Mail Pilot for Mac is Finally in Public Beta

From an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign early last year to its initial release as a web app with a dark, bubbly plastic design last year to a streamlined, lighter and brighter iOS app earlier this year, Mail Pilot has had quite the journey so far in its short life. And now, that journey has finally brought it to the Mac in a native app that brings another hint of what an iOS 7 redesigned OS X could look like.

At every step, the core idea was still at play: your inbox is filled with things you need to do, so why not treat it like a to-do list? You could then check off emails you’ve completed (say, just read the message and noted the info, or replied if that’s needed), schedule emails to clear off later, and keep a list of messages you’ll need to come back to. It’s designed to simplify your email, and is now ready for you to try on your Mac.

Checking Off Your Emails

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Mail Pilot looks much like you’d expect an email app to look these days, with a standard list of messages on the left and your email in full view on the right. It’s got a clean, iOS 7 style UI, but that’s also almost to be expected in brand-new apps. What’s unique about Mail Pilot is the way it treats emails. Instead of prominent delete or archive buttons in the UI, there’s a simple check mark on the left of each message to cross it off. Emails don’t show as read or unread, but as uncompleted (completed ones are sent to the archive). You can complete your inbox directly, set aside emails to come back to later (while still leaving your inbox clean) or schedule emails for a specific date so you’ll remember to reply to them then. There’s still keyboard shortcuts to archive emails to folders or delete them, but the main purpose of Mail Pilot is to make you quit treating emails as files in folders and start treating them as tasks to complete.

Pair it with the iOS app, and you’ve got quite a great way to manage email if you’re willing to think of your inbox as a task list as you can see in the video below. It’s not perfectly seamless when playing with other apps — emails aren’t marked as read in Gmail’s web app, for instance, and the Today or Set Aside messages show up under special tags/folders in other email apps — but put the two together, and you’ve got something that can change the way you think about email. It’s still in beta, of course, so proceed with caution, but the Mail Pilot team says that it’s stable enough for general use right now.

Share Your Thoughts

Email’s a rather competitive space right now, with Airmail an incredibly popular email app that can be customized to work the way you want, the new Unibox trying to make email more about the people you talk to, and MailMate raising funds to make a better email app for those with the most extensive email needs.

Which approach seems to work best for you, and what do you really want from a new email app today? We’d love to hear your thoughts about it in the comments below, and would be especially interested in how Mail Pilot works for you if you try it out.