My friend Amy is having her first experience with using Gmail, and, it, um, isn’t going as well as she’d like. The good news is that although Apple's Mail.app and Gmail have had a rocky relationship in the past, Mail.app in Yosemite works pretty well with Gmail, but there are some things that you should understand before you proceed.
Posts tagged with "mail"
One of my biggest frustrations with iOS 8 so far is the lack of extension support in Apple's Mail app. As I wrote in iOS 8 Changed How I Work on My iPhone and iPad:
I'm disappointed to see a lack of extension support in Apple's own apps, and particurlarly in Mail. It just makes sense, in my opinion, to be able to turn messages into tasks or archived documents, but Apple hasn't integrated extensions with Mail yet.
My feelings haven't changed since September and, in fact, Mail's non-existent sharing capabilities have been exacerbated by my move towards a more iPad-centric workflow after upgrading to an iPad Air 2. I've been working from my iPad Air 2 on a daily basis for the past two weeks, and the friction in Apple's Mail app has led me to use other email clients simply because they came up with their own implementation of action and share extensions for email messages.
One of iOS' biggest shortcomings is the inability to attach multiple files to an email message. Caused by Apple's resistance to bringing a visible filesystem to iOS or building inter-app communication features to access files outside of an app's own sandbox, the problem is epitomized by antiquated limitations such as the Open In menu and the aforementioned lack of multiple attachments in Mail. Interestingly, these two limitations are exactly what Multiple Attachments, developed by Jan Mazurczak, uses to send email messages containing attachments that aren't just photos or videos.
Joe Kissell, in a follow-up to his original article on Mavericks and Gmail:
If you were holding off on upgrading to Mavericks because of the Mail problems, all I can say is that it’s safer now than it was at first. I can’t guarantee you a trouble-free experience, and without a doubt, some people upgrading from Mountain Lion will feel the new version of Mail is a distinct downgrade. It all depends on how you use Mail, and as we’ve seen, each person approaches it a bit differently from the next.
Mail Update for Mavericks includes improvements to general stability and compatibility with Gmail, including the following:
Fixes an issue that prevents deleting, moving, and archiving messages for users with custom Gmail settings
Addresses an issue that may cause unread counts to be inaccurate
Includes additional fixes that improve the compatibility and stability of Mail
I don't use Gmail as my primary email anymore, so I'm looking forward to reading reports about the stability of this update (will Joe Kissell tell us?). You can download it here or through the Mac App Store.
Apple Mail in Mavericks treats Gmail accounts differently than any previous version of Mail did. Although some of the changes are quite clever, the implementation has flaws. Your mileage may vary, of course, but I’ve seen a number of folks on Twitter complaining about some of the same things I’ve found. Here’s what I’ve observed and what you can (and can’t) do about it.
I mentioned "strangeness" with Mail in my review of Mavericks. Joe does an excellent job at documenting what's going on and why.
I'll let you guess what other old feature Mavericks broke in Mail (keep reading Joe's article until the end).
A feature of iOS 7 that I quickly described in my article and that I haven't seen mentioned in other places is the possibility to make Apple's Mail app open individual messages through a new
message:// URL scheme. As I wrote:
In iOS 7, if you have a message URL that corresponds to a message, the URL will correctly open it directly in Mail. There are two limitations: the message has to be already downloaded in the Mail app, and, of course, you have to know the URL. So far, I haven’t found a way to create URLs to reference Mail messages on iOS, but the ones you create on your Mac through AppleScript and Mail.app will continue to work on iOS 7 devices. Therefore, if you have scripts that generate these URLs to, say, attach them to OmniFocus or Evernote, you’ll be able to tap them and open the associated message on an iPhone or iPad. I look forward to seeing whether developers will figure out a way to generate message:// URLs on iOS.
That wasn't the first time I covered
message:// URLs on MacStories. In November 2012, I posted an AppleScript to quickly save a message's URL in Evernote for Mac with a hotkey; and even then, I was referencing a 2007 post by John Gruber on the topic:
The structure of these URLs is fairly simple: (1) the “message:” scheme, followed by (2) the message-id of the message, enclosed in angle brackets (“<” and “>”). The message-id is specified in each message’s “Message-ID” header field, which is part of the Internet email standard. Every message-id should be universally unique, and every message should have a message-id. In my testing, the only messages I could find that didn’t have Message-ID headers were spam; such messages cannot be referred to by Mail’s “message:” URLs.
message:// URLs that Apple introduced in Leopard have gone mostly unchanged in terms of OS X integration throughout the years, proving to be a nice solution to reference specific messages in todo apps, note-taking apps, and so forth. Rather than searching for a message in Mail, you can generate a URL via AppleScript, archive it somewhere, and launch it (either by pasting it in Safari or right-clicking it in a Cocoa app) to open the referenced message in a separate Mail window -- no matter if the message has been archived, put in a folder, or left in the inbox.
I’m aware of the fact that it’s a common trend to call email a “nightmare” these days, but the truth is – email works for me. I have multiple addresses set up, I have my filters and smart folders to automate the process of filing and finding emails, and I’m enjoying the renewed interest of iOS developers in building email apps that solve old problems in new ways. But there is one thing I don’t like: Apple’s Mail app and how many clicks it takes to switch between configured accounts and signatures. As you can guess, I came up with a way to automate the process using AppleScript and (optionally) Keyboard Maestro.
I receive several messages every day to different email addresses, but I always want to reply with the same address and the same signature. Apple’s Mail app makes it easy to see all messages sent to all accounts with the unified Inbox, but it makes it surprisingly hard to set default accounts and signatures that should always be treated as, well, default ones. I don’t want to click on menus for accounts and signatures: I want to hit ⌘R and receive a new Reply window with the account and signature I want already set.