Change is hard. I get that. Judging by the dismay on Twitter over the Gmail logo change, few people are happy with the multi-colored M. Some have blamed the email logo change for missing important missives. Others complain it’s now visually indistinguishable from Google’s other app logos. To everyone in the throes of an extremely first-world mental breakdown over a largely inconsequential thing, I have a simple solution: Get an email client for desktop. If you use Gmail’s mobile app, get a different mail app.
“B-b-b-ut Gmail! My whole life is on Gmail!” You say, clutching your imaginary pearls, as if Gmail and its stranglehold over email is something you have to give up. It’s not. I simply don’t understand the madness of keeping a dedicated tab open at all times to access your email. Chrome is already a RAM hog. If you, like me, have an egregious number of tabs open at every single waking moment, tabs for each of your email accounts are an unnecessary eyesore. If you only have one email, you can get away with it, sure. I have five emails that I monitor at any given time. Pfffffft I can’t dedicate five tabs at a given time to an open web browser. I’m not a maniac.
Email clients are beautiful that way. A neat little program on your desktop (or laptop) that can organize and manage every single one of your inboxes for you. Now you only have one program. Granted, it too will take up RAM but never to the extent that I’ve felt my laptop slow down or lose performance. And even if it did, the benefits of a desktop mail client are worth it.
It may be personal preference, but once you gain the infinite power of seeing all your emails in one program at once, going back to one email account per tab is unbearably annoying. You also don’t lose out on features like snoozing emails. If anything, your customization options are enhanced. It depends on the client. Each comes with their own feature set and some may be better suited to your personal needs than others. Many have “smart inboxes,” which automatically filter based on your usage what’s spam and what likely needs your attention. Others give you the option to aggregate all your inboxes into one mega-inbox, while also providing settings so you respond from the correct address.
I use Spark and that integrates with Todoist—another to-do list app I use. If instead of snoozing, I want a concrete reminder to reply to an email, I can just export it to my to-do list, complete with a link to that exact email. Alternatively, I can right-click and select “Search Email by Sender” to bring up every email that person has ever sent me—without having to go to the search bar. Again, this just happens to be the client I’ve settled on as it works best for my needs. There’s a crapton of free and paid options out there that I assure you, offer a better experience than Gmail in multiple web browser tabs.
The other benefit of an email client on your desktop? You already, instantly, get an offline backup of all your emails. Perhaps it’s a morbid, paranoid thought but in the event you suddenly get laid off, there’s no scramble to run to your computer and save all your contacts or documents. You already have a searchable copy.
But what about mobile? I’ll get a lot of shouting in my inbox for this, but Gmail’s mobile app is a steaming pile of donkey shit. I keep downloading it thinking that this time is the time I’ll understand the best way to use it, since it keeps popping up on “Best Email App” lists. But alas. While it’s okay for managing a single account, it’s clunky as hell if you want to check up on three or more email accounts at a time. There’s no good, easy way to see at a glance how many unread emails are in each of my inboxes.
Alternatively, I’ve got no way to view every “Important” email from all my accounts in one place. Again, I have to switch accounts. Sometimes, because I am old and my memory is shriveled, I don’t remember which account the important email is in. I don’t have time to manually check one folder for a single, potentially mythical email. Or, if I have multiple accounts in the Gmail app, I can’t search all of them at once. My option is assaulting my eyes with the All Inboxes view, or manually switching between accounts. When it comes to notifications, I’ve found that Google’s “High Priority” settings are less than foolproof and I’d rather die than get notifications for every single email I get. Actually, that’s true for most settings. Apple’s iOS Mail client is also stinky garbage, and if you have an iPhone, you can do better.
All of these quirks are nonexistent in my Gmail app-free life, and yet, I have even more freedom over email experience. The Spark app lets me pre-load templates in case I just have to shoot off a quick email like “I’m not near a keyboard right now but I’ll get back to you ASAP.” I can manage settings for all my emails accounts in one place. The smart notification filters mean I only get notifications from people I know and have interacted with. Most importantly, I’ve made it so there’s never a goddamn red bubble, regardless of how many unread emails I may have.
You don’t have to use the client I do. In fact, there’s a good chance it may not be the best for your needs. But there are dozens upon dozens out there, many of which have figured out how to streamline and customize the whole email thing in ways that Google has continually failed to do. You can pay if you want, but you absolutely don’t have to. The best part is, you don’t have to ever look at that infernal Gmail logo ever again.