, the email composer, and Do Not Disturb mode, which mutes incoming notifications and, uniquely, hides your unread count.

Head to the app preferences to enable all manner of extensions to improve your Gmail experience. This includes productivity tweaks like Boomerang for Gmail (send later, track messages), FullContact for Gmail (learn more about the people you are conversing with), and Right Inbox for Gmail (schedule mail to be sent later and create recurring emails). All this, plus all the goodies Google packs into the web version like chat support, keyboard shortcuts, and industry-leading spam protection.

Mailplane Pricing: From $29.95 for a personal license.

Hiri

Best Mac email client for Microsoft email users looking for an Outlook alternative

Built exclusively for the Microsoft mail ecosystem, Hiri is a smart mail app designed for Exchange, Office 365, Outlook.com, Live.com, Hotmail.com, and MSN.com. Like Mailplane does for Gmail above, Hiri won't work with non-Microsoft mail services. But while Mailplane is built on top of Gmail's front-end, Hiri is a completely separate app that does away with webmail entirely.

The svelte design keeps things minimal by only displaying what you currently need to see on screen. Navigation is performed via a collapsed vertical menu to the left, and there is no Outlook-like array of controls and filters at the top of the screen. Hiri hides distractions, so you can focus on a unified inbox that displays messages from all of your connected accounts. Hiri also includes a task manager that lives on the right of your inbox, with drag-and-drop support for turning email into to-dos.

Most of the magic happens in the Skills Center, which is where you can turn on some of Hiri's best features. This includes support for the Actionable/FYI split, a system that allows you to categorize incoming email based on whether it fits the category of actionable or FYI. Other useful extensions include one-click task list creation and the ability to delegate emails by hovering and clicking the delegate icon. Delegating an email adds a note next to that message in your inbox with a custom description and the recipient's name, and adds the task to your Sent list in the task manager.

Hiri is a solid alternative to Outlook, particularly for users that find Microsoft's flagship mail app confusing and unnecessarily feature-rich.

Hiri Pricing:$39/year or $119 for lifetime access.

Which Mac Email Client Should I Choose?

Which email client you choose will be largely driven by personal reasons. For many of us, Apple Mail does the job. It combines an uncomplicated interface with a slightly dated look and feel that's suitable for beginners and advanced users alike. But for many, it doesn't go far enough in terms of features. Our advice: Don't be afraid to download and try out a few different clients. I wasn't convinced of the 'inbox-less' approach taken by Unibox, but I've been using it for three weeks now without a second thought.

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