MailHub saves time interacting with Mail

MailHub is an add-on to Apple Mail. It is a plug-in that is meant to speed up your interaction with Mail, management of messages, in short: the performance of your Inbox. Initially I didn’t see the difference between MailHub and Apple Mail’s Rules, but after having used it for a couple of weeks, the difference is crystal clear: MailHub makes Mail a lot more efficient than you can ever make it by using Rules only. MailHub actually saves a lot of time and aggravation.

MailHub is an extra toolbar in Mail’s main window. It sits there, silent, watching you taking actions on messages and learning from them. It doesn’t alter any files Mail works with — I have yet to encounter slow-downs or glitches. MailHub is developed by a British team of developers based in London.

MailHub's toolbar can be modified with modifier keys

The software, once installed, will quickly start suggesting filing folders based on an indexing system and from watching your actions. It will also allow you to delete messages from the Inbox. Big deal, you might say, but it actually is, because MailHub enables you to file and delete messages by sender or by thread — especially the last feature is extremely powerful and a true time saver.

MailHub also allows you to create mailboxes on the fly — as you file your messages — and set reminders and actions using messages as the centre point of the actions itself. For example, when setting a reminder, a dialogue will slide open, containing the title and the body of the message, and a whole slew of buttons allowing you to quickly choose how the reminder should show up in iCal. You can of course edit both title and body of the reminder as well.

The MailHub Reminder dialogue sliding window

If that would be all you can do with MailHub it would already be enough to make time spent in Mail a lot more efficient, but it isn’t. You can also automatically file sent messages alongside those that you received and tag them with an arrow, and a colour or print them in italics.

MailHub doesn’t force you to manage everything in Mail. Mailboxes can be ignored on a per-mailbox basis, you can set an account as the default so that when you create mailboxes, it can happen automatically against the default account only. And all of MailHub’s features can be overridden, even by using a modifier key.

Speaking of keys: the whole MailHub system can be controlled from the keyboard so you won’t even have to use the mouse.

Why is all of this saving you more time than setting up rules? That’s what I asked myself too when I first started using MailHub. The answer is simple: rules are not flexible and they can’t identify a thread and take actions on the messages in the thread, all at once. Rules that file messages also file them when the message is received, dumping them immediately and directly in the target mailbox. In order to read what they are about, you’ll have to take an extra trip to the filing mailbox, perhaps only to see it’s spam that got filed in there.

MailHub isn’t perfect though. Some actions are best taken on individual messages, so it’s good MailHub never gets in your way and you can do as much ‘the old way’ as you like. The point is that MailHub’s features allow for a more flexible automation than Rules and the reminder system built into Mail. MailHub saves trips to mailboxes or folders beyond the Inbox and beyond the message itself when setting a reminder. It will even make Mail’s thread system better by associating (and copying or moving) sent messages with messages you receive.

While MailHub is absolutely recommended as it is, I personally can’t wait to see what the developer is going to add next in terms of new features. Filing and deleting will always be on my list of most sought after functionality, but I won’t say no to colour-coding and other nifty stuff that makes it easier — and above all faster — to see what messages are about and whether I should bother to read them. The one thing I would try to improve upon is the icon…

MailHub costs approx. 15.00 Euros.

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