As one that has tried the vast majority of iOS email apps that supported Exchange it became clear to me that most apps are missing the ideal feature set. Below is that ideal feature set that I hope one day an email app will support (Note, I am not looking for an MDM/MAM email client but instead a publicly available from the iOS App Store app):
- Exchange calendar support – I want to keep my work separate from my personal; this includes my calendar
- Being able to create new calendar invites, accept calendar invites or modify calendar invites is a must
- Exchange contacts support – See calendar support above but replace ‘calendar’ with ‘contacts.’
- Support for Exchange sub folders – I refuse to have two separate sub folders depending on if I am mobile or not.
- Flag support – Exchange flags are my lifeline and my email ‘todo’ so if the app doesn’t support flags I won’t even give it a try.
- Apple WatchOS app – Looking at my phone all day to see if there is a new important email to answer is not going to happen anymore.
- iOS extensions support – This is the newest feature requirement but is something I find a need for around every corner. Attaching files via 3rd party storage vendors, moving emails to my ToDo app of choice (Todoist), GoToMeeting, Evernote, Trello, MobileDay, HipChat/Slack, etc makes my life simpler and replaces the need to manually enter/copy data in two places.
Nice to have:
- VIP contacts – The ability to classify certain contacts (Exchange contacts not iOS contacts) as ‘VIPs’ so I can customize notifications for email from them would be nice.
- Organize by thread – Depending on my mood i organize my inbox by thread or separate all the emails out. Being able to modify this based on my mode would help keep my sane.
- Focused Inbox – This is a nice to have but honestly I haven’t found an app that has a ‘Focused Inbox’ that truly works (Google is getting close though)
- Customized Notifications – Similar to VIP contacts notifications, being able to modify notifications based on whether it is a new email, new calendar invite or upcoming calendar notification is very close to becoming a must have but for now we can leave it under ‘Nice to have.’
- Require Touch ID / Passcode – This is my work email after all; I’ve should be keeping it safe.
Some apps that are close but are missing a few features are:
- Boxer was very close to handling all of these, then they got acquired by AirWatch and has gone down hill since, with its last update being released in Dec. of 2015. Get in the game or go home!
- Airmail has a top 5 email client UI, support for 3rd party apps via iOS extensions and everything else I require / most of what I think are ‘Nice to have’ BUT the lack of its own calendar is a killer.
- Nacho Mail has a very interesting take on Exchange email (love the pepper as the ‘flag’) however, its ‘Calendar’ pulls from your iOS calendar (remember I want to keep these 100% separate) and its ability to stay in sync with my large number of emails per day is a bit sad.
- CloudMagic, like Airmail, the UI and email client is amazing, now if it were to just build Exchange contacts and calendaring, you may have a new client for life.
- Outlook is great, which we all already know and it is currently my iOS email app, however; its lack of support for iOS extensions is killing me.
- OWA for iPhone is a joke. I am glad Microsoft acquired Accompli and transformed that into Outlook because their OWA app for iPhone appears to be their mobile website just in the app store. Pathetic.
- Spark I LOVE this app until I realized that again its calendar connects to my local iOS calendar and it doesn’t have its own contact support. One day, if those two pieces were addressed, this app could make a strong case to becoming my email app. The separation of “Pins,” “Inbox” and “New Mail” is fantastic so I am really hoping that eventually Spark will have its own calendaring and contacts.
- Zoho Mail was an app I almost downloaded until the first line of its description in the app store said ‘Zoho Mail is the Ad-Free…’ – sorry but any email app that uses the word ‘Ad-FREE’ in the first line isn’t really going after power users like me.
- Mail, aka the native iOS email app, is the app I use for personal email so by default that app is out of the question for being used for my work email.
If anyone out there has tried a different app that is not listed above and will fit my ever evolving requirements, please comment and let me know.