Email. Not particularly exciting, is it?
It is important, though. Still.
I rarely check my DMs on social media and always, always forget to reply to people on Facebook Messenger. But if you send me an email, you’ll get a reply. Maybe not quickly, but it’ll happen.
The problem I’ve always had with email is finding the right client to help me manage multiple addresses and deal with my relatively crap approach to email in general.
I found the perfect tool for this a couple of years ago. It’s called Spark. And no, this post isn’t sponsored by them – I just think it’s great.
Don’t worry, I won’t labour the point – there are more exciting topics on the way – but I thought it was time to share my thoughts on this brilliant piece of software.
What I need from an email client
I’m dreadful at email. Yes, I treat it with respect and I couldn’t run my business without it, but I’m useless at managing it.
I therefore need an email client that can deal with my little email idiosyncrasies. For instance, the tendency to leave emails unread in order to deal with them (even if I have actually read them), and my desire to have a precisely configured and designed signature (yes, I’m one of those people).
Oh, it needs to deal with multiple email accounts effortlessly, too.
Thankfully, Spark has all of this stuff – by the bucketload.
Here’s what I love about it.
It deals with multiple accounts (properly)
For reasons I won’t bore you with, I have several email accounts I need to monitor.
For additional reasons I won’t bore you with, one of those accounts has to be accessed via Microsoft Outlook, which is another brilliant email client.
But it isn’t Spark.
With Spark, I can happily keep five separate email accounts neatly in their own little worlds, but also unified. This helps massively with my productivity.
It never complains about the varying types of email service providers behind the scenes, nor does it elongate the setup process when adding a new account. It just works. As it should.
It makes setting up new devices effortless
This might be my favourite Spark feature.
Whenever you need to install it on a new Mac or iOS device or undertake a reinstallation, Spark is an absolute cinch. All it asks you to do is enter the email address and password of one of your accounts (if you have multiple) and it grabs everything from the cloud.
That includes all the additional accounts, signatures and app settings. It’s effortless.
I used to deeply hate the process of setting up email on a new computer. Not with Spark.
It doesn’t make a pig’s ear of signatures
Apple Mail isn’t a bad email client. But it is biblically stupid when it comes to email signatures.
If you want to add anything more than plain text, you enter a whole world of pain where you’re expected to copy, paste and pray that it ends up looking ok. Formatting options are limited, and if you want to get smart with HTML and imagery, you’ll need to head into behind-the-scenes files to ensure everything works as intended.
It’s even worse on iOS. Copy and paste your signature into an iPhone or iPad, and you have to shake the device (no, really) to instigate a dialogue box that enables you to correct the formatting which will inevitably have been butchered.
It’s one of the main reasons I stopped using Apple Mail. I cannot fathom why Apple won’t acknowledge that some users want to use their email signatures for marketing purposes.
This isn’t a problem with Spark. The signature editor is unhindered and syncs across all devices.
You can easily leave messages unread
Although I’ve improved my approach to email triage, I do still rely largely on unread messages as a way to remember who I need to reply to.
With Spark, you can swipe to ‘unread’ messages and set it to deselect once you’ve done so. This is so useful, because on email clients like Outlook, if you unread a message, it’ll often select and open the next message in the list, forcing you to do the same to that one and subsequently devise an irritating workaround where you have to instead select an email you’ve already opened, and then right-click and ‘unread’ the message you want to unread.
Bored? Me too. This shouldn’t be difficult, which is why I love Spark.
It has the best unified inbox
Spark can be configured to group emails from multiple accounts by categories such as ‘people’, ‘notifications’ and ‘newsletters’. It does so brilliantly.
It’ll also handily place all of your read messages at the bottom of the pile, just below anything you’ve pinned.
Special mention must also be given to the superb way in which Spark deals with message threads. This is yet another feature of which so many email clients seem to make an absolute hash, but Spark’s email threads are as clear as day. As they should be.
It never crashes
It just doesn’t. Ever.
That’s it! I wish Spark was a little more M1 friendly (it does occasionally get stuck in battery-sapping memory loops and leaks), but that’s a minor gripe which I’m sure will be resolved soon.
What’s your email client of choice?