Blog Post

Mailplane: If Gmail and OS X Had a Love Child


I’ve been a hardcore Gmail user since the early days, when beta really meant the email service was in its infancy. It’s perfect for managing my email but there are two big things Gmail can’t do that seriously hinder my daily workflow: There’s no easy way to switch between Gmail accounts, and no way to drag and drop a attachments into emails.

To get around these two issues, I use Mailplane. It’s a fantastic application that replicates the Gmail interface right on your desktop and integrates so well with your Mac that you’ll never want to access Gmail from the web again.


Mailplane runs on Mac OS X 10.4 or higher, and requires 15 MB of hard disk space. It takes all of about two minutes to install and configure, depending on how many Gmail accounts you’d like it to access. Once you provide your Gmail login information — it’s stored locally, and safely, on your machine — a screen opens that looks exactly like the Gmail interface you’re used to, but with an additional toolbar at the top to let you access Mac-specific functions.


Keyboard shortcuts still work, as do the Gmail option buttons (Archive, Report Spam, Delete, etc.).

The Toolbar

Mailplane’s toolbar adds additional, if redundant, New, Reply, Forward, Send, and Discard buttons. I don’t use those, but the five other buttons on this toolbar make Mailplane worth every MB of disk space it uses.

Screenshot – While composing an email, click Screenshot and choose which onscreen image you want to capture: a window, a particular screen, or a specific selection. You can also opt to hide Mailplane while capturing your screenshot. Once snapped, the .png will be automatically attached to your email.

Email – This button accesses your Mac’s Address Book so you can easily look up contacts while crafting an email. Or, simply click Email, choose a contact, and begin typing a new message.

Media – This is my favorite feature of Mailplane. Click this button to access all media files stored on your computer. Find files by name, or by their thumbnail image. Select your file, decide what size you want it to be (small for a faster download, medium, or large for better quality), and the file is automatically attached to your outgoing email.

Download – Click on Download to reveal in Finder any attachments you’ve received via email. Any photos or .zip files you receive are automatically opened in iPhoto.

Accounts – Use this button to access all of your Gmail or Google Apps for domain accounts via fast-switching. Since Mailplane keeps you logged in to all of your Gmail accounts until you say otherwise, simply click the button to open a drawer on right side of the window for a list of all accounts and how many unread emails are in each inbox.

Additional Goodies

If Mailplane’s extended Gmail functionality ended there, it would still be well worth the download. It still has a whole lot more to offer, though. If you leave Mailplane in your dock, you can just drag and drop any file right onto the icon and a blank email opens with the file already attached. You can also get notified of new mail via a sound, a numeric display on the dock’s icon, or directly through the Growl notification system.

There’s even a really cool plugin that lets you email pictures right from iPhoto with a single click, and OmniFocus users will love the plugin that integrates Mailplane with the popular task manager.

I’ve been an avid user of Mailplane for a long time and have had no serious issues with stability, hanging, or freezing. The app does hang on occasion, but it typically occurs when I’m asking it to do too much — like compose a new email while attaching a large file to another.

Mailplane’s developer is very responsive and usually answers emails within a day or so. For a really rapid response for support or questions, the forums are an excellent place to start.

Gmail is nearly perfect these days, especially with all the tweaks and new features they’ve been rolling out lately. I used to use Gmail via and POP because I wanted to access my mail offline and have an email client that’s tightly integrated with my OS. Now that Gmail is available offline, Mailplane is a perfect way for me to access my accounts any time I want without jumping through POP mail hoops or giving up Mac integration.

Mailplane has a 30-day trial period before registration is required. A single license costs $24.95, but you can license up to 5 additional Macs with the Family Option for $15 more. Quantity and educational discounts are also available.

22 Responses to “Mailplane: If Gmail and OS X Had a Love Child”

  1. There are a ton of people on here complaining about $25. Developers need to make a living too. Many of the people that donate software are high school or college kids. If you want quality than you need paid software. The developer is an avid supporter and if you really like the app than I think $25 is a fair price. You spend more than that on a meal at a chain restaurant typically.

  2. Try Gmail in offline mode.
    Have to try it out yet on Mac but its official(from google) and roots out the need to spend 25$ on mailplane.

    I like mailplane but hate its price tag!

    Gmail in offline mode is like Outlook or should I say the original mailplane?

    You can try it by selecting ‘labs’ link next to settings in gmail. Accept and install!
    And say goodbye to Mailplane!. (I really hate them for asking 25$…Its unfair)

  3. Just setup mailplane and I am loving it. It is definitely worth the money. I now use gmail for both personal and work mail and it makes like so easy. I have never been so organised. Thankyou

  4. @Justin yes I agree that Drag and Drop attachments alone is worth the $24 bucks.

    BTW, Ruben, the creator of Mailplane left a comment in my blog explaining how to remove ADs from Gmail in Mailplane. It’s worth a look for an even better experience.

  5. @Gaston – It’s worth the $24. I’ve been using MailPlane since the very beginning of the beta. It’s awesome. The drag and drop attachments and iPhone integration are so with the nominal cost.

  6. I tried it for a month and loved it. But I’m not sure if I wanna spend the $24. I wrote about my experience and how I’m using Fluid App to embed Gmail and get almost the same results.

    Though what sucks is that I don’t have the Drag and Drop attachments. That’s the killer feature!

    But in Fluid I’ve got ad free Gmail thanks to Greasemonkey. So it’s got it’s good stuff too.

  7. I love MailPlane too. Drag and drop attachments is fantastic. So are good, Mac friendly keyboard shortcuts, like command-N for a new message.

    It doesn’t work great with Multiple Inboxes right now, but I’m sure that will be fixed soon. The last time I wondered about something, the author fixed it within hours.

  8. Just configure Gmail for IMAP and then point towards this and tick the button to view all mail offline! Perfect-you get Gmail functions but within + RSS feeds etc.

  9. Sherman


    If it was only basically a gmail specific web browser, it wouldn’t be worth $25, you’re right. But as the review points out, and as anyone can try with the demo, it is MUCH more than that. The value added does make it worth $25.