MailDeck review: manage your emails in a whole new style

MailDeck 3

Since there was a rush of new email clients in the app store over the past year, it has been difficult to find new ones that offer something special. I’ve settled into my favorites, but I’m always looking for interesting ways to read the dozens of messages I receive every day.

MailDeck is a third-party email client for iPhone and iPad that brings a new visual aesthetic to the genre. It includes many of the features we’ve grown accustomed to, but has a unique look that will turn your head. We’ve got an app review of MailDeck for you today.


The design is what makes MailDeck stand out. Once logged in, your email inbox will be populated as a set of cards in the Deck view. Each email is displayed with a rectangular card that has the email subject as the headline with a picture (when applicable) of the sender on the right side of the card.

Tap an email to read it, or make use of one of the various actions in the settings list next to it. You can move an email to a folder by dragging and dropping, mark it as read or unread, trash it, archive it, or link it to another conversation.

Sections are listed at the top of the screen, which include Folders, Sent Mail, Deleted Messages, Drafts, and Spam. Tap on one to see items in that section. When you select the Folder section, your email folders are listed in a row across the top of the page. Tap the folder you wish to access to see more.

Emails can be sorted by date, sender, read, starred, or ones with attachments. You can also view attachments, emails marked as tasks, and contacts in a separate window.

For even more variety, you can switch from the Deck view to a traditional list view, or read your emails one-by-one in the Preview mode, which will give you a truncated version of the content of each message. Tap the message to read the entire thing.

In the settings section, you can change the background color, select whether you want to hear a sound when sending and receiving emails, and sort emails into predefined folders.

MailDeck 2

App Use

The first thing you will need to do is log in. Enter your email account credentials from Gmail, Yahoo, iCloud,, and more. If you use Microsoft Exchange, you can connect an account after purchasing an upgrade ($4.99 per year, or $9.99 one-time), which unlocks Exchange, remove advertisements, and unlock the ability to change the default signature. You can add multiple accounts and view them as a unified inbox. The app currently does not support ActiveSync or POP email accounts.

Once logged in, you will be asked to select your preferences. Type in the name you wish to be seen on outgoing messages and type in the nickname so you will know which inbox is for which account.

Then, go to the main screen to start working through your emails. In Deck view, tap a card to read an email. Or, if you know without reading what you want to do with it, you can access actions from the panel to the right of each message. Mark it as read, trash it, create a task for it, view it in context with related contacts and conversation, or archive it. You can also edit multiple emails in batches. Tap “Batch Edit” to select a number of messages and then mark them as read, move then to a folder, or throw them away.

In Preview mode, you’ll see a portion of an email with pictures included as a pop out window. Swipe from left to right to switch from one email to another. Tap it to read the entire message. You can also set a task, archive, trash, or mark the email as read from this view.

In List mode, you can mark an email as read or drag it onto a folder. Tap an email to read it and see more organizing options.

Tap the pencil icon in the upper left corner of the screen to write a new email. This window is similar to traditional message editing windows. Type the address, subject, and email. Tap “preview” to see what it will look like before you send it.

Here, you will notice that the email includes “Sent from MailDeck” in the signature line. You can’t remove that stamp without paying for the upgrade. If you do, you’ll be able to add your own signature, including images.

MailDeck 1

The Good

This email client looks great. It has a very fun, relaxing vibe to it. Email can be so tedious sometimes. However, the bright colors and simple card deck layout makes reading emails much more interesting.

I like being able to switch between views so I can read emails in a traditional way, or preview larger portions.

The Bad

Unfortunately, this app is very rough around the edges. It crashed on me multiple times and never automatically loaded new content. I had to pull down to refresh in order for new emails to appear.

The app loads very slowly and was always approximately three minutes slower than my normal email client. In the capacity that I work, three minutes makes a huge difference.

The notification banner does not show you anything except the account an email was sent to. The developers say that it is so you can keep your email activities private. I’d rather have the options of seeing content or not seeing content. It is important to me to know who sent me a message before I spend time checking it. I don’t have to worry about privacy.

If you want to drag and drop an email into a folder, you have to run through the list, horizontally. The app needs some interface tweaking so that productivity actions can be more efficient. I’d like to be able to label my emails, for example.


MailDeck is free to download. You can unlock additional features, like ad removal, signature line changes, and Exchange access for $4.99 per year, or $9.99 for one-time. Although the per-year concept seems somewhat greedy, $9.99 is the going price for a good quality email client that includes Exchange connectivity. So, that is not an unreasonable amount. However, since this app feels like it was launched as a beta, it doesn’t exactly live up to a good quality name.


MailDeck seems like the perfect type of account for someone who doesn’t check his or her email 40 times per day, like I do. In its current state, it is better suited for the casual emailer. The interface is beautiful, but lacking efficient productivity. You can try it for free, and I definitely recommend it. However, I’d postpone upgrading to the full features until some updates have been made. This app is available on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. You can download it in the App Store today.

Related Apps

My current favorite email client is Boxer, though I’ve seen quite a few competitors that have nearly made me switch. For more, check out our selections of:

Do you like the look of MailDeck? Are you going to try it out? Let us know in the comments below.