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Mac Gems: Inky offers a fresh, human take on email

Nathan Alderman | Feb. 4, 2013
I'd never found an email client that might woo me away from Apple's Mail () until I came across Arcode's free Inky. This cleverly designed app seems built around the way most people use email every day.

I'd never found an email client that might woo me away from Apple's Mail () until I came across Arcode's free Inky. This cleverly designed app seems built around the way most people use email every day.

On startup, Inky prompts you to set up an account for Arcode's cloud-based service. You can then add details for any email accounts you own: IMAP, POP, or webmail. With only an email address and password for each, Inky set up two different email accounts in seconds. I appreciated how the program kept me informed as it figured out how to configure itself appropriately.

An email client that processes your mail through a third-party cloud service could understandably raise privacy concerns. The company takes pains, on its website, to dispel such worries. According to Arcode, Inky lets your computer connect to your email provider(s) and store messages--Inky doesn't store or transmit your mail through the Arcode servers. It does hold your email accounts' details and passwords, but they're stored encrypted, with the only key being your Inky account password. Arcode says that as a result, none of its employees could ever gain access to your email.

On the plus side, Inky's cloud-based approach offers considerable convenience. You can install Inky on as many different computers as you like, accessing multiple email accounts through a single convenient login. Inky even integrates seamlessly with OS X Mountain Lion's Notifications Center feature to let you know when new mail arrives.

The first time I used Inky after configuring my accounts, the app promptly displayed messages from a POP account, but initially showed nothing from my much larger, IMAP-accessed Gmail account. I saw only the cryptic message "Loading..." I closed the program and returned hours later to find all my mail present and accounted for--evidently the delay was due to the size of my Gmail archive. I would've appreciated a more-detailed progress report.

Inky's clean, logical interface provides a lot of power with minimal clutter. Icons on the left let you view different accounts or open the program's settings. Proceeding rightward, you'll see your message list, then a preview of the selected message or conversation.

You can easily customize that layout from a configuration menu at the top of the screen, alongside a search bar and menus that let you filter and sort whichever message list you're viewing. For example, you can quickly filter the view to show only large messages, only messages with attachments, or only messages to which you haven't yet replied. A final menu can quickly rearrange your message list by order of relevance (more on that shortly), date, time, subject, author, or size.

 

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