Triage 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 001)

The market for iOS email clients has exploded in recent months, with new arrivals like Dropbox-owned Mailbox, collaboration software Sendgine and of course Google-owned Sparrow all striving to rethink, with more or less success, what email should be about.

Needless to say, I was immediately hooked up on Triage, a new kind of iOS email client software from Southgate Labs Limited, billed as “first aid for your inbox.”

To be clear, this app is meant to complement rather than replace your primary email client by helping you “use your downtime to quickly remove the noise and stress” in order to reach Inbox Zero nirvana. And boy does it succeed in achieving that objective…

First, you’ll need to set up your accounts in Triage.

Gmail, Yahoo! and iCloud accounts are supported right out of the box. In addition, support for FastMail “is coming soon” and you can also connect Triage to any standard IMAP service you happen to be using.

Enabling an IMAP account is a simple matter of entering your first and last name and providing your credentials. Triage will then communicate with the server and auto-discover optimal settings.

Once you’ve set up your accounts, prepare yourself for a mild shock.

Triage 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 010)Triage 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 002)

See, Triage is simplified to the point of becoming the anti-email.

Honestly, those on the lookout for a feature-laden app should start looking elsewhere – and that’s a compliment to Triage’s approach to email.

Triage’s user interface introduces a radical cards metaphor which replaces the traditional list view of your inbox with a stack of cards, each corresponding to a single message.

The catch?

You only get to see the topmost card.

Triage 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 005)Triage 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 009)

The approach forces you to drop your preconceptions about how email should be tackled. Instead of attending to a few cherry-picked messages, Triage has you dealing with your entire inbox on a LIFO basis, working your way down from the topmost card.

By sorting through your email chronologically rather than arbitrarily, Triage challenges your mind to adapt to reaching Inbox Zero.

It’s about reclaiming your email, your attention and your life.

Indeed, here’s the pitch from iTunes release notes:

Triage is for people who struggle to stay on top of their inbox. It doesn’t try to replace your desktop mail client, but lets you use your downtime to quickly remove the noise and stress.

To help you declutter your inbox, Triage relies on the iOS gestures muscle training.

Triage 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 003)Triage 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 004)

To archive a message, just flick it up. This will move the message to your default IMAP archive folder. Similarly, flick the message down to delete it.

Here’s a quick video of the flicking action.

Triage also automatically hides messages older than seven days.

You can additionally change the flick up action to ‘Delete’ or ‘Mark As Read’ in settings and choose to filter only the messages received in the ‘Last 7 Days’, ‘Last 14 Days’, ‘Last 90 Days’ or ‘All’.

Triage 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 007)Triage 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 008)

To reach Inbox Zero nirvana, first set Triage to display all messages.

On the downside, Triage doesn’t have a unified inbox. Although Google’s mobile Gmail app also lacks the feature, you’ll find yourself inevitably switching back and forth between multiple email accounts manually, which is a pain in the you-know-what.

In case you’ve been wondering: yes, Triage can both fetch and send messages.

Triage 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 001)

Another missing feature: Triage doesn’t support folders or Gmail labels. I suspect this is by design, in an effort to shift your attention away from categorizing individual email messages and towards focusing on efficiently responding to the incoming messages.

Triage 1.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 012)
Screenshot via MacStories.

You also won’t find signatures, a weird omission as signatures are prevalent in email communications.

Our friend, MacStories editor Federico Viticci, sums it up best:

I’m sure Apple, the Sparrow team, or Google could have come up with Triage. But they didn’t. In a market that’s hungry for full-featured email clients, Triage’s focus is on letting you decide which messages will require more attention later, and which ones can discarded now.

Triage is based on a simple, efficient, and rewarding process that works by leveraging the iPhone’s most obvious gesture and one-handed operability. Unlike other new email apps, Triage doesn’t let you scan your inbox to turn messages into to-dos: it uses a one-message-at-a-time approach to see what’s up, what needs attention, and what can be kept for later.

I couldn’t agree more.

Triage has arrived quietly and already I’ve integrated it fully into my daily workflow, up to the point where I couldn’t live without the app anymore.

This just highlights how the traditional approach to email leaves a lot to be desired.

