Remember the time when you only had one email address? It was nice, wasn't it? Now we have personal email, work email, spam email – you know the one that you use when you want to download a freebie but you don’t want to give publishers access to your real email? But no matter the tricks we use to clean out our inbox, everything still piles up.
And it's no surprise that Apple iPhone loyalists comprise some of the largest groups of smartphone users. Currently, 700 million iPhones are actively used, and that number is expected to surpass one billion shortly.
In terms of Apple compatible email apps, based on the 1.29 billion opened emails, 31 percent used iOS native email app. Gmail was used by 22 percent of people, and the rest is distributed to other email clients – which means that 47 percent of people don’t use native apps that come with the phone, but choose third-party email application providers.
Considering the fact that many people check their emails first thing in the morning (80 percent of people grab their phone in the AM, even before brushing their teeth or getting out of bed), and that email anxiety is the real deal, nobody wants to wake up with a cluttered inbox. Ninety-two percent of employees show signs of elevated blood pressure and heart rate when they use email at work. Add in the stats that show the average worker checks their email 74 times a day, it’s no wonder why so many of us are stressed. Too many emails signify to users that they have much to do -- even though many of those emails are purely promotions and newsletters that don’t actually require your attention.
So, in order to declutter the spam from our life and manage our emails more effectively, without the added stress, we will present 10 iOS email apps and their design features that streamline functionality, organize inboxes, and make digital communication a user-friendly breeze.
Google's iOS inbox email application is one of the best email apps for iPhone users because it successfully integrates form and function into everyday email usage. Best of all – it isn’t intended solely for Gmail users. Apart from Google account, you can add iCloud, Windows Outlook, Hotmail and Windows Live accounts, Office 365, Yahoo and all other IMAP accounts. The main functionality is the ability to determine the important emails from the non-important ones.
In the App Store, Google Inbox is labeled as a productivity app -- and it’s absolutely true. The most important information is displayed without even opening the email – attachments can be viewed directly with one click without going into the email messages. For example, if your friends email you a series of pictures, you can easily go through them. Also, information is bundled into segments, enabling you to easily filter through different groups of emails, such as promotions, with just one swipe. Some bundled segments include all emails regarding your social media accounts, updates, news and articles from known publishers you have subscribed to, financial institutions, and more.
If you have an upcoming flight, you can see your flight information, booking information, flight number, dates, airports – all directly within the app. If you click on the flight card, you will expand it and see flight duration, seat, confirmation number, including gates and terminals.
Using advanced AI algorithms, Inbox lets you create reminders directly from the app depending on the email content. If you are negotiating a meeting, Inbox will let you create a reminder for that meeting. Thinking about booking a hotel and trip? You can easily create a reminder to buy tickets.
When it comes to productivity and cleaning out your inbox, users can easily select which messages are important – you can even pin them to the top of the inbox. Then, you can swipe each message left or right. When you swipe left, you choose to snooze it until you see fit, and swiping right means that you’ve seen the message and marked it archived. A long press allows you to select multiple messages.
On the bottom right, you can choose to save the last copied link to the inbox or to share it via email, and if you press the red button with a plus sign, you open a quick menu that lets you sent an email to the most recent contacts, or create an instant reminder.
From the design point of view, Google Inbox iOS email app accentuates all these features with an impeccable design. All the buttons are presented through well-designed icons, and small labels, however, the tappable area is quite large, so it’s hard to miss the button you want. Using plenty of negative spaces makes the email app uncluttered on its own, which is really hard to accomplish from the design point of view since email apps are by nature very cluttered and messy.
Simple swipes are great for cleaning up the entire inbox quickly, and colorful tags and recognizable logos from the well-known brands help with user experience. Expandable cards and accordion view are a great way of improving functionality and reducing needed steps to complete an action. There is even a switch button at the top that lets you see the entire inbox or just pinned messages that are most important to you. Minimalistic design, signature colors, and plenty of white space improves user experience, even though the displayed information is as condensed as possible, without hurting the interface.
2. Edison Email
Edison email app for iOS users is also at the top of our list because of its stellar design and functionalities.
The best feature of Edison Email app is the ability to instantly unsubscribe and stop receiving emails from pestering publishers and brands. Even though Google’s Inbox also offers you to label certain senders as spam, we have noticed that you will still receive the messages from those accounts. Edison is a good choice if you have too many unwanted emails. You can also customize notifications and mute the senders of your choosing. Edison is really similar to Inbox, in terms of built-in assistant, smart replies, and additional features like organizing trips, entertainment, finance, bills, and the rest of Inbox’ smart bundles. Another cool difference between Inbox and Edison is Edison’s custom swipe settings.
When it comes to design, Edison copies Google here as well. Apart from the different typography, even the color palette is very similar – down to Edison’s app logo which is comprised of a letter and a blue background. Inside the app, Edison chose to display the regular email app look, without the icons next to the email, which makes the inbox a bit more cluttered.
