Email isn't going away, no matter how hard we try. So instead of fighting it, I've decided to simplify it. Here are five apps I've tried to tame the email beast.
Unroll.me is a free service that promises to "clean up your inbox" and does it by letting you roll all those emails you get from subscribing to list serves and newsletters into a daily digest.
It also lets you unsubscribe to email you have deleted with a vengeance. All you need to do is sign up from the email address for which you want to simplify, which means if you have lots of email addresses, you'll need to create an account for each one.
Luckily creating an account takes relatively little time and doesn't require you to enter much more than your email address. Unroll.me will search your account (with your permission) and uncover the different types of subscription email you receive. You can leave them unrolled, which means they will still stay in your inbox, unsubscribe or add the mail to your "roll-up."
Once created, you'll notice an Unroll.me folder in your mailbox — you can check this folder throughout the day for all emails you chose to "roll-up" will be here. They'll also show up in a daily digest that you've designated to show up in your inbox in the morning, afternoon or evening. Unfortunately you can choose only one time.
You'll definitely notice that your inbox is a lot leaner than before. Not only does Unroll.me deliver on its promise to clean up your inbox, it actually helps you better understand how much subscription mail you receive, and which ones are useful. If you choose to roll-up all of it, soon you'll realize what you're missing — then you can go back to your account and edit your subscriptions.
Inbox Cube is a free mobile app for the iPhone. I have to admit when trying new apps that claim to "discover my inbox" I'm a little skeptical. I know what my inbox looks likes, so I'd rather not have to spend any more time there. With the Inbox Cube app, however, I can't get enough of my inbox. I'm actually discovering things about my email that make me feel empowered, rather than overwhelmed.
Once downloaded, you can add your email account, whether it's Yahoo, Gmail, iCloud or what ever you use. Then after it builds your inbox, you will see an inbox that actually makes sense. If you're like me, people send you a lot of attachments. You don't know what they are or from whom they belong. Inbox Cube does. So next time you're looking for an email from your sister about what time her flight is landing, you don't have to frantically search folders or perform a lame search in iCloud that never seems to find anything. Just use Inbox Cube, click on contacts that tap your sister's name from the list and it will show all the emails she's sent. But she sent a screenshot of her flight info. Easy. Just click on photos— and it will show all the photos she's ever sent you.
You can add multiple accounts to your Inbox Cube, and you can set it up so you receive notifications or not about when you have mail. Beyond that there isn't much in the way of settings. Additionally, while the app syncs with your mailbox, it is still an app, so you'll still have to open the app to send emails, etc. I haven't let Inbox Cube replace how I write, send or reply to emails, but it is my go to app when I want to find that attachment, specific email or reorganize my emails.
Mailbox is a free mobile app for both iPad and iPhone that "puts email in its place." To do that, it gives users the option of tagging emails by importance. You can swipe to delete, to read later, to archive, or to ignore. It's actually quite liberating when you realize that not every email you receive needs your attention right now. While it may take time to undo the Pavlovian conditioning, Mailbox offers a short cut, so we can simplify our inbox so we focus on the things that deserve our attention.
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