I’m just super glad smaller companies like Southgate Labs are seizing their opportunity to innovate in this seemingly dull space.

Unfortunately, Triage isn’t a free download: it will run you two bucks a pop.

If it’s any consolation, the software is worth every single cent.

If you’re dealing with ton of email messages on a daily basis, Triage is a no-brainer – even more so to people who are not stuck in the old ways, ones willing to adapt their process to working through their inbox with gestures.

  • dam isnt on zeusmos yet

    • Don’t pirate apps.

    • SimonReidy

      I’ve never understood pirates that feel the need to shout it to the world. Is it a badge of honour to steal from a developer, who relies on app sales for their income?

      • Potatoes gonna potate

      • I wouldn’t give much fucks if you got robbed. Some people just deserve to.

      • I looked an a few “pirate” repos, and no luck yet. I will gladly pay $2 if this is an app I start to use daily/weekly. If it’s something that doesn’t fit my life/workflow, that’s $2 wasted. No thanks.

  • No hotmail love? 🙁

    • The reason with no Hotmail because it is useless when you can configure it with POP3, and your email wouldn’t be sync. If you want it to be synchronize then you have to use Microsoft Exchange which I don’t think it is available…..

  • Guest

    Mailbox is better.

  • Mailbox or this ???

    • Lieeee

      wait for couple more days, another one is on the way.

  • You can try dozens of mail apps, but when you need to send something from iOS, is going to get open…

    • sending email isn’t the issue – it doesn’t matter how emails are sent, as much as how they are organized/managed.
      ie – there is no difference in sending an email from mailbox, triage, or iOS mail – they all get sent in the same manner.

      • that’s obvious. I meant you can’t 100% replace…

      • right, but you don’t need to either. use mailbox, triage, etc for normal email, and send from when using “send..” feature in ios.

  • pauleebe

    Quite the influx of email apps this year. Pretty much screams at the fact that Apple’s Mail app needs some beefing up.

    • Diego Gastón Milano

      Keep in mind that you always need to fail at something to allow independent development to be born, either via an independent App or by having a flexible or open-source system. With perfect native apps, the AppStore wouldn’t be a top revenue tool which is what boosts popularity as well as further development and inspiration.

  • Bob

    Mailbox wannabe’.

    • Jordan

      the first thing I noticed was the icon

  • The icon reminds me of Maibox. Anyone else?

  • Mohammed Sahib

    $ 1.99? Thanks but no thanks,

  • Adam Bowman

    I might try this, but I must say that I still find that the stock iOS email app is quite convenient, even though it’s lacking features. What has made the stock iPhone app even better, though, by adding features to it, is Mail Enhancer Pro. If you haven’t heard about it, check it out. Most useful is the unread tab it adds to iOS email.

    I want to like Google’s gmail app and I like its features, but I find it takes too long to load…

    And I just got Mailbox today, so I’m testing it out before stating how I feel about it.

    But, seriously, check out Mail Enhancer Pro if you tend to use standard iPhone email.

  • smtp25

    Why does MS Exchange no love from 3rd party mailapps?? iPhone is meant to be the new Blackberry for the enterrpise, but the stock app is pretty featureless in terms of leveraging exchange features (GAL integration etc)

    • That is the reason why I’m swtich from Hotmail to Gmail because of that really…. I have been using Hotmail over 10 years and got to change to Gmail because almost no good apps can support MS Exchange

    • SimonReidy

      Possibly because of the licensing fee (no idea how high it is) which has to be paid to Microsoft to use EAS. That’s allegedly the reason Google dropped support for it (although they are also in a fierce battle with Microsoft over email, so there’s probably more to that story than meets the eye).

  • Venura Edirisinghe

    Is there any iPad version

  • sambuzzlight

    mailbox really needs to add other email clients already

  • Melan

    Can I have IMAP Email push notifications from this? (Hostgator)

  • iDon’tWantToShareMyDetails

    That looks terrible. Just imagine an HTML email how awful would look in such a small box. Not to mention this App suggests (by design) that most of your mail is not something you use everyday and the first few words are enough to “flick it”.

  • Yet another non-Exchange compatible email client. Thanks, but no thanks.