Google has killed its “Inbox by Gmail” service, a radical take on email management that was quite different from what we saw in the past. Google launched the service back in May 2015, giving Gmail users an option to use a new interface on iOS and Android. This interface gave a glimpse at what the future of email management would look like with the help of a number of new features that were unheard of in mainstream email apps back in 2015.
The primary feature of “Inbox by Gmail” was visible and rich “highlights” of each email message that users could see directly from their inbox without opening individual emails. For instance, the highlights would include the tracking information of a package directly visible from the main screen without the need to open the email, look for the information and then track it using a different website. Other features included adding reminders in the inbox, ability to snooze emails and reminders, group bundling of messages depending on the type of emails including promos, or purchases, and ability to toggle the automatic bundling.
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However, back in September 2018, Google announced that it will shut down the service at the end of March 2019. The company claimed that the reason for shutting the service down was the improvements in Gmail that rendered the service redundant. Considering Inbox won’t be available starting tomorrow, we have compiled a short list of worthy email management apps that can act as “Inbox by Google” replacements.
Best email apps for iOS
Spark – Email App by Readdle
Spark is one of the most highly rated email apps on the Apple App Store with about 4.7 average rating from about 19,900 ratings. The app provides a centralized way to manage emails based on groups even allowing users a way to pin important apps. Snooze feature from Inbox is available here along with a relatively new feature that allows a team to discuss an email privately. Users can also schedule emails in the future while allowing collaborative email editing for a team and the option to delegate emails to different members of a team at any given time. The app comes with a built-in calendar, support for email templates, and third-party app integration. It also allows users to reply to emails with the help of an “Emotion” The app is available on iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.
Microsoft Outlook is a dedicated email app by, you guessed it, Microsoft. It is likely to be the highest rated email app on the Apple App Store with an average rating of 4.7 from 89,000 ratings, much higher than Spark. The app provides a unified email inbox, support for multiple email accounts, and a “Focused” Inbox that seems to be similar to “Inbox by Gmail”. It also comes with a built-in calendar and dedicated search section where users can quickly access their contacts, information about upcoming trips with the help of smart highlights-like feature, and files that are part of the attachments. The app also supports split screen view on the iPad along with quick swipe actions, ability to snooze emails and third-party app integration.
Spike: Messenger & Email app
Spike is another alternative which tries to reinvent the formula of emails in its own different way. The app comes with support for dark mode while adding a “Priority” inbox to sort mails that it thinks are of utmost importance to the user. In addition to that, users can also pin emails on the home screen of the app to stay on top of certain email threads. As part of reinventing the formula, the company has added an “Email messenger” that allows for a chat in real time in different groups. This feature makes it a mix of a chat app and an email management client. Users can use the messenger feature to collaborate with each other on anything email related and more. The app also offers bulk actions allowing users to mass delete, flag, archive, or unsubscribe multiple emails with a single tap.
Airmail – Your Mail With You
Airmail packs a number of modern features that qualify it for a worthy sequel of “Inbox by Gmail”. These features include unified inbox for different email services, support for split-screen view on the iPad, rich in-app actions to emails including turning an email into PDF, sending the email Calendar or Reminder, adding it to the to-do list, applying labels, snoozing, or even bouncing it. The app also comes with a dedicated app for Apple Watch and iCloud Sync. It is worth noting that the app is not free, and users need to pay Rs 399 up front to use the app.
Best email management apps for Android
Similar to the iOS counterpart, the Android version comes with support for all the features that we have mentioned above. This includes unified inbox, support for multiple email accounts, customization swipe actions, “Focused” Inbox, built-in calendar, third-party app integration, and dedicated search section. The app also supports contacts sync providing you an alternative to Google sync to backup your contacts. The search section is as comprehensive as in the iOS app with quick access to contacts, files in attachments, and information on upcoming trips. Somewhat similar to the iOS version, the Android version has an average rating of 4.3 from 3,862,146 reviews at the time of writing.
Blue Mail – Email & Calendar App – Mailbox
Blue Mail is a popular email management app on Android with support for multiple email services. The app interface provides a unified inbox along with quick access to dedicated email services on the top. It also comes with built-in Calendar sync and a dedicated mode for emails that are “focused on people and groups”. In addition to the unified inbox, the app also allows users to create unified drafts, unified, sent unified trash, unified spam, unified outbox, and unified archive folders. Users can also cluster different emails together while previewing separate apps from the cluster without actually opening the email. Other features include dark mode support, custom menus and swipe actions, undo sent, widgets, alias management, and custom notifications.
Nine – Email & Calendar
Nine comes with all the essentials that one would require from an email management app, and then some more. These features include multiple account support, unified email, built-in calendar, a dedicated “Tasks” section, contact management, and a “Notes” section. The app also supports chat-like conversation view of emails, swipe-based actions and more. Even though it is quite a clean app, the only reason we have put it a bit down in our list is that it is not a free app. Once you download the app, it works for free for two weeks and then the license is priced at $14.99 or Rs 950 which is slightly expensive for an email app.
Email – Fast & Secure mail for Gmail Outlook & more Edison Software
This is one of the last recommendations for “Inbox by Gmail” replacement. It comes with all the important features including multi-account support, unified inbox, spam or email unsubscribing, undo send feature, support for Android Wear, app icon unread badge, “Read Receipt” blocking, ability to block the sender and more. One different thing about this email management app is that it comes with a dedicated “assistant” to remind users about their travel including real-time travel notifications. The app also comes with a dedicated section for package tracking along with support for notifications for the packages. It also automatically segregates different emails under different pre-defined labels according to the types of emails sent including “Travel”, “Bills & Receipts”, and more.
Alternatively, if you have not used Gmail for more than a year than you can take a look at the service again as a lot has changed with the relatively new design.