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Lifehack Presents: Sparrow for iPhone Mini User Guide

Lifehack Presents: Sparrow for iPhone Mini User Guide

We have had some very exciting news regarding Apple products in the past few weeks, but when Mr. Vardy let me in on Sparrow coming to the iPhone, needless to say I was super excited. Sparrow for the Mac is a great alternative to the native Mail.app, so I was hoping that Sparrow for iPhone would be the same thing.

After following this Lifehack Mini Guide, you should find that Sparrow could be the new Mail app replacement for your iPhone.

First use

The Sparrow mail app is laid out a little differently than a traditional list-based app. The basic interface contains three panels that you can slide back and forth. The first panel contains all of your email accounts, as well as the button to get to settings, and a way to add new accounts. The second panel is the list of all of your “mailboxes” and label (if you are using Gmail; folders otherwise). The third panel is a drill down on the current “mailbox” or folder that you tap from the second panel. So, the way you navigate is horizontally and vertical.

Accounts Panel in Sparrow for iOS
    Accounts Panel
    Folders Panel in Sparrow for iPhone
      Folders Panel
      Messages Panel in Sparrow for iPhone
        Messages Panel

         

         

         

         

         

         

        Adding new accounts

        To add a new email account, go to the Accounts panel, click the “+” button at the bottom right and enter a name for the account (which will be the display name of the email), your email address, and password. If your email provider is supported (like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.) the account will add automatically. If you have your own personally hosted email, then you have to enter your server credentials in to add the email address.

        Mail functions

        Here is how you get your mail done with Sparrow.

        Navigating your inbox

        The inbox view of Sparrow is quite intuitive.

        Inbox View in Sparrow for iOS
          Inbox View

          To check for new mail simply drag the list all the way down to enable the refresh function. This is just like in other list based iOS apps.

          You can process your inbox emails one-by-one, or you can process them in bulk. To process your email individually, you can swipe the message from the inbox to the left and you will then be given a set of options to reply, star label (or put in folder), archive the message, or delete the message.

          To process your email in bulk, simply tap the Edit button at the top right and you will see a new menu bar at the top. The first checkbox button allows you to mark all of your messages as read. The other three buttons, Move, Archive, and Delete, will be enabled after you mark your messages you want to process. This is a really fast way to deal with your inbox.

          Single Email Processing in Sparrow for iPhone
            Single Email Processing
            Bulk Email Processing in Sparrow for iPhone
              Bulk Email Processing

               

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              Other mailboxes (for instance you sent mail or trash) can be dealt with the same way as your inbox. You can just as easily move and process your mail in these other mailboxes.

              Single email and threaded view

              Sparrow has threaded email view built right in. So if you are a Gmail user you will feel right at home.

              To view your email simply tap on the item in the mailbox you are currently in. If the email has multiple replies associated with it, you will be taken to the latest message and will see the number of the mail message that you are on (for instance 3 of 3). To get to another message in the thread you can pull or push the message down or up to “slide” the next message. Or, for longer threads, you can tap the message number indicator in the heading (the 3 of 3 heading) and you will be taken to a list view of each message. To get to the message just tap on it.

              Threaded Messaging in Sparrow for iPhone
                Threaded Messaging
                All Threads View in Sparrow for iPhone
                  All Threads View

                   

                   

                   

                   

                   

                   

                  You can quickly process your email with the little blue arrow at the bottom right of the currently viewed email. Tapping that button will bring up buttons to create a new email, forward the current email, star the current email, archive the message, or delete the message.

                  The action bar at the bottom of a message in Sparrow for iPhone
                    The bottom message bar

                    You can also mark a read message as unread by tapping the the small dot in the messages subject section.

                    Composing messages

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                    To compose a new message, tap the small blue button at the bottom right of any mailbox view. This will bring up the Send To screen where you can add email recipients. One of my favorite things about Sparrow right now is how you can quickly search for a contact and  choose if you want to make them a ‘To’, ‘Cc’, or ‘Bcc’ recipient in one nice little package. It’s super intuitive and the color feedback makes it very easy to use.

                    Compose a new message in Sparrow for iPhone
                      Compose a new message
                      Add To, Cc, and Bcc in Sparrow for iPhone
                        Add To, Cc, and Bcc

                         

                         

                         

                         

                         

                         

                        To compose the message, tap the Next button after you have selected your recipients. You can then type your subject and message. To make an attachment, click on the paper clip in the subject text box. You will be given two options; to take a photo or choose one from your photo library. Once you add a picture to the email, you will see that you have a nice “gallery” at the bottom of the message where you can add new photos, delete them and view them before sending.

                        Add a photo to your email in Sparrow for iPhone
                          Add a photo to your email
                          Add more images or delete them in Sparrow for iPhone
                            Add more images or delete

                             

                             

                             

                             

                             

                             

                            If you want to change the email address you are using to send the email, simply tap the top header where the “From” listing is. You will then be given a list of all of your currently added email accounts as well as any aliases you have added (more on that in a bit).

