‘Big Mail’ first look: New email app attempts to make reading email enjoyable again

The Not So Big Company launched its Apple-centric multi-platform email client, Big Mail. The new email app has a stunning design, distraction-free reading, and a contact filtering tool that’s similar to Basecamp’s HEY.

Big Mail

Big Mail, first revealed in late 2020, is Phillip Caudell’s attempt to make email better. Caudell wants to change how people experience email by using behind-the-scenes decision-making and beautifully designed messages.

Big Mail uses artificial intelligence (A.I.) to categorize messages into folders like Newsletters and Purchases. The folders are referred to as “scenes” because, unlike traditional email clients, messages on Big Mail are presented differently based on their type.

Big Mail Scene
Big Mail Scene

Big Mail also has a feature that makes it easy to screen new senders. It’s called The Bouncer, and users can choose to ignore or approve future messages from new senders. If the feature sounds familiar, that’s because it is. The Bouncer is a virtual copy of The Screener found in Basecamp’s HEY email service.

Big Mail The Bouncer
Big Mail’s “The Bouncer” feature that’s similar to HEY’s “The Screener” feature

Unlike HEY, Big Mail’s email messaging service isn’t proprietary. It supports the open email standard IMAP and also Gmail. That means you can use your existing email provider and any email app you want. I tested Big Mail with my Fastmail account, and it worked perfectly. I could also switch back and forth between Fastmail, Apple Mail, and Big Mail without any issues.

Big Mail is also designed to be privacy-first. It blocks trackers by default, stores and processes all data locally, and doesn’t use third-party servers.

Big Mail isn’t for everyone, though. The app is primarily optimized for touch devices. While I enjoyed using it on my iPad and iPhone, the experience was less than ideal on macOS. Clicking to view different messages had a slight delay, navigating in and out of messages wasn’t intuitive, and interacting with keyboard shortcuts felt limited. However, all of those issues can be addressed with future updates. For now, though, I think Big Mail will be enjoyed best by consumers using touch devices, while business users that need an efficient email client may want to avoid it.

Big Mail message view
Big Mail is optimized for touch devices and focused reading

The new Apple-centric multi-platform email app is now available to download from the App Store for iOS and iPadOS and the Mac App Store for macOS. Big Mail requires a monthly or annual subscription and comes with a free trial period.

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Jon is the founder of Coywolf and the EIC and the primary author reporting for Coywolf News. He is an industry veteran with over 25 years of digital marketing and internet technologies experience. Follow @henshaw