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These 5 email alternatives do what Gmail can’t

Wrangle attachments, watch out for data leaks, collaborate in your inbox, and more.

These 5 email alternatives do what Gmail can’t
[Photo: SvetaZi/iStock]

When it comes to the . . . ahem . . . exciting world of electronic mail, you’d be forgiven for taking it for granted and sticking with the app you’ve used forever. And there’s a pretty good chance that app is Gmail.

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But with so many messages and so little time to deal with them all, sometimes a little ingenuity goes a long way—and not all of it comes from Google. In that spirit, here are some handy email apps that each offer up a unique take on modern-day communication.

[Photo: courtesy of Proton Technologis]

1. Privacy plus

With the tagline “Secure email based in Switzerland,” you might already have a pretty good idea of how ProtonMail (Android, iOS) works. The app’s claim to fame is end-to-end, “zero-access” email encryption, which means that messages can’t be accessed, read, or otherwise used for tracking by the company—or anyone else, for that matter. The experience is slickest when you’re emailing another ProtonMail member, but you’re also able to send password-protected messages to regular email addresses as well. ProtonMail is free for up to 500 MB of storage, with more generous plans starting at $5 per month.

[Animation: courtesy of Readdle Inc.]

2. Teamwork makes the dream work

Readdle’s email superstar Spark (AndroidiOS) has a lot going for it, making it a great option all around. But it’s an absolute must-have if multiple people are shepherding the same inbox, such as one you use for incoming customer-service requests. You can privately discuss individual email messages as a team, with each message getting its own URL to make for easy sharing. You can also draft outgoing messages as a group in real time, ensuring perfect prose until it’s time to hit send. The app is free for two collaborators, with premium plans starting at $8 per active user per month.

3. Attachments at a glance

The free Yahoo Mail (AndroidiOS) app wins points for some cool shopping and travel features, but it’s the handy-dandy Attachments view that ought to please even the most die-hard digital hoarders. With a quick tap, you’ll have a focused view of the attachments you’ve received and also sent yourself, categorized by files, photos, and complete attachment-laden email messages.

4. Security sentinel

If you’re leery of security breaches that put your data at risk—and you should be—take a look at Email by Edison (Android, iOS). It sports a helpful Security Assistant feature that scans recent data leaks for any mentions of the email addresses you’ve connected to the app. With what seems like a high-profile breach happening every week, it’s a good way to keep an eye on things. And for less nefarious (but still annoying) email headaches, the free app also auto-blocks read receipts by default, making it difficult for spammers to target you.

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5. Super scheduling

Even if you don’t use it for work, Microsoft’s Outlook (Android, iOS) is a mighty fine choice as your daily driver when it comes to staying organized. While it’s got most of the email-specific bases covered, it’s the integrated and fully featured calendar that truly pushes this free app over the top. You can share schedules to keep everyone on the same page and leverage some slick features such as automatic inclusion of travel schedules, package deliveries, and bills that are due.

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