3. Microsoft Outlook Email App for iOS
The Microsoft Outlook email app has been around for a while, but it has been redesigned to enhance the iOS experience. Now, it looks similar to other modern email apps and has the similar features as well. There is one inbox for all accounts or separate inbox per account where you can easily switch between them. As opposed to other iOS email apps, Outlook displays larger email messages and doesn’t condense them. It gives a nice, and almost SMS type of display with plenty of negative space. That also leaves each email message with a large tappable surface that’s easier to manage and swipe.
Inside the Outlook email, there is a calendar view integrated into the app, where users can directly add plans and events, and even tag other users. Search function opens up a dashboard where you can search keywords or directly access contact list with the most recent contacts, or see upcoming flights and events, or even browse through the file list. Additional features that make Outlook stand out are the ability to edit attached Office documents and attach them back in the email, and sharing a meeting availability with other people. Also, you can tag people inside an email, instead of just adding them to the recipient list.
4. Newton Mail
Newton Mail is an iOS email app that has the look and feel of text message dashboard. It’s not a question of functionality, because this email app is functional, but it’s more of an approach that has good sides and bad sides to it, but it all still depends on your preferences. Newton brings some cool features to the table – you can see a double checkmark when the receivers read your emails.
It’s a good idea to use fully colored labels for different emails and notifications – in Newton’s inbox, Facebook emails will be shown in blue, Target emails in red, and so on. It’s a clever way of using colors instead of cluttering the space with larger logos and icons. Newton also supports instant email replies where you will be served with different options for your response.
Newton iOS email app lets you integrate your favorite productivity apps like Todoist, Pocket, Instapaper, Asana, Trello, Salesforce, Evernote, and many others. Another neat feature that Newton mail app offers is data mining that they cleverly disguised as providing more information about the senders. Using the sender’s email address Newton creates contact cards that contain social media profiles and job roles, organizations they work for, location, and more. Like other email apps we mentioned, Newton comes with the email snooze feature, send later, and also undo sent email.
Looking at the Newton email app’s design, it’s hard not to notice the resemblance to the Windows design – everything is in cards, and squared. Even the color palette resembles the one we are used to seeing in Windows and Windows apps.
5. Spark by Readdle
Spark is an iOS email app that has very unique features and a great design that makes that user experience truly shine. For example, Spark lets you discuss certain emails privately with the entire team, and then after you discuss them, you can even work on a single email together. These collaborative features are refreshing for an iOS email app. Also, you can create custom links to certain emails and share them with colleagues. Speaking of other features Spark offers, the rest are already seen in other email apps – we have an email scheduler, and a built-in email calendar.
It’s easy to connect Spark and other productivity apps like Trello, Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, Todoist, Box, and more. The search function is very advanced, as it recognizes the meaning behind the keywords – it can recognize the time, type of file you search for, and senders. Spark markets this as: “search the way you think”, and we couldn’t agree more. If you type in the search bar: Docx from Jenny today, the search results will really display all the docx files, from a sender Jenny, in that date’s timeframe.
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The collaborative part is nicely designed, and form follows function – from different colors for different team members to differently colored calendar entries. This type of design where color accentuates the important highlights is a great way to represent features in a minimalistic and uncluttered way. Spark plays nicely with the depth of possibilities and simplistic design that all affect user experience positively. Great ease of use can be seen in predefined email answers and signatures, which also saves time and minimizes typing. In order to create a whole new email app experience, Spark even lets you send emojis as a response. Also, you can even personalize what action will a swipe perform and add a personal touch to the app.
6. VMware Boxer
VMware Boxer isn’t just an email app, it’s a productivity 3-in-1 tool that integrates emails, calendar, and contacts into one single iOS app. The beauty of VMware lies in its customization options, which makes it an ideal app for the business users who want to tailor their email experience per their need. You can customize anything from HTML signatures, to account colors, specified swipe gestures (12 different options to choose from), personalized quick replies and more.
The AI algorithm will learn about you the more you use the app, so it will bundle your emails into smart folders. From the known features, Boxer also supports multiple accounts in one shared inbox, meeting availability through the calendar, and quick response email likes when you don’t have time to type the answer, but you can acknowledge the email message.
From the design perspective, Boxer doesn’t bring any innovation to the table, but it serves the purpose. The user experience is smooth, and while not revolutionary, the design follows functionality nicely. From the UI point of view, it’s a good idea to use large buttons for instant replies and small yet distinguishable icons to depict senders, location, time and availability.
Compared to Boxer, Triage absolutely does not offer a single customization option and that – is the best feature. Triage is a simple iOS application for sorting out emails and decluttering your inbox, without actually being an email client. The idea behind aptly named Triage is simple – determining the importance of emails and quickly sorting out the important ones from the clutter, all in a single swipe. The main goal is cleaning out and achieving zero-inbox.
