Going Webmail-Only

webmail600Last week, I mentioned that I was de-prioritizing email in my life. So far, it’s been great, and I’ve had some amazing success avoiding email in general by only using webmail. Webmail is harder to get to than launching an app, which means I don’t use it as often. Most importantly, webmail is simple and only offers essential features.

I spent the last four years changing email apps to find one that simplified email, rather than further complicating an already complex system. To be honest, Sparrow was the perfect email app, but it has mostly stopped working since Google acquired it two years ago. Airmail began life as its spiritual successor, but they keep adding features that are useless to me. It’s become the perfect example of software bloat. I’ve also tried Apple’s Mail app, Thunderbird, Postbox, Mail Pilot, and a few others I have generally forgotten, all resulting in similar feature exhaustion.

All I want to do is read and send email, but every app assumes that I want to do more, so much more. My ideal email app puts those two features up front and hides the rest unless I specifically enable them. Much to my surprise, my ideal email app is webmail. I have tried webmail from ProtonMail, iCloud, and Gmail. Their webmail does a great job of clearly presenting email’s core features. They hide the extra features behind settings, make them less visually prominent, and even omit some of the less-used extras.

Webmail’s simplicity allows me to focus on my email, and that’s exactly what I want from an email app. I’m sure a new Sparrow will show up some day, but until then, I’ll always have webmail.

12 responses

  1. I’ve done this for years. I have three pinned tabs, personal mail, work mail, todo list. Can recommend!

    1. I’m glad to be in good company. 🙂

  2. Hear hear! I’ve been webmail only for a while now– it’s a relief not to have that unread count constantly haunting you.

    1. Exactly, email gets read when I want to read it, not when it demands me to.

  3. Great to see I’m in good company. Airmail was my favourite for the longest time, but gave it up as it became more bloated with each update.

    Thinking seriously about making Protonmail my main email…

    1. If you’re already a fan of webmail, love privacy, and hate all of those add-on features from mail clients like Airmail (and to a smaller extend Gmail’s webmail), you’ll love ProtonMail. 🙂

      1. Yes, I already use it to a certain extent, but I’m waiting for them to release an app for the iOS. I do believe it’s in the offing… 🙂

        1. According to this, they’re close to finalizing the alpha test for the apps: https://blog.protonmail.ch/were-upgrading-all-protonmail-accounts-to-1gb-of-storage/

          1. That looks very promising indeed. Those guys seem to be serious about it. Won’t be able to get to test it … I wasn’t in that first campaign.

            When I first saw your WordPress-ID, I thought you were a cat lover [Manx], with a Mac 😀

            1. It’s actually a combination of Mac (like the Apple computers) and Mega Man X, my favorite game series: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mega_Man_X

  4. I would actually love to go webmail only, but I still cannot find a Chrome extension that will let me persist pinned tabs across sessions. :/ I can pin tabs, but quitting the browser resets those, and I can force my email tabs to open when the browser starts, but those are not pinned tabs.

    1. Yeah, that is one of things I lost going webmail-only, but after a few months now, it no longer bothers me.