What desktop email clients always do better than webmail

Webmail is great, portable, and accessible anywhere, but desktop email clients have so many benefits as well. From encryption you can trust to easy backups, there are a ton of cool features that you can only get (or get easily) with a desktop client like Postbox, Thunderbird, or Outlook. Here are some of the best.

we have already discussed how to tell if you need to use a desktop email client compared to webmail, we will therefore not go over the advantages and disadvantages here. Both options are great, and you are free to use the one that best suits your needs, or use both. Even so, there are some great things you can do with a desktop client that you can’t do at all (or at least can’t do easily) with your browser and webmail. Here are a few of those that stand out.

Manage your mail offline

Not everyone needs offline access to their email, but if you do, be able to work from a train, on a long flight without Wi-Fi, or anywhere you have room for a laptop. but without connectivity is a godsend. Of course, in today’s always-connected world, Wi-Fi is everywhere and you can still connect to a mobile device, but sometimes that’s just not an option. There is something wonderful about being able to launch your email client, and even if it is not updated you can still read the messages you have received, queue replies to be sent automatically. when you have a connection, organize messages into categories and folders, tag items and prioritize them, etc. Once reconnected, everything you did will be applied.

For example, when Gmail offers “Preset Replies”, Outlook’s “Email Templates” allow you to never have to write the same message twice. Here’s how to set them up, and use them even offline. In Thunderbird, you can use Press clippings Where Quick text to achieve the same effect, and Postbox has built-in functionality. All clients allow you to read and compose offline, and will automatically process any outgoing messages or sorting operations once you reconnect.

Get better, more robust backups of everything

There is no better backup than the one you take and manage yourself, and even if you prefer to use webmail, there are good reasons to set up a desktop app as an IMAP client in order to have a persistent backup of your mail somewhere on your hard drive. lead – that, presumably, you have backed up both to external and offsite media. Better yet, you can save more than your inbox: you can save all your sent messages, contacts, priorities and folder structure, everything you need to recover and move to another provider if you ever need to. had to do it. . Since you are in control, you can encrypt it and store it anywhere you want.

Of course, you’re always at the mercy of your email provider, but people with Yahoo accounts probably remember December when service was down for days. Same The outlook was down for a few days last year, shortly after its launch. Data loss was not a problem then, but in the future it could be, and there is an even greater threat when you don’t back up your own mail: what if your provider decides to close your account for reasons other than email? related reason?

When we talked about cloud services that respect and do not respect your privacy, we shared stories of people whose Microsoft accounts were closed due to an issue with SkyDrive (now OneDrive) or Xbox Live. These people subsequently lost access to their Microsoft mail. When Google takes action against someone for violating its T & Cs for Google Music, Drive, Google+, or even YouTube, the Gmail account you signed into also comes under scrutiny. Ideally, they will allow you to get your data from Google take away, but if you are the target of the beauracracy of a massive business, do you really want to trust them to give you the time and tools to get your data out? It’s easier to do it yourself.

Handle accessories like a pro

The best thing about using a desktop client on a regular basis is probably that I can choose where my attachments are hosted before I send them to someone else, and I can choose where they go when I receive them. the message. For example, with Sparrow for Mac, if I drag an attachment directly into the body of the message, it is uploaded to Dropbox and my recipient will see the attachment and a link to download it from Dropbox in the message. No full inboxes or corporate email quotas to struggle with. If I drag the file to the bottom of the message, it is directly attached to the message, giving them the option to download it directly from the message or route it wherever they prefer.

When we talked about awesome Thunderbird plugins, we have underlined Dropbox for Filelink, which does the same, only it supports Dropbox, Box, Ubuntu One, etc. Postbox includes support for Dropbox. There are a number of tools to do the same with Outlook, including GsyncIt and Maildrop. If you want your incoming attachments to go straight to Dropbox, there are ways to do that as well, including the Amazing Send to Dropbox, or just use IFTTT to get the job done the moment an email with an attachment arrives in your inbox.

Use strong encryption you can trust

You don’t need to use a desktop email client to encrypt your messages, but if you want the best possible encryption, You really should. The best part is, while it can be tricky to set up, it’s not hard, and if you put in a little time, you’ll be up and running in minutes. The benefits of encrypting your email – or at least having the ability to encrypt important emails like financial documents, private emails, or anything else sensitive – are huge. Using a desktop client for encryption means that everything – your personal keys and those you have obtained from other people, your key generation tools, are all local and in your hands, instead of being sitting somewhere on someone else’s server, or only available to you through a closed-source tool or add-on. Best of all, there are encryption tools available for all major email clients, including the three most important here.

If you really want to encrypt your webmail, we have we showed you some tools who does the job, so there is no real excuse not to do this, even if you give up some control to the app or add-on developer to get it. After all, let’s be honest: Emai is terribly precarious, and hacks happen all the time.

Become a master of category management, message tagging and inbox filtering

Most webmail clients have great filtering options and amazing spam checks, and that’s great, but when it comes to organizing your own mail to work for you, there is nothing better than the multitude of options offered by a desktop client. Filters, metrics, categories and priorities from Postbox and Thunderbird packs, but Outlook takes matters into its own hands a whole new level if you use it correctly and to the fullest of his abilities. With just a little time, you can familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of Outlook and start filtering messages by sender or direct to you, color-coded messages for tracking, and more.

In the Postbox and Thunderbird world, you can extend the built-in signaling and priority functionality with add-ons such as Quick filters make organizing your mail as easy as drag and drop, Quick files turn your inboxes and frequent folders into tabs. Send later give you true send on-forward functionality, much like the built-in functionality of Outlook. Personal level indicators help you see if this post is really for you, or a blast for tons of people. Don’t get me wrong, Gmail’s inbox tabs and indicators for personal or important senders are great, and Outlook.com’s “swipe” feature is useful too, but you can’t beat the flags, categories, files, and filters to give you full control over your mailbox.


Ultimately, you might not need all of that power, especially if you only interact with your mail on your phone or don’t work in your inbox every day. Even if you do, sending color-coded, priority, and encrypted messages might seem too demanding on you. That’s fine, you don’t have to get hundreds of messages a day to enjoy a desktop client, though. Webmail is great, make no mistake about it, but sometimes you have to roll up your sleeves and get dirty to stay organized.

Photos by ehecatzine, Paul Bailey, and david-h.


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