Email Rules

In today’s modern Email milieu, they have declared Email Rules a thing of the past. Some newer Email Apps have implemented Filters. I guess I am just a throwback because I use Email rules extensively. I am a rules guy. I have tried all kinds of newer Email Apps, here are some of my observations.

Apps Without Rules

There are several new Email Apps that really are excellent. The Spark App from Readdle Software would be one. I think BlueMail and maybe Edison would be others. Some people really like Canary Mail. I am sure there are others to consider. Even though these Apps are well done with many great features, they all seem to lack a rules capability.1 Many of them have a type of Filters capability that is supposed to filter out Emails from specific parties into Smart Folders. On a scale of “A” to “F” I would rate Filters about a C+ regarding their ability to manipulate incoming Email.

What most “in the know” Email experts say is you should use Server-Side rules for your Email. That way the rules are available for whatever device you are using to get Email. Most of my Email comes from my Apple iCloud account. I have tried using the Server Side rules in iCloud, but the bottomline is they just plain suck! Here is what I mean.

If I try to create a new Server Side rule in my iCloud account here are my incoming Email rule options:

Not exactly heavy duty, but it is not too bad. Here are the rule options for interacting with that incoming Email:

Those choices are just plain pathetic. Yes you can do a few things, but not much.

Now, contrast that with the rules capabilities of the Airmail App. Here is the incoming Email offering of the local Rules capabilities of Airmail:

Not stellar, but definitely better than the iCloud based rules. Here is the the rules options for interacting with an Email in Airmail:

Check out that list. You can do all kinds of things with an Email in the Airmail App. That is the kind of capability I use when dealing with Email these days. I run several Email accounts and I need this kind of power user rules potential.

Here is another Email rules example from the macOS Mail App.

The incoming Email capabilities of the macOS Mail App is truly impressive. Here is a list of what Mail can do with those Emails:

There may be some other third party Email Apps out there that have rules capabilities. I think I have made my point. If you have one or maybe two Email accounts, then maybe you do not need heavy Email rules potential. In that case the excellent Spark mail App, or one of the others, would work just fine for you. But, if you need something more than basic Server-Side rules capabilities, then you need an App that has local, on-your-mac rules features.

I almost forgot to mention Postbox. It is a more traditional Email App like macOS Mail. It has very extensive rules capabilities if you prefer a more traditional Email approach.


I thought I should mention all of these Apps have iOS and iPadOS counterparts which is nice.

I have tried all of the Email Apps mentioned here and a few others. I always come back to an App that has real rules capabilities built-in. It just makes it more efficient for my workflow.

  1. That is as far as I can tell.