Millions of people use email clients every day but don’t actually know what they are. In this post we will learn what they are, and their pros and cons.
What Are They?
Email clients are programs that can fetch, display, and synchronize all types of email accounts simultaneously.
Whether the emails come from Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, AOL or any other email provider, most email clients allow users to get all their separate email accounts in one place. This means if a user has a Gmail and a Yahoo account, they can be viewed in the same email client, and sometimes in the same combined inbox.
This is a helpful organizational tool, especially on devices like smart phones and tablets, where using the browser for emails isn’t the idea option. Using one centralized app allows for much easier access.
Types of Email Clients
Email clients exist on computers as well as phones and tablets.
On computers some of the more common ones are:
- Mac Mail
- Windows Mail
- Kiwi for Gmail
On Cell Phones and Tablets some of the more common ones are:
- Apple Mail
- Brand based Android Email applications
The main benefits of these programs is the ease of use/access. Having access to every email account with the click of one button is quite convenient. The interface provided does not change regardless of where the email is registered, so reading, composing, attaching, and sending offers the same functionality for all of your accounts. In some cases users prefer the user interface over the company’s native one.
They also keep users from having to go through the login process on each specific website to view their mail in a browser, which can be scattered if using multiple accounts.
The main drawbacks are the potential loss of some functionality that the native email interface might offer. To elaborate, the main thing to understand is that email clients are made to generically handle all types of emails.
Native websites and apps, for example viewing Gmail on Gmail.com, can offer more functionality than certain email clients can offer. Sometimes it is required to use the website and for some actions. One example of this is deleting large numbers of emails. Some email client interfaces don’t have as many options for sorting, or selecting large amounts of emails that count against the accounts storage. For example, if a user has their Gmail in the Apple Mail app and needs to clear out storage space on the account it would be much easier for a user to do that on Gmail.com instead of the Apple Mail app. The native website will offer much better options to do so. Sometimes, even if the email client can achieve a certain task, the interface is worse than the native one.
Another issue is compatibility of some email providers with third party email clients. Google in particular does not like old, less secure third party email apps and simply won’t let users log into them. Out of date devices with preinstalled email clients sometimes just won’t work. Some companies, such as AOL, may also complicate things by requiring app specific passwords. To do this, users need to log into their account in a browser, and generate a password specifically for the email client. Comcast, as another example, requires users to go into their security settings and check off “third party app access.”
Hopefully this gives a good understanding of the benefits and downsides to using email clients.
Additionally, if you have specific questions, or if our terminology isn’t clear, please use our contact form to send us a message. Thank you!