Mailbox Is Terrible

I admit, I bought into the hype the first time 'round. I got on the waiting list. I got excited. And then I even used Mailbox for a while. Then I stopped. But then I found a use for it again. For a while I was happy to use Mailbox for certain things, certain use-cases. And then it broke.

After the release of iOS7, Mailbox's notifications got wonky. Notifications were sort of key to my use of the app so it became a non-starter; I stopped using Mailbox. Again.

Yesterday, Dropbox announced a new Autoswipe feature in Mailbox alongside a new Android client, as well as a Mac desktop app in beta. So, like a chump, I decided to take the iOS Mailbox client for yet another spin, hoping they would have corrected some of the issues on this momentous launch day and that Autoswipe might prove useful. What I found was the same app I had installed months ago, with no new features that I could discern and a whole host of terrible bugs.

Evidence of Mailbox's problems

Evidence of Mailbox's problems

The first bug I encountered was in the Settings section, where setting up Snoozes is just plain broken (see the screenshot above). Also, swiping to archive occasionally had a strange, jerky behavior that did not instill confidence. App Badges don't work reliably. And, finally, the most egregious bug, shaking the phone to undo an Archive action simply stopped working for no apparent reason.

Moreover, the promised Autoswipe feature was nowhere to be found. The Verge said this about manually activating the new feature:

Inbox hero: inside Mailbox's master plan to make email suck less
"If you want to manually archive any thread for good before waiting on Mailbox’s suggestion, you can open it up, and then tap and hold on the archive button."

But try as I might, tapping and holding the Archive button (or any of the buttons, for that matter) simply does nothing. Having seen no evidence of Autoswipe in my version of Mailbox, I can't say one way or the other if this flagship feature even exists in my version of the app. Maybe it's not available on iOS yet, but this is not self-evident from any of the press information I've come across, and if that is indeed the case, I can only say that once again Mailbox fails to come anywhere close to living up to its hype and is a major disappointment.

Mailbox offers a tempting proposition: a new way to access and manage Email. This is something that has immense appeal to me, and to many others. But their implementation seems to be hopelessly broken. There is a sense that they're not really taking email all that seriously, and I feel like a guinea pig. There was a brief moment when the app worked well for me, but that moment ended, and since then the app has only gotten worse.

Mailbox is terrible — one of the worst apps I've ever used — and it seems to be staying that way for the foreseeable future.