Re: Gmail app vs Mailbox app
I have been using Mailbox for a few months, and it is my "go to" app for email on the iPhone. However, I still use the Gmail app for searching.
What's I like about Mailbox:
It is great for handling day to day processing of email messages. They can be replied to, filed, archived, deleted immediately or deferred. And the time to defer the message to is quite flexible. Mailbox's goal is "keep the Inbox empty". And they try and encourage users to have the same goal.
The interface to do these operations is easy to learn and, some might say, fun.
What I don't like about Mailbox:
Mailbox falls down in two related areas. Searching and filing.
Their philosophy on searching seems (to me) to be: You will most likely want to search your most recent messages, so we will limit the search to such. Therefore the search function searches only messages that have been downloaded onto the iPhone. This includes the Inbox, the 50 most recent messages in the Archive folder (which is really the All Mail folder in Gmail), and any "lists" you have created in the app.
Which brings us to the second failing in Mailbox - the inability to label messages in the Gmail sense of labels. Your existing set of Gmail labels are not available to the App. However, the Mailbox App DOES in fact have the ability to access Gmail Labels. In fact, it creates a "Mailbox" label within Gmail, with the "list entries" as sub-labels! This is done when you first connect Mailbox to Gmail. Once you finish the initial configuration, you will have A "Mailbox" label with sub-labels of "Later", "To Read", "To Watch", etc.
You can, in fact, also create other sub-labels under the "Mailbox" label, either through the App itself or through the Gmail web interface. But wait, there's more! (sorry, I had to do this). You can also reconfigure your existing labels in Gmail to be under the "Mailbox" label. The drawback is that, if you have more labels than will fit on a screen, you have to scroll down to select the label you want to use. So I have done this with some of my more often used labels only. The existing labels then show up un the Mailbox App as lists that you can add messages to. This means that you can, with a bit of reconfiguration, make you existing labels visible to the Mailbox App.
Which begs the question "If the Mailbox APP has the capability of accessing labels in Gmail, why restrict it to just those that are subordinate to the "Mailbox" label"? I don't know the answer to this. However the question was asked on Twitter by a user, and here is the reply:
User @user (name hidden)
@mailbox will you ever make the labels made through GMail accessible in the app?
@user Not planning on it right now. Mailbox is a different system of email management, which we know requires some adjustment.
(It seems that Twitter is the method of choice (by the Mailbox support team) to ask questions and submit requests.)
The response notwithstanding, there have been quite a few requests on Twitter and in the forums for label support, so hopefully it will be properly supported one day.
- I like Mailbox for day to day processing of mail. It is efficient and fun.
- I have allowed myself access to certain labels by subordinating them to the "Mailbox" label
- I use the Gmail app for searching