Edison Mail is a much-loved iOS app, and now it’s available for the Mac. It looks and works very much like the iPad app and does all the important things its mobile sibling does.
There’s a clean interface that makes good use of swipe gestures; support for Dark Mode; and a Unified Inbox that enables you to combine your inboxes from most providers (but not currently Exchange). It’s ad-free and automatically blocks email trackers to help protect your privacy.
Interface and features
The app is very easy to set up, simple to use and very nice to spend time in. You can use Gmail, Apple Mail, Gmail Inbox or Microsoft Outlook keyboard shortcuts or Edison’s own ones, it’s easy to customise the swipe gestures and the support for Gmail aliases works very well – something that lets down some other Mac mail clients.
There’s a one-click unsubscribe option for mailing lists, as well as the ability to block specific senders. It’s a very attractive alternative to the Mac Mail app and to browser-based email clients.
A frustrating search
We encountered problems with two key features: Search and the Assistant. Search was often slow and produced inconsistent results: for example when we searched our folder of concert tickets for a particular act it found our booking details from 2014 but not the booking we made a fortnight ago to see the act in 2020.
We tried this with various criteria across various mail folders and would be presented with matches from 2016 and 2018 but nothing more recent; sometimes we would be presented with zero results only to get the results we needed after running the same search again. Identical searches were instant and accurate on Apple’s own Mail app and in Gmail.
Messages that matter
One of Edison’s headline features is the Assistant, which scans your email and classifies appropriate ones as Travel, Packages, Bill & Receipts or Entertainment so you can get a birds-eye view of the things that matter to you. We’ve seen similar classification and filtering in other mail apps, notably Microsoft’s Outlook and Google’s now-discontinued Inbox, but Edison’s approach is more fun and friendly. Or at least, it is when it’s available: it’s only currently designed for US users.
Our reviewer is based in the UK, and and the Assistant’s Entertainment category found just four concert bookings out of the many hundreds in our Gmail and it didn’t find any emails it considered travel-related at all. Annoyingly you can’t remove these Assistant links from the sidebar.
An interesting alternative
Edison is a very clever and useful alternative to existing email apps: it’s fast and friendly, the multiple account support is useful, it handles Gmail aliases properly and the customisation options are useful and extensive. It’s not perfect just yet, however. The Search feature clearly needs a bit more work and the Assistant is effectively useless for non-US users.