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Many of us spend more time every day in our email client than in any other piece of software. If you’re in sales, marketing, design, HR, PR, or other professional fields with an “R” in the name, you may have to compose and reply to hundreds of messages a day, customizing many to each recipient and creating attractive or well-formatted messages for mass distribution. Postbox 7 is tailored for people who swim in email and deal with customers, clients, and leads.

That’s not to say there’s not a lot for the rest of us. Even as a writer, I also often handle hundreds of emails a day, and Postbox meets my needs as an advanced alternative to Apple Mail, but one that hides its power through solid, attractive interface design. Postbox looks mild-mannered, but there’s a Supermail waiting to break out as you need it.

Postbox largely focuses on receiving email and presenting it in a straightforward manner. That’s a relief, because many apps and web-based mailers try either or both to be a Swiss Army knife and organize email how it thinks you should see it. With Postbox’s focus, its intent is to make the process as easy as possible to retrieve and reply to mail, compose new messages, and search your archives. And it does all of this well. (Postbox lets you set up RSS feeds and old-style newsgroups as mailboxes and posts appears as messages.)

postbox home screen IDG

Postbox 7’s main screen keeps it simple, clean, and attractive.

When you first launch Postbox, it prompts you to sign into an email account. As with Apple Mail and other apps, Postbox knows a lot about popular mail hosts and online services. It can also probe automatically to get details from the rest. With my lesser-known third-party mail host, I didn’t have to look up a single piece of obscure IMAP or SMTP information.

I had trouble with Gmail logins, as I have second-factor authentication turned on with my accounts. This includes the option to use either security token or the Google app in iOS to confirm a login. I contacted Postbox, and it was able to determine Google had made a minor change in verification that came up only when app-based authentication was enabled. The company quickly released an updated version that solved my edge-case problem.

After setting up the first account, you can add additional ones through preferences. Postbox also supports profiles, allowing you to create unique sets of email accounts and messages that you can select at launch. This is useful to separate work and personal email or for multiple people who might share a single macOS account. (Profiles aren’t password protected and email isn’t encrypted at rest, however.)

Clean and crisp for managing email

In a review of Postbox 5 in 2016, Macworld said that its “appealing interface squeezes a lot of powerful features—perhaps a few too many—into a single window.” Postbox appears to have changed its preferences by version 7, letting the default view breathe. A simple display puts mailboxes at left, a summary of the selected mailbox or category in the middle, and a preview of the message as the largest area at right.

Part of the heavy lifting of any email client is managing the flood of messages coming in and dealing with archives. Postbox offers plenty here, though it doesn’t stand out significantly compared to other apps. You can create custom filters with complex sets of conditions to match and actions that occur that can be triggered as email comes in or run later. Single-key keystrokes can trigger actions, such as “j” for marking as junk. The app also has its own spam-filtering algorithm.

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