Using Gmail in your web browser isn’t a very pleasant experience. There’s no simple way to view email messages from multiple accounts, nor is it easy to manage them. Also, as you start working with Google documents, the browser window quickly gets cluttered.
Luckily, there are some third-party email-client apps that mimic the Gmail experience on your Mac desktop instead. Each solution offers a personalized set of features. In this article, we’ll explore these Gmail apps for Mac and help you choose the best one for your needs.
1. Kiwi for Gmail
Kiwi for Gmail brings the entire Google experience to your Mac. The left sidebar offers quick shortcuts to Drive, Docs, Contacts, and Calendar. Or, you can create new entries with a single click. Each app will open in a separate window.
The right panel is your main account window.
To add a Gmail account, go to Preferences > Accounts, then click the Add (+) button at the bottom and sign in. Kiwi assigns a unique color for each account. You can change the order, set your preferences for receiving notifications, and enable various plug-ins.
The lite version of Kiwi is still a fully-fledged app, but it limits you to only two Gmail accounts. Kiwi for Gmail 3.0 or later offers expanded plug-in support, audio and video integration, a new contacts pane, and more. Read the Kiwi blog post for more details.
Unique Features of Kiwi for Gmail
- The Focused Filter Inbox allows you to quickly filter your inbox. You can choose to filter by unread, date range, attachments, and more. For example, you can click on unread to show unread messages from all your accounts.
- The built-in menu bar allows you to quickly compose an email from any account with a single click. You can also access recently closed Docs from the File menu.
- Attach files to emails directly from Finder. Head to System Preferences > Extensions and enable the Share Menu checkbox to do this.
- Integration with Boomerang, Right Inbox, Grammarly, Zoom, and more. If it interests you, find out how you can schedule an email in Gmail without any plugins.
Download: Kiwi for Gmail Lite (Free)
Download: Kiwi for Gmail ($29.99)
Mailplane proposes a tabbed user interface to manage Gmail, Contacts, and Calendar from a single location. This Gmail Mac app is intuitive to use as it borrows certain features from the browser itself, like creating new tabs, managing bookmarks, and a navigation tool.
To add a Gmail account, go to Preferences > Accounts, then click the Add (+) button at the bottom and sign in. Mailplane assigns a unique color for each account. You can configure notification preferences and enable an option to re-open the last visited Gmail location on startup.
Mailplane has a built-in search button that lets you search messages simultaneously across all your accounts. Click the navigate button to list all the Gmail labels, tabs, contacts, calendars of any account and open an item in a new tab with a single click.
Unique Features of Mailplane
- Use the Save Clip toolbar option to create a task in Todoist, Things, and Omnifocus. You can also clip a message to Evernote or Devonthink or save the message as a PDF file.
- Customize attachment options by going to Preferences > Attachments. You can configure the default format, size, and more.
- Integration with Boomerang, Clearbit, Gmelius, Hiver, Zoom scheduler, Contacts plus, and more. Go to Preferences > Extensions and enable these integrations.
- The built-in menu bar notifier is a big time saver. It lets you archive and reply to emails straight from your Mac notifications.
Download: Mailplane ($29.95, free trial available)
3. Boxy Suite 2
Your emails, notes, and calendars deserve a dedicated, focused environment on your desktop. Boxy Suite 2 is a combination app that brings Gmail, Calendar, Keep, and Contacts to your Mac. You can choose to install the entire suite or any app of your choice.
Apps in this suite are based on WKWebview with custom styling and native features built on top to make them look better and act more responsively. To get started, go to Accounts and click Add Account. With the built-in shortcuts, you can switch to a different Gmail account.
Unique Features of Boxy for Gmail
- Press Cmd + K to quickly change account, navigate between sections (Inbox, Starred, Unread, and so on), and launch the task manager.
- Create a task with backlinks to another email message. Boxy Suite supports Things, Omnifocus, 2Do, and Todoist. Here’s a useful guide for finding the perfect to-do app for your needs.
- It can detect “tracking pixels” inside the email body and tell you the details of how your email is getting tracked.
- Toggle the reader or minimal mode to read email messages without any distraction. Also, these modes support macOS Dark Mode.
Download: Boxy Suite 2 ($29/year, free trial available)
Unite for macOS can turn any website into a Mac app. It uses a WebKit-powered backend browser to create site-specific apps. This means you can fully replace bloated electron apps like Slack or Discord with lightweight, native-like Mac apps.
To get started, type in the Gmail URL followed by a name, Unite will grab its favicon. Then click Create Unite application. On launch, you’ll see a familiar Gmail sign-in window. When you first sign in, Unite will ask you if you want the save the password.
The built-in integration with iCloud Keychain ensures that you don’t have to worry about site passwords in the future. The title bar of the windows automatically adjusts to match the primary color. A small control center button allows you to temporarily access browser functions like tabs, URL bar, and downloads.
Unique Features of Unite
- Enable floating windows within your Unite apps to keep your content window always at the top. Head to Appearance > Window Level and choose Floating from the dropdown menu to do this.
- Complete support for the HTML notification, just like Google Chrome or Safari. They’re easily identifiable since you can customize the name and icon of your apps.
- Support of userscript and styles to tweak the browser’s function and look. It’s also possible to set a custom user agent for an app to imitate other web environments.
- Get quick, glanceable information with Dock slices. This lets you replace the Dock icon with a live feed. Head to File > Start Dock Monitor to get started.
Download: Unite 4 ($19.99, free for up to three apps)
Become a Pro Gmail User
As a heavy Gmail user, I’ve gone back and forth between using the browser and these third-party apps. If you’re just getting started and use only two Gmail accounts, Kiwi lite is sufficient to cover your needs. After that, my next recommendation is Unite.
However, if you need a native email client with a built-in task manager and third-party extension support, try Mailplane or Boxy Suite. Both are equally powerful.