Spark is a well regarded email app by Readdle, so much so that it’s been given an Editors’ Choice award by Apple on the Mac App Store.
It’s relatively easy to set up, although there are a few hoops to jump through when it comes to iCloud. To set this up in Spark you’ll need to generate an app specific password, and to do so you’ll require Two-Factor Authentication to be tuned on. This is more a security feature from Apple rather than a limitation with Spark.
Spark’s layout is clean and simple. In the sidebar you have all of your Inboxes for the various email services you link (Gmail, Hotmail, iCloud, Exchance etc.), but there’s also a universal inbox so you can see everything in one place. One of the real advantages of Spark is the Smart inbox setting. This splits your received mail into different sections including Personal, Notifications, Newsletters, Pins, and Seen. Right from the start we already felt less stressed because it felt like the stuff that mattered had been pulled out so that we could focus on that straight away.
Open an email and you’ll see an option to Pin – which is similar to choosing to Flag an email in Mail, but more in keeping with the way you can Pin a note in Notes or a webpage in Safari. It’s an easy way to separate out important emails so you can find them quickly – just don’t pin everything. If only Mail could do this too!
You also have a snooze option, which we think is a great idea. We tend to ‘manage’ our email by opening emails, glancing at them to see if we need to action anything immediately, and then Mark as Unread with a view to going back to it later. With Spark we can choose to postpone an email until later today, tomorrow, next week, someday, or pick a date.
You’ll see another neat feature if you scroll to the bottom of an email. Here you’ll see buttons to Reply, Forward and Quick Reply. Quick Reply is a little like the way you can respond to text messages or social media posts with a Like or Love, with the addition of responses such as Great Idea or Call Me. We like the idea, but these sorts of responses probably aren’t appropriate for work email.
There are some handy swiping actions that you can use to quickly manage your emails. A short swipe from left to right changes from Read to Unread. A long swipe from left to right archives an email. A short swipe from the right Pins an email. And a long swipe form the right will delete. We were a little worried we’d accidentally delete something we wanted to Pin. You can actually change the swipe actions in the Settings, making it even more useful.
Templates is another handy feature. If you often send identical or similarly worded emails you can store it in Templates and call it up when required.
If you frequently find yourself checking your email late at night and stop yourself replying there and then because you don’t want your email to be missed or because you don’t want that person to feel they have to reply to you at 11pm, then Send Later is for you. This allows you to schedule when an email is sent, so you can choose to send later today, this evening or tomorrow, or pick a date on the calendar.
There’s also the option to set a reminder – so if a reply hasn’t been received in, say, a week, you can get an alert reminding you to remind them to get a move on. This could be really useful.
The app has a built in calendar that works with iCloud and Gmail. It supports iCloud, Google, Yahoo, Exchange, Outlook, and IMAP.
Spark is free, but you can pay a monthly per-user fee for various team focused features and extra file storage. The app is brilliant and you should definitely give it go, plus there’s also an iOS app that’s equally powerful.