Looking for the Best Desktop Apps for Gmail on MacOS and Windows?
So, you love your Gmail account– but you’re not a huge fan of having browser tabs dedicated to running it.
Or maybe you love your Gmail so much you have four separate accounts, and the number of tabs you have open is becoming difficult to manage!
The answer to both these issues?
A desktop app dedicated to running your Gmail accounts for you, as well as offering a way to check all your other email platforms. Maybe you can even integrate a few other apps in there, too!
Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the Best Desktop Apps for Gmail on MacOS and Windows. Let’s get straight into it!
Best Desktop Apps for Gmail on MacOS
If there’s one thing we know about MacOS, it’s that the mail client is usually the first thing to go when setting up new accounts.
As such, there are plenty of MacOS desktop apps for Gmail — which come with all levels of features.
How much you want to pay for them, however, is always going to be an individual decision! This will often reflect how you like your emails to look and feel, too.
Canary Mail might not look like anything particularly special.
However, if you’re after a slick email client that loads quickly and runs on any Apple device — including Apple Watch — then Canary Mail definitely has something to offer you.
Canary Mail has very robust encryption, meaning that using your email client on any of those devices isn’t going to present a security risk. It also has plenty of features, most of which revolve around having less emails in your inbox.
Email features include intuitive filters to consign emails to, and the ability to snooze.This removes them from your inbox for a later time.
Probably the best feature is Canary Mail’s “Unsubscribe” button, making it really easy to get off mailing lists you probably don’t even read!
On the email-sorting front, Canary Mail has a unique feature: When you open an email, a sidebar pops up with all the other emails you’ve exchanged with the same sender. This makes it easy to go back to correspondences months old.
As for AI features, Canary Mail has several, including Copilot, its integrated AI capable of composing emails on your behalf and an AI assistant that understands conversational language, creating a more engaging and human-like interaction as you navigate your digital mailbox.
However, all of this comes at a price — $20 per device to start with. So if you want Canary Mail on your MacBook, iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch, you’ll be shelling out $80 for the privilege (plus upgrades).
However, each license is a lifetime one, and comes with great online support.
Mozilla Thunderbird was launched off the back of the success of open-source web browser Mozilla Firefox.
Interestingly, it wasn’t Mozilla’s first go at designing an email app — their initial client, Minotaur, came out in 2003. The fact you’ve probably never heard of it might tell you how successful it was.
When Mozilla put out Thunderbird, using the same open source philosophy as they did for Firefox, things went a lot better. It’s now used by 20 million people!
Unlike other clients, Thunderbird is completely free. You can use all the features without ever paying a cent, even though there is a suggested donation (which is non-obligatory).
Additionally, there are plenty of features: Support for unlimited email accounts across three platforms, and different operating systems. This is particularly useful if you have a personal laptop and a work laptop that run on different systems!
Thunderbird’s spam filters are particularly robust, with easy whitelisting and a Baysean filter along with web-based filters.
It also has a unique tabbed email function, so you can read and refer to multiple emails at once– just as you would in a tabbed browser.
Being open source, there are plenty of add-ons, mods, and widgets available. These offer support for things like HTML text, or language translation.
So, what’s the downside?
Well, there are a couple. Though Mozilla has put solid work into updating the interface of Firefox, they haven’t done the same for Thunderbird. It still looks like a very basic mail client from about a decade ago, and it’s not intuitive to use.
The other issue is the lack of a support team. As it’s open-source, there’s a community you can turn to, but there’s no dedicated support if you run into issues with the Thunderbird app.
Spark’s developer Readdle has recently launched the third version of this email app, which has been popular among MacOS users for years. This is thanks to its streamlined user interface and solid integrations.
This third version comes with not only a Windows download for the first time, but to quote Spark itself, “A new approach to productivity and email.”
This is something they call “Intentional Productivity”, which essentially boils down to not being tied to your email all day.
There are some great features which let you easily re-categorize email filters, and highlight priority mail.
You can mute threads, which is great for reply-all blunders, and it’s great at using the command key to quickly switch between emails.
