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Summary:

A few months ago, I looked at email client Postbox. I found it an interesting enough app then, but a new release for the Mac brings even more feature additions. If you passed on Postbox earlier, now’s the time to give it a second look.

A few months ago, I looked at email client Postbox, with the official launch of its Mac and Windows versions. I found it an interesting enough app then, but a new release for the Mac brings even more feature additions and enhancements. If you passed on Postbox earlier, now’s the time to give it a second look.

The new version, released to coincide with Macworld earlier this month, includes a number of new features that really up the ante in terms of Mac integration. It’s a significant enough release that I’m giving Postbox another go as my primary email client, since I still have an emotionally draining relationship with Apple Mail and would love to kick that habit once and for all.

Address Book

Maybe most useful among the new features, at least for those coming over from Mail, and most definitely for MobileMe subscribers, is the new Address Book app integration. By default, the new 1.1.1 release of Postbox for Mac will use your Address Book contacts instead of creating its own database. You can opt to turn this feature off if for some reason you’d rather keep things separate. Any new contacts you create from within Postbox will also create new Address Book cards for those individuals, so it works both ways.

Spotlight Search

Also important for people making the jump from Mail is complete Spotlight access to all of your Postbox-stored mail. Message bodies, header info and attachment names will all now show up as hits when searching using Spotlight (as long as it’s enabled in Postbox. You have to turn this feature on, since it’s off by default). Spotlight integration is also a two-way street, since you can now right-click on any highlighted word in any email and select “Search in Spotlight” from the contextual menu to run a search.

iCal

iCal integration is now a two-way street in this latest release, too. Meeting notifications will automatically be sent in the background, and choosing “Mail Event” from the right-click menu in iCal should open a new Postbox message, so long as you’ve set the app as your default email client. Mail.app may still open too, but if this happens, Postbox has a quick fix to ensure things work properly the next time:

  • Within the Finder, right-click on the iCal icon and then select Show Package Contents.
  • Navigate to the “Contents” folder, then the “Resources” folder. Right-click on the folder called “Scripts” and select “Get Info.”
  • Expand the “Sharing & Permissions” box and click the Lock icon in the lower right-hand corner to unlock this setting. Change any permissions that are listed as “Read Only” to “Read & Write.”
  • Restart Postbox.

iPhoto

Something I always really liked about Postbox was its easy to use, built-in content filters that would allow you to see all your images, links and attachments at a glance with a single mouse click. The Postbox developerss have taken that functionality a step further with this new version, allowing you to export any image attachments in your mailbox directly to iPhoto. You’ll need to go through the somewhat lengthy process of completely indexing your inbox before you can do this, but it’s a really nice little feature that’s well worth the wait, especially if you have a lot of shutter-happy relatives and friends, as I do.

Many Other Improvements

There’s lots of little additions and under the hood improvements in version 1.1.1 of Postbox, too. One of the better ones is the ability to drag any icon to the Postbox icon in the dock and have it automatically create a new email with that file as an attachment. It’s a small thing, but it’s also indicative of the kinds of refinements put into this version aimed at making it more than a match for its native Apple competitor, and for other popular options like Mozilla Thunderbird, too. Postbox is free to try for 30 days, so give it a shot, especially if you’re a Mac user who’s had enough of Mail.

Are you a Postbox user? What do you think of the new version?

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  1. I think till it provides native connectivity to an Exchange Server (not through IMAP, POP3) it may not ever get the user base it wishes to desire. I have always been concerned around size management of these applications since the email sizes tend to grow large in todays world with a lot of attachments.

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