I take it all back.
Well, maybe not all of it, but I have found a use — a thing I love about it, even — for the popular iPhone mail client Mailbox.
I wrote about Mailbox back in February, and not altogether flatteringly. And while I still think there are problems with the basic premise of the app, and I stand by my conclusion that it's not the be-all end-all of mail clients, I recently fired Mailbox up again and discovered something about how I access email.
It turns out that I don't read most of it.
You see, a huge amount of my mail is short notifications of one sort or another: someone emailing to say they're out sick, a server notifying me of a change, that sort of thing. These kinds of message can be read quickly right from the preview list of the mail client and then filed away forever. And that's something Mailbox excels at.
In the past, getting an email like this would require me to do two things: 1) open the email to mark it as read, and; 2) archive the email. But now, using Mailbox, I can do both steps in one easy swipe, because Mailbox's swipe both archives the message and marks it as read. It doesn't sound like much, but when you get a ton of this sort of email — and I certainly do — it really adds up.
I still don't really like reading longer emails, or responding to emails in Mailbox. It just feels not right somehow. Anything that requires more effort than filing away I'll do in another mail client. But for simple scanning and archiving of basic notification-type emails, Mailbox has saved me tons of time and effort. It's now the first stop in my email management workflow.