Spark offers several AI features, including Spark +AI, a set of tools available as a part of the Spark Premium subscription, including tools for generation and editing textual content. It uses Azure OpenAI integration to understand and generate human-like language. Users also have access to additional AI features such as an Email Generator, Draft Editing, AI Summaries, and Quick Replies.
However, upon opening Spark, you’re not actually greeted by your email but by a home screen. While this may make you more productive at other tasks, it feels strange to not be able to access emails in your email client.
Additionally, to get some of the best new Spark features, you’ll have to sign up for a Premium Account. At under $60 per year, however, this is certainly cheaper than a lot of other apps out there, without nearly as many features.
Underneath all the guff, Spark is still a good, streamlined mail client, with a lot of customization capability. It’s perhaps not best for those who just want to read their emails, unless you’re willing to do the customization work first!
If Spark feels like it’s trying to do too much, Boxy Suite might not be doing quite enough!
Boxy Suite is an old-school email client, with integration with Google’s suite of apps (and almost nothing else).
It does offer some flexibility with email organization, and allows for multiple Google accounts to be signed in at once with easy switching between them.
However, that’s about it. Probably the only non-standard thing the app does is let you know if your email is being tracked, and with what software.
If you’re after a basic app that’s clean and reasonably cheap at $39 per year, Boxy Suite might be the option to go for. However, if you’re looking for your email app to do more, you may prefer to look elsewhere.
Wavebox isn’t strictly a Gmail app. In fact, it’s not strictly an email app at all.
Instead, it offers a web-dock for other apps, tidier tabs, and in-built to-do lists. You can set up different shared workspaces, widgets, and side-by-side app use on one screen. It even includes unlimited video calls!
All of that is great. However, if you recall Wavebox being launched as just a desktop Gmail app, then the sudden pivot might be a bit of a surprise.
While the free version will integrate your Gmail with another app or two, if you don’t want all the bells and whistles (to be fair, there are a lot) then you may prefer looking for something that lies between Boxy Suite and Wavebox.
Unibox probably sits most comfortably in that happy medium space. It’s not going to replace your browser, but it will let you integrate several email inboxes (both Gmail and others).
Unibox’s point of difference is the way it organizes your emails by sender, rather than subject.
By simply tapping on a sender, Unibox will show you all of your correspondence with that individual.
In practice, this means that if you’re getting constant social notifications, these will all be grouped together, and you can ignore them (or consign them all to the trash at once).
It has versions for both iPhone and MacOS. The MacOS version allows you to see your email history in the same way you do your message history.
We also liked how the composition window doesn’t displace the entire email screen, and it feels like an app designed around offering something slightly more than just a desktop mirror of your inbox.
Other pros? It’s easy-to-use and cheap: The pro version runs at a one-time cost of $6.
Kiwi for Gmail
Kiwi for Gmail is one of the purest options out there if you just want to get your Gmail off your browser and onto your dock.
A bright, clean, and attractive design with an offline inbox allows you to download your new emails and access them if you’re somewhere without Wi-Fi.
Rather than merging your accounts into a single inbox, Kiwi for Gmail allows you to switch between them, differentiating by color. This is a solid feature if you’re using different Gmail accounts for personal and business, and want a visual reminder.
Kiwi for Gmail works enough like Gmail that it’s a great option for anyone out there who doesn’t want to get their head around another piece of software!
At $39 per year for a premium account, it’s cheap, cheerful, and does the basics well.
Best Desktop Apps For Gmail On Windows
The biggest issue with running Gmail as a desktop app on Windows is that Microsoft clients can occasionally present with the problem of narrowed focus.
After all, Microsoft doesn’t want you using Gmail– the company really wants you to use Outlook!
However, in deference to what customers are trying to do, there are several third party Windows desktop apps that will run Gmail. These are some of the best out there for both personal use and business:
Mailbird is one of the better email clients because of its versatility.
There are a huge number of integrations allowing you to use not just Gmail, but Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, ChatGPT integration and Slack as well!
