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Goodbye, Sparrow! 8 Alternatives to Sparrow for Email

Goodbye, Sparrow! 8 Alternatives to Sparrow for Email

Sparrow logo

    So, you were looking for a great alternative to Apple’s Mail.app on OS X and iOS and stumbled upon Sparrow. It was fast, handled mail in a comfortable and familiar Gmail fashion, and was full featured. It was all good until you heard that there will be no more new features coming to it because of Google buying out the company. And, if the past is any indication (it is), Sparrow will eventually be discontinued. So, rather than sink with the ship, try one of these 8 Sparrow alternatives to ensure that your email client is covered into the future.

    Mail.app (iOS and OS X)

    It seems counterintuitive to recommend Sparrow to get away from Mail.app and then Mail.app to get away from Sparrow, but Mail.app has proven to be quite the workhorse. With all of the updates that came with Lion last year, Mail.app is definitely a great Mail client to use.

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    Also, because of Mail.app’s integration with OS X and iOS, it’s one of the only ways that you can do fun things like email to OmniFocus inbox or setup some serious rules and filters.

    iCloud Mail is getting better too, but it’s a very minimal version of the desktop client and can only be used with an iCloud email account; so, that’s not very useful for people that use other email accounts and need more robust features that the desktop client offers

    Postbox (Windows and OS X)

    Postbox has been around for a number of years now and the creators consider it to be the best desktop Gmail client for Mac and Windows. Now with Sparrow “gone”, I’d probably have to agree. Postbox is a full featured email client that supports IMAP and POP accounts as well as Exchange (for all of us corporate types out there). Another added nicety is that Postbox supports OmniFocus and Evernote integration. Good stuff.

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    Postbox’s UI feels great in OS X and gives the user a vast set of features like Gmail integration, multiple account support, social network photos for your contacts, a threaded message view and more. Oh, and Postbox is only $9.95.

    Mailplane

    If you are solely a Gmail user and love the Gmail experience, then Mailplane may be the app for you. Mailplane is basically a UI wrapper around the Gmail client for OS X. Mailplane adds a lot of niceties to the web experience of Gmail like being able to get Growl notifications or even link documents on your Mac to an email. You can also have unlimited Gmail accounts in Mailplane.

    Mailplane is a tad expensive ($24.95), especially considering the more feature rich Postbox is less than half that, but if you are a Gmail UI nerd, then Mailplane may work for you.

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    Emailganizer

    When Sparrow for iPhone came out it instantly replaced Mail.app (as much as you can replace Mail.app) on my iPhone, but before that I was using Emailganizer. The only two things I can’t stand about Emailganizer is its shoddy name and its shoddy design and UI. Other than that, Emailganizer is a super powerful app that has some great features like recognition of “context folders” (@action, @waiting, etc.), support for basically any email provider or account type you can think of, add emails as tasks to Exchange, Toodledo, OmniFocus, Things, etc., attach emails to the iOS Calendar, and more.

    Emailganizer is a robust email client for your iPhone. Too bad there isn’t an iPad version yet!

    Outlook for Mac

    No matter what anyone says, Outlook is a pretty great email application and if you are in a medium to large company it’s pretty much standard issue email software. With the newer versions of Outlook you get threaded message views, built in calendar and tasks, extremely intelligent filters and auto responders, searching and filtering on any item and field you could imagine as well as support for any type of email account.

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    It isn’t cheap ($119), but Outlook for Mac is a great email tool that can definitely replace Sparrow on your Mac.

    Notify

    While we can’t say that Notify is a full bore email client, it does a great job of notifying you of and allowing you to preview emails and with its pro features allows you to delete, file them, or respond to them as well. Notify is more of a small app that notifies you of important emails that so you can handle them immediately, which is better than being notified of every email and being interrupted while you are working.

    MailMate

    MailMate for Mac is a full featured IMAP email client. It supports multiple accounts and is highly “keyboard centric”, meaning that the entire app can be driven with keyboard shortcuts. There are also some great unique features like Markdown support in the email compose box as well as “Smart Mailboxes” that allow you to create smart filters and base other smart mailboxes on previous smart mailboxes. The search in MailMate is top notch as well; it’s fast and accurate.

    MailMate is $29.99 but you can pick up a free trial to see if it’s a good alternative for you.

    Mail Pilot

    If you can stay with Sparrow just a little longer (like till the end of Summer?), then you can give Mail Pilot a spin. Mail Pilot got a lot of great press for being the company to “reimagine email”. But, more than marketing fluff, it looks like Mail Pilot might actually do it. Basically, Mail Pilot turns your email into a todo list and lets you mark items as done or even gives you some advanced controls to review them later. Mail Pilot will support all major email services, give you a single login, and even a cool smart “Autopilot” feature that lets you mark specific emails for review at a certain time (like all newsletters for a certain day of the week).

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    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Last Updated on February 15, 2019

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

    Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

    Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

    So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

    Joe’s Goals

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      Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

      Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

      Daytum

        Daytum

        is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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        Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

        Excel or Numbers

          If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

          What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

          Evernote

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            I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

            Evernote is free with a premium version available.

            Access or Bento

              If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

              Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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              You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

              Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

              All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

              Conclusion

              I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

              What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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