To give Mail for iPhone its due, the app’s gradually transforming into something quite good. But it’s mostly doing so by pilfering features from third-party email clients.

On that basis, you may as well jump ship if you want something better. Airmail is the latest app vying for your email-oriented love, and it’s a clear step up from Apple’s effort.

Assuming you’re using IMAP or some flavour of web-based email, there’s little friction in changing clients. It’s like switching Twitter apps rather than the export/import hell from years ago. And so it proves when you tap account details into Airmail and within seconds have access to all your messages.

Smart design

Assuming you’re using IMAP or some flavour of web-based email, there’s little friction in changing clients. It’s like switching Twitter apps rather than the export/import hell from years ago. And so it proves when you tap account details into Airmail and within seconds have access to all your messages.

When it comes to using Airmail, the experience is best described as an app where someone’s actually thought about the things you’d like to do with email on an iPhone.

That might sound obvious, but it’s clear Apple hasn’t spent enough time mulling this over. With Airmail, though, you can tap on a contact’s avatar to see other emails from that person, quickly filter the current inbox to unread emails, those with attachments, threads, or today’s communications.

Inbox management is rapid, in part because you can assign four actions to swipes; and when composing an email, a custom keyboard toolbar provides speedy access to formatting and attachments, rather than hiding such things in an awkward pop-up menu.

Two sidebars provide a further wealth of options. The hamburger menu reveals inboxes and configurable filters. Mail does much the same, but Airmail provides more options, including fast access to threads and documents.

In the latter case, Apple’s Mail merely gives you an unhelpful list of emails with attachments; Airmail shows thumbnails of the attachments, with Peek giving you larger previews on an iPhone 6s when you hold your thumb on one.

Feature-packed

When viewing an email or thread, ‘…’ opens the Actions menu. This is essentially a bunch of icons that perform tasks on the current selection. Over and above what’s possible in Mail, there are: buttons for flinging items to Fantastical, Deliveries and Dropbox; the means to turn what you’re looking at into a PDF; and options to snooze.

The last of those options recalls Mailbox, which popularised transforming email into a something akin to a to-do list. Alas, Dropbox just axed that app, and Airmail’s equivalent features are neither as smart (manual set-up was required during testing to create relevant folders) nor as accessible.

The only other potential deal-breaker is Airmail’s lack of an iPad client, although if the the OS X app is any indication of what Airmail can do with a larger canvas, we look forward to it with bated breath. In the meantime, if you’re looking for an email client for your iPhone that’ll make you more efficient and productive, you’ll find Airmail four quid well spent.

Airmail is available for iPhone. Find out more about the OS X version at airmailapp.com

Stuff says... 

App of the week: Airmail review

A great replacement for Apple’s email client that simply helps you get things done more rapidly
£3.99
Good Stuff 
Excellent filters
Plenty of useful actions
Great attachment previewing
Bad Stuff 
No iPad version (yet)
Not as fast to use as it could be