                            Change the 'From' account in Sparrow for iPhone
                              Change the 'From' account

                              You can also add more people and change the there message type (To, Cc, or Bcc) by tapping on the number of people that the message is being sent to in the To text box. This will take you back to the “Send to” screen where you can edit the messages recipients.

                               

                               

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                              Forwarding and replying

                              Once you have the basics of sending email down, forwarding and replying is a snap. You can forward and reply in two different ways, one from the mailbox view, and one from the message view.

                              From the mailbox view

                              Simply swipe the message to the right and choose the reply button (furthest to the left) to reply to the message. You will then be taken to the compose message screen where you can do all the things like changing the sent from email, adding recipients, adding attachments, etc.

                              Options for a single email in Sparrow for iPhone
                                Options for a single email

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                From the message view

                                Tap the Reply button at the top right of the screen to reply to the currently selected email. You can then treat it like any other composed message.

                                Settings

                                To get to Sparrow’s settings, go to the account view panel (the panel all the way to the left) and click on the settings gear in the bottom left of the screen. From the setting screen you can adjust single email accounts as well as behaviors for all accounts

                                Accounts

                                Account settings in Sparrow for iPhone
                                  Account Settings

                                  Under the accounts heading you can choose an account change the accounts avatar, add a custom account signature, add aliases (that is, other email addresses that this account can put in the ‘From’ field when sending an email), turn sounds on or off, and the ability to refresh your account’s contacts and labels.

                                  The default account option under the Accounts header on the Settings screen can be used to choose a default From account.

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                                  Appearance

                                  Pretty general settings here. You can choose how many messages to recent messages to show (from 25 to 1000), how many lines are shown in the preview, and toggles to show your avatars in your accounts screen and the ability to use Priority Inbox (if you are using Gmail).

                                  Advanced

                                  Here there are toggles for turning on reply to all as default, an option for when you label something (or put it in a folder) it will archive it too, and a reversed thread order for your messages (ie. newer emails will be number 1 of 3 rather than 3 of 3).

                                  The last choice is a Panel Button option which allows you to change the behavior of the panel button in your mailbox list panel. By default, the button on the top right of the message list panel will take you back to the mailbox and label list panel, and the button at the top right of the mailbox and label list panel will take you to the account panel. By choosing Go to Accounts in the Panel Button option, the top, right button in the message list panel will take you all the way to the accounts panel.

                                  Social Networks

                                  As of now, you can sign-in with your Facebook account to grab avatars for all of your contacts.

                                  Other stuff

                                  To get back to your inbox quickly from another folder or mailbox view, simply tap the header of the list. For instance, if you are in a folder called “Receipts”, just tap the header of the list and you will quickly move to your inbox. Once there, you can tap the header to get to your unread and starred items.

                                  Quickly change list views in Sparrow for iPhone
                                    Quickly change list views

                                     

                                     

                                     

                                     

                                     

                                     

                                    For the Panel Button option, you probably want to choose the “Go to Accounts” option as this gives you the most flexibility. Instead of having to swipe all the way to accounts, you can simply tap the button. Then you have the option to swipe to your Mailbox panel. It’s much more versatile.

                                    Right now there are no push notifications. Some people will find that to be a nuisance, or even possibly a deal breaker, but really it’s kind of nice to not be annoyed by endless message ‘dings’ and ‘boops’. Also, there is no way to turn off the unread count in Sparrow’s badge. Seems like a misstep.

                                    Another potential setback is that because of iOS restrictions, Sparrow can’t be made the “default” mail app. That means, whenever you tap on an email address from, say, Safari or any other app, Mail.app will open instead. This means, that you need to have the same email accounts set up natively on your iPhone as you do in Sparrow, that is if you want to use all of these accounts to send from.

                                    Sparrow for iPhone is a very well thought out and useful application, and for most people can totally replace the native Mail app on their iPhone. Hopefully this mini guide will help you get you started with using Sparrow for iPhone.

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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 July 8, 2020

                                    10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

                                    10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

                                    Productivity is the ability to perform tasks efficiently and in a timely manner. In today’s busy and competitive business world, productivity is paramount for any business, organization or corporation.

                                    Productivity is more than just performing tasks successfully. It is about investing and allocating resources, so the company or business can perform to meet its core goals.

                                    As part of 2019, it is important to commit to new goals. When shopping around for new productivity software keep in mind the following things: cost, reliability, cross-platform compatibility, on the go, technical support, etc.

                                    In the subsequent sections, we will examine the most recommended productivity software in the marketplace. In addition, we will look at what makes them tick and what separates them from the rest of the pack.

