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Refined Unibox: Perfect Social Email Client for Mac

I started using Unibox as my primary email client last year. Although I’ve written down my methods to simplify emails with Unibox, I was still in doubt whether the new approach is suitable for daily work.

A year has passed; I’m still using Unibox. I can confidently say that Unibox is a perfect email client for you who want to turn emails into conversations with people, or even companies. I no longer view the incoming emails as the series of questions, requests, or tasks. It’s more like Andrew has something to tell me, I should take a look at it.

This week Unibox has brought many updates that solidify its position as the best social email client on Mac.

The Wonder of Filters

Unibox Filters

Many email clients offer smart folders and smart rules to filter out emails. Usually you can create your own smart rules, however, Unibox chooses a simpler method to help us filter emails .

Instead of providing choices, Unibox defines the set of default filters — Unread, Starred, Address Book, and Attachments — to separate important emails from noises.

Turn on Unread filter to view only unread emails, but it won’t be necessary if you practice Inbox Zero daily. Starred filter is fairly self-explanatory — an essential filter for you who stars important emails. Attachments filter can greatly narrow the search results when you’re searching for attachments sent by your colleagues or clients.

But the most important filter is Address Book. This will become the main filter of your inbox. Turning on this filter will only show the emails from the people in your address book. This is a great way to trim down the number of emails during office hours.

One way to save your time when dealing with emails is to segment the people you know into two groups: one is the people you’re working with actively, and another group is the people you’re not. Save the contacts of the former group in your address book to use the mentioned filter effectively.

Populate Newsletters with Company Avatar

The hardest part to make Unibox looks organized and beautiful is the requirements to have a perfect address book1 — each contact has their emails consolidated, profile photo included, and actual name filled.

Unibox Company Avatar

Not all emails comes from the people in our address books. Sometimes we subscribe and receive newsletters from companies we like, and most of times we don’t save them in our address books. Unibox solves this problem by introducing avatar for company, a method to display the avatar based on the domain name2 of incoming emails. Now whenever I receive emails from Quora, Dropbox, or Tumblr, they’re no longer just a gray human head silhouette.

More Advanced Configurations

Unibox Preferences

You can now customize the notification sound. Add your own notification sound by moving the aif audio format into ~/Library/Sounds/ folder. Your custom sounds should be available in the dropdown list. I recommend Soothing Alerts if you prefer something less intrusive, or you simply put on headphones all the time.

Unibox Folder Settings

Another option you might want to check out is the Folder Settings under each account. You can limit each folder to only load message headers, message text, or including the attachments. This is a great way to limit the bandwidth usage, especially for you who often get cc’ed with attachments.

Tips: Limit all spam folders to only load message headers so no attachments are saved locally.

Wrapping Up

It’s obvious that once you use Unibox for a while, you’ll miss the powerful search feature in Gmail or Sparrow. Searching in Unibox is troublesome: search terms are not highlighted and you need to open each contact to view the email contents. This is the major dealbreaker if you rely on search a lot. In fact, there are couple of times I need to sign into Gmail searching for a particular email.

Unibox is a lightweight and an amazing contact-centric email client on Mac. If you’re not satisfied with your current email client, consider trying the full-featured Unibox for 15 days.

  1. I highly recommend CoBook to manage your contacts.

  2. Unibox told me that they use Apple Touch Icon or Favicon for domain avatars if it the domain email address doesn’t exist in Address Books or Gravatar.