Due to increasing displeasure with the GMail product and interface, I now use Apple’s Mail App on my Mac as my primary email application.
(Also, I now sincerely regret ever switching to using GMail in the first place, but it’s a hard decision to revise. But that’s another story.)
Despite some issues with previous incarnations, I’ve found Apple Mail on Lion is really nice, especially after you change some of the default options.
Check Show To/CC label and Show contact photos.
This greatly aids in scanning an inbox quickly. Things addressed to you are more easily discerned.
The contact photos add a lot to the experience. A lot more than I expected, actually.
Since it’s using your Mac’s Address Book, photos will only appear for people you’ve actually added to your address book and properly set a photo for, aiding scanning. If someone is important, give them a profile photo.
It’s also a photo you choose, which is nice, and Address Book now ties into iPhoto to make it pretty easy to choose one using facial recognition when possible.
Uncheck “Display remote images in HTML messages” – you can still choose to view images but they won’t be loaded by default.
Loading random images in email is a bad idea – it opens you up to all sorts of privacy violating things. People don’t need to know the IP address and time you opened their email. (You can still choose to load images on a per message basis if you need to.)
The checked options in the “view conversations” settings make the behavior of conversations a bit more reasonable – viewing a thread marks all messages in the thread as read, viewing a thread views the whole thread, even if you archived a message or two.
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