                                    Projects and Tasks Management

                                    1. Monday dot com

                                      Monday dot com was founded to create a team management solution so people connect to workplace processes across any industry. The productivity tool is used in more than 140 countries.

                                      The user interface is intuitive and impressive. It makes collaboration productive and fun because of its simplicity.

                                      The tool is deemed to have one of the best user experiences across the mobile and online project and task management platform.

                                      The product includes usability, customization, admin control, group management and control, private or public control, in-group messaging and more.

                                      Check out the software here!

                                      2. Asana

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                                        The mantra behind Asana’s product is to enable teams from across different organizations to work together effortlessly.

                                        The software comes with lots of customizations. When you create a project as a user, you can choose between a traditional task view and the kanban-style board view. The dashboard allows you to see the progress on a project, and it includes an excellent advanced set of search tools.

                                        Also, Asana’s Android and iOS apps do retain the web interface’s clean look and feel.

                                        Check out the software here!

                                        3. Trello

                                          Trello was founded in the summer of 2010 and two years later the platform added 500,000 members. Anyone within sales, marketing, HR and operations can collaborate successfully with this product.

                                          Moreover, the tool has over 100 plus integrations with Google Drive, Slack, Jira and others. The product works flawlessly across various platforms.

                                          Some of the well-known features includes is speed, easy-to-use, and set up. The interface includes due dates, assignments, file storage, checklists and more.

                                          Check out the software here!

                                          4. Jira

                                            The Jira software is flexible and heralded as the next-generation project.

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                                            The software allows teams to design and adapt the software to an organization’s needs. This includes having visibility into long term goals, project roadmaps, status of work, real-time release information and more. In addition, the interface is customizable.

                                            The Atlassian Cloud does not support multiple separate domains, subdomains or domain aliases in Google Apps.

                                            Check out the software here!

                                            5. Evernote Business

                                              Evernote was founded in 2008 and reached 11 million users by 2011. The company was founded on the premise that their product should address the ever-increasing volume and speed of information.

                                              The product helps bring together groups of teams because of versatility and functionality. It creates documents, collaboration on projects, store information all a single location.

                                              Moreover, you can find information quickly and includes effective search capabilities and integrations with existing tools you may already use.

                                              Check out the software here!

                                              Communication

                                              6. Slack

                                                Slack was founded in 2013 and the tool is heralded as a collaboration hub. Slack is where productivity happens. When you start a new project, hire new staff, deploy a code, review a sales contract, finalize on a budget, Slack covers all of these. Some of the major highlights include highly customizable notifications and seamless integrations with other collaboration and office tools. The free version of the software comes loaded with features, but does not archive old message. So, you have to review what are the best options for your organization or business.

                                                Check out the software here!

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                                                7. Spike

                                                  Newcomer Spike makes emails more conversational by helping teams maintain productivity, communication, and collaboration. All of these are achieved from within their inbox.

                                                  Spike works on top of any existing email (O365, G suite, and IMAP) turning it into a real-time messenger and making your communication much more functional and efficient.

                                                  Spike’s features include built-in groups and channels, voice and video calls, email encryption, instant access to all your files, and much more.

                                                  Check out the software here!

                                                  Creation

                                                  8. Office 365

                                                    Microsoft’s Office 365 could not be excluded from the conversation and especially as it pertains to productivity software.

                                                    Of course we are all familiar with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. But there is more capabilities that come with it.

                                                    You have business-class email, online storage space, and teamwork solutions. These services can be accessed from just about anywhere.

                                                    Within this suite is Microsoft Sway, which is a presentation software and a step above PowerPoint.

                                                    Check out the software here!

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                                                    9. Grammarly

                                                      Grammarly helps to cut down time on editing. Professionals in several industries like law, healthcare, academia, marketing, engineering and journalism use it to provide instant feedback on the accuracy of writing in English.

                                                      Once you install the extension from Google Chrome, you can get corrections when you are drafting an email, using social media and other apps.

                                                      Grammarly is AI powered and it’s a wonderful tool to have to check spelling and grammar before a presentation.

                                                      Check out the software here!

                                                      Team Analytics

                                                      10. ActivTrak

                                                        ActivTrak is a business intelligence tool that allows you to access team behavior analytics. In other words, it is data-driven.

                                                        The pros include two-factor authentication with active directory integration. You can also automate your alerts and it has an intuitive interface with easy-to-use admin controls.

                                                        Furthermore, it comes with Google sign-in, iOS app, productivity track, and more. The bottomline is the product offers employee productivity metrics along with team behavior analytics.

                                                        Check out the software here!

                                                        The Bottom Line

                                                        Depending on the size, budget, resources, and immediate needs of your company, not all productivity software will exactly solve your problem. You will have to contact any of the providers above and probe extensively to find the right product that is made for your business.

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                                                        Featured photo credit: Domenico Loia via unsplash.com

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