Well, I promised myself that I would give Apple Mail another go when El Capitan arrived. As an added bonus the El Capitan 10.11.1 update even included some fixes for screwed up Mail behavior. Here are my conclusions, at least at this point in time.
In several previous articles I have mentioned the reasons I finally gave up on Apple Mail and went to the very reliable Postbox application. If you do a search on the Macessence website on “Postbox” or “Mail” you can find several articles about both programs. Mail has been a fairly reliable email app over the years despite it’s bugginess. I ran into problems though when I started adding several email adresses, I have 13 in all right now. I know that seems like a lot, but I do many different things most of which require an email address. After I switched to Postbox, I thought I was in email heaven. No, it is not perfect, but it is very reliable and has some nice features of it’s own.
Lets compare what I think are the benefits of Mail vs. Postbox. I am not going to get into all the features of each app, but I just want to mention the reasons why I would consider using each one.
Apple Mail handles email fairly decently. It is not the quintessential email app by any means, but it does the job. There are two reasons why I would consider using Apple Mail. First, the Mail app has some very nice plugin programs that improve it’s functionality immensely. Things like SpamSieve, Mail Act-On, MailTags, Mail Hub, and GPGMail, etc. There are tons of them and they really do work nicely with Apple Mail. Here is an image of one of Mail Act-On’s screens:
I rely on this plugin extensively when I am using Apple Mail. The plugins for Mail are many and varied, I do miss them at times.
The second reason to stick with Apple Mail is that it works seamlessly with the rest of Mac OS X. Because it is an Apple app it’s integration into the OS X workflow is much nicer than any other third party emal application.
Postbox is my current email application of choice. It works very well. I think one of the main reasons that I would prefer to use it is that very reliability. Also it is very easy to setup multiple email accounts. It has some features of it’s own that are nice like Email Groups, Template Responses, the Sidebar and a lot of other stuff that I have listed in previous articles on the Macessence blog. It also uses Spam Sieve which is a real life save for Spam removal.
However, as you would expect, Postbox is not as well integrated into the Mac OS as Mail. Yes, you can make it the default email app, but it just does not work with other stuff as seamlessly as Apple Mail. Also, it does not have as many or as nice plugins (it calls them Add-ons) as Apple Mail, but it does have some:
Third party developers do make Add-ons for Postbox and they work quite well which is very good.
El Capitan Testing
Both Postbox and Mail have received updates for the El Capitan OS. In my testing of the “New & Improved” Mail app I did install all of my email accounts. I had to do some of it manually, but they all work as advertised, no IMAP problems so far. And it was nice to be back working with some of my Mail app plugins again. But, make no mistake, Mail is still buggy. Just read some of the Mac tech blogs and you still constantly see complaints about problems in Mail. In all fairness, it has more users than other email apps on the Mac platform, but it still has problems as well.
Postbox still works as realiably as ever. They have introduced some new features in El Capitan some of which I use and some I do not use. I have very few problems with Postbox and the company seems to update it regularly with bug fixes and new features. Even though I do miss some of the plugin capabilities of Mail I have gotten so used to the reliability and workflow of Postbox I do not believe I will be leaving it any time soon. However, I will continue to test Apple Mail and sort of run it alongside Postbox. Who knows, there may come a day when I will switch back, but the reasons for doing so would have to be compelling.
Both Apple Mail and Postbox are very capable apps in El Capitan OS X. If you are only running a handfull of email accounts you might just do very well to stay with Apple Mail. However, if you are an email power user I cannot recommend Postbox enough. It can handle the heavy lifting and has some very nice features of it’s own.