Email is a mainstay of modern life, and most of us spend hours glued to our phones or computers sorting through the vast quantities of mail that we receive on a daily basis. Studies have shown that the average office worker will receive over 100 emails per day, but will only open around 40% of these; the rest are consigned to the trash or left to languish unopened, unwanted and irrelevant digital clutter.
As a result of the above statistics, it’s clear that email management is something that the majority of people could benefit from. Below, we’ve put together a list of five apps that can allow you to manage your incoming emails as efficiently as possible, freeing up time - and inbox space - for what really matters in life.
The Gmail app is incredibly easy to use, highly customisable, and relatively reliable - as a result, it rightly enjoys top billing for email management. Gmail will automatically filter your emails into different screens (though you can remove this feature if you prefer) for ease of viewing, and also provides handy yellow icons next to emails the app believes to be important. Whether the emails Google chooses as important actually are important can be more difficult to ascertain, but the app learns over time, so the user experience continually improves.
Gmail is also particularly useful if you have multiple Gmail accounts, as you can simply switch between each account using the hamburger menu.
While the Gmail app is not hugely advanced, and somewhat lags in comparison to the desktop version, it is continually improving, works quickly, and its search function is particularly noteworthy. If you have a Gmail address, then downloading this app is certain to be a wise decision.
Gmail is free, and is available for both Android and iOS.
You are almost certainly familiar with the desktop version of Outlook, which, if we’re honest, is not the most straightforward program to use. However, the app version of Microsoft’s flagship email product is an entirely separate entity, and one which is the ideal choice if you are struggling to battle through a busy inbox in order to find the messages that are actually important. The “Focused Inbox” feature is particularly useful for this; Outlook judges which emails are likely to be most important to you and separates them from the crowd, which should make for easier management of priority mail. In addition to the Focused Inbox, there are also customisation options that make Outlook incredibly simple to use when you’re in a hurry, and integration with services such as Evernote is relatively simple and straightforward to achieve.
While Outlook is not the most future-thinking of email apps, it does what it needs to, does it well, and is far more effective than its bloated desktop-version cousin.
The Outlook app is free to use, and is available for both iOS and Android.
Boomerang is an interesting app that puts the user experience front and centre, and aims to solve one of the most common problems many of us face with email: lack of time. We’ve all received an email that is important and that we do want to respond to, but simply don’t have the time to respond in that moment. With conventional email management, your only choice in this scenario is to leave the email in your inbox (where it will likely soon be overshadowed by newer emails) or hit ‘mark as unread’, which is useful, but still means you have to actively remember to go back and check the unread emails a second time.
Boomerang’s primary feature attempts to solve the issue as described above. You can receive the alert for the email, then remove it from your inbox for a short period. It will then reappear at a later point in time as if freshly delivered, when you hopefully have the time in your schedule to respond. While Gmail have tried to duplicate this feature with their latest releases, Boomerang is the original, and the best, as it puts you in complete control. In addition to the main “boomerang” feature, the app also includes a variety of additional options that are well worth exploring, such as the use of AI to help you “write better emails”, which make it well worth the download.
Boomerang is free to use and acts as an extension to Outlook or Gmail.
Spark is the perfect choice if speed is of the essence with your email management. Its flagship feature is the ability to read a message and then tap a quick emoji - such as a thumbs up, or a lightbulb to indicate a “great idea” - in reply. As you send the emoji response, the original email is also archived, freeing up space in your inbox.
Admittedly, this does mean that Spark’s usefulness remit is rather limited. It is more designed for personal emails - where an emoji would be an acceptable reply - than business use, but what it does, it does well. In addition, there’s plenty of other benefits to this app, including the “Smart Inbox”. This feature is similar to the method Gmail uses to sort emails into different groups, but Spark goes one better, as it will sort emails in the same way but from multiple accounts. This is particularly useful, and should make it all the easier to quickly and efficiently assess all of your incoming emails at a glance. So while the primary emoji-reply feature has limited uses, there’s more to Spark than initially meets the eye - and if you decide to give it a try you’ll almost certainly be glad you’ve done so.
The Spark app is free to use, and is available for iOS and macOS.
Boxer is arguably the primary app for those seeking to reach, and then maintain, inbox zero; a state where their email account displays as completely empty. The app focuses on gesture controls, so you can swipe emails aside and ensure your inbox is always kept clear. It’s also a great choice if you’re looking for an app that will go above and beyond the basic email requirements, as it also provides functions such as to-do lists, and a handy dashboard for your most important emails.
In addition to assisting with the goal of inbox zero, Boxer has also gained acclaim for its ability to allow users to add multiple email accounts, such as Gmail, Outlook, iCloud, and Yahoo. This means you can browse all your emails at once, then swipe to store them for later perusal.
Boxer is free, and is available for both iOS and Android.
If you are struggling with a constantly-full inbox, or have tired of receiving push notifications for the latest newsletter from a store you’d forgotten you’d registered with, then Airmail 3 is the perfect choice for you. At its core, the app is pleasantly simple, and you should have no problem adjusting to using it - everything is where it should be, and you’ll feel right at home relatively quickly. The true beauty of this app lies beneath the surface, with a range of customisation options that will change how you use email forever. For example, you can customise your notifications so you only receive alerts when you receive email from your most important contacts. What’s more, Airmail 3 also syncs with other organisation apps - such as Dropbox and Evernote - to help improve your overall time, schedule, and email management in one fell swoop.
Airmail 3 costs AU$14.99 and is available for both iOS and macOS.
With the apps above, you should be able to control the endless deluge of emails you are subjected to, and gain control over your inbox once and for all.