It’s funny how simple function and lack of choices actually add to the user experience – this is a perfect example of the simplistic design and even simpler function. The inbox is presented like a stack of cards, and swiping up lets you archive, delete or mark the email read, and swiping down keeps the messages as unread, which you can visit later. Tapping the card opens a new screen where you can forward the email or send a short reply. And – that is it.
Such elegant design and transition animation of physically swiping the email and crossing it off your list gives an empowering feeling of accomplishment. Also, since the emails are displayed as a deck of cards, there’s only one email per card, which is refreshing because you aren’t greeted with hundreds of unopened emails staring at you. Also, one email per card means that the email is presented on the entire screen.
8. ProtonMail - Encrypted Email for iOS
In the light of the recent privacy scandal regarding Facebook, more and more people are concerned about protecting their privacy. Also, so many different uses are emerging for the blockchain encrypted technology. That is why we are presenting you with the encrypted email iOS app that protects your messages where only you and the sender/receiver can read them.
Even Forbes claims that the design and functions are similar to Gmail, on purpose. Their idea was just to create a safe email system where not even the ProtonMail can access or read users’ emails. Additional features include expiring emails and customizable swipe gestures. Users can send password protected and encrypted emails even to the non-ProtonMail users. The downside to ProtonMail? Users have to create their own @protonmail.com email address if they want to use the encrypted email system.
Since the focus is put on privacy, it is understandable that the design will lack in the beauty and refinement. But the users don’t seem to mind because are willing to trade the beautiful design with a secure email system - app download count of 1 million users attests to that. However, the gray color scheme is a perfect choice for the encryption-protected email app for iOS, because it gives a vibe for secrecy and safety.
Another email app that uses customization options as its Unique Selling Proposition. But myMail really does offer a complete control of push notifications – no more work emails when you get home, or constant notifications about spam mail. With myMail it’s easy to schedule the “quiet time” for different accounts and separate work email from personal email. Users can also set notifications for each sender separately – choose to receive notifications from the email contact of your choosing and set exact time you wish to see them.
When it comes to design, myMail tries to mimic Google Inbox, with large, customizable avatars. The avatars are both seen in the inbox view, and in the recipient bar in the email. However, as opposed to Inbox, you can choose whether you want to see avatars at all, and even select the manner of displaying preview messages.
Since it’s hard to stand out amongst the most notable iOS email apps, myMail cleverly uses matte red hues for its icon-based logo. It’s a bold color and certainly makes the myMail app stand out. Also, the same red is used for accentuating apps inner features and icons.
10. Astro - Email and Calendar App for Gmail accounts
Astro is definitely a mobile app for email management, but that’s not all – it’s also your email AI assistant. It comes with Astrobot, a chatbot assistant that helps you manage inbox clutter and calendar. That means that the dashboard is certainly innovative and looks like a real chat. The publisher claims that Astrobot understands more than 100 written and spoken commands. Astro also supports Amazon Echo. Another cool feature? Astro email client can track the email open rate.
An even better feature is Astro’s AI insights – this iOS app will analyze your email usage and then provide you with recommendations. For example, if you receive a lot of emails from a specific sender, and don’t open them, Astro will ask you whether you want to unsubscribe from that sender. Astro also comes with an AI-powered Priority Inbox function and inbox management system where you can easily choose to be notified about the important emails only, and even snooze emails until you reach your laptop or desktop.
The design is focused on using plenty of colors on the dashboard, and colorful buttons. However, the buttons are sometimes too small. It makes sense because Astro is made for voice commands predominantly, however, sometimes you need privacy or just don’t want to talk to your email assistant. Then, those small clickable labels and buttons really fall short. While the buttons are a bit problematic, the email preview dashboard is well designed, and the entire email is a tappable and swipeable area that’s hard to miss. Another downside to this otherwise amazing email assistant is the lack of support for iCloud accounts – so far Astro only supports Gmail and Office 365 email accounts. However, in October 2017, the developers said that they are working on the updates and integration of other accounts like Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, FastMail, iCloud and others, but they are uncertain of the timeline and roll out.
The Best iOS Email App Designs & What We Can Learn From Them
Email apps and other productivity apps should be intuitive in terms of functionality and present solutions to users’ anticipated actions. However, allowing users to customize the way they want to use the app further adds to the overall user experience. We have also seen that a simple idea can be backed by an even simpler design, and in those cases, minimal is the best way to go. A decluttered interface is definitively number one choice for all these apps.
When first launching a mobile email app, people will make the first impression based on the initial appearance of the interface. Easy login options are also a great way to capture users from the start – they will appreciate the effort for minimalizing the typing. After all, why type when you can get more done with a swipe or a tap of the button? Additionally, avatars are a fun, engaging way to instantly display the messages from known senders.
In terms of iOS email app designs, the functionality and user interface are key ingredients for a successful email app. The best iPhone email apps place an emphasis on these functions:
Helping users achieve a zero inbox.
Making sure that tappable areas and buttons are easily accessible and large enough
Incorporating various color schemes to differentiate functionalities and labels.
Ensuring that the search function as easy-to-use, intuitive and natural.