Productivity

Why Mailbox for iOS is a better email app for business

Mailbox for iOS

About a month ago I offered up four productivity-boosting replacements for stock iOS apps. Among them was Mailbox, a much-anticipated email manager that was available only by joining a lengthy waiting list. (Like, seriously lengthy. Some users found themselves in line behind hundreds of thousands of others.)

Thankfully, as of yesterday, Mailbox has no more waiting list, so it's available to all comers. The question is, does it succeed as a business tool?

The answer is absolutely, with a few qualifications.

When it comes to email, I think Apple's stock app does a pretty decent job. I particularly like the VIP option introduced in iOS 6.

However, most of us deal with a daily avalanche of messages, and Mail doesn't do much to help us manage an overloaded inbox.

Mailbox, however, makes email processing much quicker and easier. That's because you can accomplish any of four different functions depending on how you swipe a message.

Specifically, while viewing your inbox, you can swipe right to archive an individual message or a little further right to delete it permanently.

But the real action comes when you swipe left: Mailbox swings into snooze-button mode, letting you delay that message for a later date and/or time. That incredibly useful capability used to require a third-party service like Boomerang or FollowUpThen, and then with the added step of forwarding your messages. Here, it's baked right in.

A longer swipe to the left lets you bypass the snooze options and add your message to a list (the equivalent of Gmail's labels). You can also tap and hold a message, then drag it to a different spot in your inbox—a neat way to manually prioritize mail.

The only real downside to using Mailbox is that it's currently limited to Gmail. Eventually it will support other IMAP-based mail services, but for now only Gmail users can get in on the action.

If you're one of them, I definitely recommend taking Mailbox for a spin. It's free, it's available now, and it really can make a difference in how quickly and efficiently you whip through your inbox.

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