With a Premium Account, you can integrate more than just the one email account. This could be useful if you’re running several different Gmail accounts, or if you share a computer with family.
Because Mailbird’s promise is to make email easy and beautiful, it’s no surprise that the app comes with a large number of themes and layouts to suit your preferences.
The most unique feature is probably the integration of LinkedIn, not just to get notifications but to search for a contact.
This could be particularly useful for anyone working from home, or those who regularly receive emails from people outside their contact list.
Given that Mailbird isn’t just good– it’s also cheap– you may be wondering what the downside is!
The big disadvantage here is that the app doesn’t offer support for filters. That means all your emails are going to come in unsorted, which can be a big problem if you’re someone who receives a lot of email.
eM started up as an alternative platform to Outlook and Gmail, and the eM client has now been around for more than ten years.
eM is an impressive all-in-one client, offering integration with Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and iCloud.
The latest version also offers calendar syncing and chat, plus some interesting offerings like basic image editing. It also has support for 20+ languages, making it a truly international offering.
Despite this however, one of the best things about the eM client, is that it still keeps emails as its main focus!
The interface is easy to use and intuitive, attractive, and you can start a new email just by using a keyboard shortcut.
As well as the typical spell check in the compose pane, eM lets you define your own text snippets which you can then easily insert into your emails.
If there’s a downside, it’s that unlike most of these apps, there’s no option to access your account through a browser. It’s also freemium software with different functionalities and pricing plans.
Although not unusual, eM’s upgrade tiers can be somewhat opaque– making it difficult to understand what the best plan for you is.
If you’re looking for something just for your personal email box, Inky might not be the best option for you.
When started in 2008, Inky (known then as Arcode) was specifically designed for enterprise use. Today, it integrates Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft 365, and Google Workspace– all platforms which have a significant corporate user base.
If you are running email for an enterprise, then Inky will offer you something no other app can: Exceptional scam detection.
Given that phishing is the most common way businesses suffer data leaks, Inky can help to stop them at the root.
The software both flags suspicious links and uses a proprietary AI system to read over incoming emails to determine if a human wrote it.
These are then either quarantined or delivered with flags that you can check. Inky states it’s not just about detecting scam emails, but also educating users.
Another indication that this is a business tool is that there’s no pricing structure listed on their website.
However, if you’re in a sensitive industry or find the rate of phishing attacks coming to your business is on the rise, you may want to think about getting in touch.
Because Mozilla Thunderbird is a cross-system email app, everything we talked about in the MacOS review counts the same for Windows.
There is one additional feature that may tip the scales in favor of Thunderbird if you’re a Microsoft user, however: It can integrate Outlook with your Gmail!
This means you wouldn’t need to switch between apps, or to keep one open permanently in a separate browser window.
It’s surprisingly difficult to find good information on TouchMail, which may be because it’s now slightly out of date.
TouchMail was created specifically for Windows 10, and although it’s been updated to work with Windows 11, it doesn’t seem to have been given much in the way of extra features. TouchMail does have a very 2016 Windows vibe to it.
As the name indicates, if you’re using a tablet as your main computer, TouchMail may be worth downloading.
The interface is bright and replaces subject lines with tiles. This makes it extremely easy to sort between emails without using a mouse.
While support on offer seems to be pretty basic, the upside is that you can download it from the Windows App Store for free!
Desktop apps for Gmail run the full gamut, from very basic to packed with features. Which one you go for will depend on your budget, preferences, needs, and what you primarily use your email for.
Be sure to know what you want before you get swept up in comparisons and unique selling points.
There are options out there to suit everyone, but there’s no point in paying for something which doesn’t offer what matters most to you.
It’s also important not to dismiss the importance of good support, especially if you’re not particularly tech-savvy. Those few dollars a month could be worth it to be able to chat and problem-solve with a real person.
Finally, while this article is all about desktop apps, don’t forget mobile! If you check your emails on your phone or tablet regularly, think about whether you’d prefer to go with a desktop app that can integrate with all your devices.