I'm very unhappy with my mail experience. I'm receiving a lot of mails from various clients and projects and need a way to better organize them. I would really love to have additional grouping-functionality with the e-mail client. Currently I'm using Mac OS X's Mail.app, but I am not bound to this. So I am open to any Mail.app-plugin or independent mail application commercial or not for Mac OS X -- should support IMAP, though -- but I think this should not be a problem nowadays? With Mail.app i'm doing the following:

  • group by thread
  • sort by datetime descending

What I would love to have is not only additional tagging-functionality for e-mails -- I know, that at least thunderbird and postbox support them. I would love to have some additional grouping functionality for these tags -- inside the main mail window.

So maybe I can summarize the important points:

  • "native" Mac OS X mail client (no web-mailer please)
  • automatic-tagging functionality (eg.: auto-apply tags by some kind of filter)
  • easy access to tagged mails

Easy access to tagged mails:

  • I would really love to have some additional grouping functionality in the mail folders. The mail application should put all tagged mails in a group -- the groups should be sorted by last received e-mail. Inside the group I would still like to have the possiblity to group by thread.


  • It would be ok to have a list of tags (topics) on the left pane of the mail client. For example postbox: There is the 'accounts-section', there is the 'folders-section' -- but why is there no 'topics-section'?

6 Answers 6


Sounds like a job for MailTags and the Mail Application's Smart Mailboxes feature.


With OSX mail you can do more than you are doing using folders and rules.

You can create rules that move mails to different folders - these give you the tagged emails in a group.

  • I am sure even outlook can do that. I think he needs more than that.
    – sabertooth
    Aug 17, 2010 at 13:42
  • And: the best integration in Time Machine one can wish for!
    – Arjan
    Dec 23, 2010 at 14:24

Thunderbird will allow you to

  • Add tags to a message with a filter
  • Move/copy messages with certain tags to a folder (what you refer to a group above)
  • Filter your inbox (or any folder) by tag

Thunderbird is my suggestion. Reason?

  1. Opensource
  2. tabbed interface
  3. Gmail type conversation view
  4. tagging
  5. filters
  6. extensions and addons (rocks!)

The good: Microsoft Entourage (part of Office for Mac) will do everything you want, and then some.

The bad: It's Microsoft Entourage, and part of Office for Mac.

The ugly: Office 2011 for Mac (due this Autumn) is replacing Entourage with a new mail/contact/calendar app, Outlook (yeah, I know, but it's new for the Mac…).

  • Ugh. Entourage is resource intensive, buggy and ugly. Outlook 2011 isn't much of an improvement. Dec 23, 2010 at 15:14

Currently in beta: sparrow, an OS X interface for Gmail (and IMAP support in future releases). I've not used it, but if Gmail would fit your requirements, then maybe the sparrow features gives you the native OS X look & feel you want.

It seems this is ad-supported, but those apparently can be disabled. I've no idea if this will be free after the betas. I've read it will be available in the new Mac App Store.

threading is sparrow, click to enlarge

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