I'm looking for an email client for Mac, with these characteristics:

Must have:

  • One that doesn't automatically mark messages as read. Only marks a message as read when I press a certain key on the keyboard.
  • Preview emails without having to open them (like modern mail clients)
  • Fast and robust

Nice to have:

  • Support for Mac's native spelling autocorrect

Does anyone have any recommendation?

I know programming, so no problem if I'll have to configure it using code files and things like that.

I have tried Thunderbird, but it is slow and buggy.

I'm using macOS Sierra.

  • What version of macOS are you currently running? Also, any success with changing the settings on the stock Mail app? There are so many clients out there that this question could easily be besieged with a plethora of opinionated answers. Cheers!
    – bjbk
    Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 22:58
  • The stock Mail app doesn't support Mark as Read with a single key press. I'm not sure there's a lot of clients covering all the four criteria - otherwise I'd be glad to hear recommendations :)) Commented Jul 2, 2017 at 19:42
  • 1
    The single keypress is going to be a tricky one as Apple's user interface guidelines (usually) require a modifier key to be pressed as well. Like ⌘+Shift+U in the case of AirMail3. Hope you find what you are looking for. Cheers
    – bjbk
    Commented Jul 2, 2017 at 19:45
  • Interesting answer here for single key shortcuts. Maybe this could help you modify your client of choice.
    – bjbk
    Commented Jul 2, 2017 at 20:34

1 Answer 1


I would suggest taking a look at Nylas Mail. It's open source, has a wealth of plugins and themes on GitHub, and is relatively "fast and robust." As for your other criteria:

  • It allows for messages to only be marked as read manually, as can be seen below:

    Manual "mark as read" preference

  • All shortcuts (including "mark as read") are completely customizable through JSON. For instance, one could have the r key mark messages as read by putting the following in one's keymap.json:

        "core:mark-as-read": "r"
  • Nylas supports a dual-pane mode (similar to Apple Mail), allowing one to preview a message without having to open it in a separate window.

Unfortunately, while Nylas does have built-in spell-check, it does not use Apple's native solution.

Nylas also boasts a host of other features, including read receipts, link tracking, message snoozing, and templated quick replies. There is a Pro version, but all of these features are in the free version (which I use).

For the record, I am not affiliated in any way with Nylas—I just like their mail client.

  • Excellent, especially now that the free version is more robust than in the past.
    – bjbk
    Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 1:55
  • Thanks, it's great. Does anyone know how to set it up so that when I press R, it marks the messages as read AND moves to the next message? Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 12:21
  • Unfortunately, you can't map core:mark-as-read and core:next-item to the same key, as next-item triggers before mark-as-read. There is the core:remove-and-next action, which archives the message and moves to the next email, but I'm not sure that's the behavior you seek.
    – aaplmath
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 20:10

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