Why I Use Mimestream for Gmail

Originally published at: Why I Use Mimestream for Gmail - TidBITS

The Gmail-specific email app Mimestream has emerged from a multi-year public beta with a 1.0 version that’s familiar, fast, and fluid. Adam Engst explains why he has chosen Mimestream as his preferred email client.

heh! i didn’t complain cuz i didn’t realise such a thing should be possible. d’uh! took that defaults write out of your article and immediately applied it. thanks for that.

Hi, Adam. Do you know if Mimestream would now completely stop working if one chose not to subscribe?

I presume that yes, after the 14-day free trial, it would stop working. However, since it has essentially no local data, you’d be able to pick up just where you left off in the Gmail Web interface.

Surprisingly, Mailplane continues to work, and I am loathe to abandon it as long as it works. I assume Minestream would let me continue to collect my pop3 accounts into my Gmail account, right?

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Yeah, love me some Mailplane. I have tried Mimestream and I like it, particularly with this detailed and helpful tutorial, @ace but I do wonder what the difference is between Mailplane and Mimestream as far as working with Google, meaning why did API changes “do in” the former and not the latter?

Maybe Mailplane needs to go subscription in order to afford to “keep up”?

As best I can tell – and please correct me if I’m wrong – Mimestream will not implement Gmail’s customizable “Priority Inbox” with “Inbox Sections”. That function provides up to four parts whose contents can be designated by star, important, labels, or “everything else”. I find that simply invaluable.

Mimestream does use Gmail’s predefined (and as best I can tell, unchangeable) categories – but I find those have inadequate specificity to be useful.

I appreciate the benefits of a mail application vs. browser. But Web Catalog offers preprogrammed individual apps that provide the full function of the web app. The first 5 apps are free – after that there is a one-time charge of $50. I have paid that. I understand the need for subscription fees and have paid Microsoft $100 per year for a decade or more for the Office suite of five+ apps of which I use three almost daily. But $50 per year for a single app whose function can be replicated in multiple ways seems high to me.



P.S. The app I really want to drop my subscription for is Adobe Acrobat Pro, now at $254 per year. I’ll be starting another thread to see if folks have robust, less expensive alternatives.

Except, of course, x-eudora-settings were URLs that could be clicked – it was so helpful when supporting someone else using Eudora to be able to send one or more settings that they could click and apply instead of directing them how to do it. I used to get more joy than is reasonable out of that system! (Of course, the lack of this is not Mimestream’s fault. Given MacOS has a standard defaults system, it would be a bad idea for them to ignore it and build their own!)

Does Mimestream not offer a column view? I still far prefer this old-style mailbox view because it’s much faster for me to parse (and can easily include various small bits of information like tags and size that can be useful). As someone who can’t stand a viewer pane for email, I have plenty of horizontal space! This is the kind of thing I’m talking about:

Use column layout in Mail on Mac [Apple User Guide]

I’ve been on the beta up until now. It was okay for me but didn’t see much over the Apple Mail app or Outlook or Gmail on the web, besides I have multiple email accounts that would preclude Mimestream.

I love it too. For me the reasons are:

  • elegant smooth ui. Pleasure to look at and to use
  • mail.app was getting slow, and it’s search unreliable for me with a pretty large mail box

But there are a few pretty big misses, which as far as I can tell are not priorities to them:

  • no plain text email format
  • attachments are displayed weirdly. Not inline, but just as one or more icons in the header
  • incomplete integration with macOS, e.g. automatically detecting possible appointments in the text and ability to add directly to calendar, same for names

I switched to mimestream for a month a few months ago and then abandoned it till 1.0. Now I am back because my annoyance with mail.app grew more and more and I’ve checked all the others out and mimestream is head and shoulders above the rest.

I don’t know, but Mimestream and Mailplane are very different in the sense that Mailplane is mostly a Mac app wrapper around the Gmail Web interface. It’s sort of a dedicated site-specific browser.

I suspect the Priority Inbox sections don’t really make sense within the Mimestream interface. However, as you can see in my screenshots, I’m sort of doing that already, with Important as the top label, followed by Inbox (which is sort of Important + Everything Else), then Starred. If I had a specific label to pull out, I could put it there too. So I don’t think Mimestream is a lot different.

Totally agreed! I loved those links.

Not in the sense you’re showing. Mimestream can hide the viewing pane, but then you end up with two columns, one for labels and the other for messages. The second one can be quite wide, though, resulting in something like this:

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Can I use my own domain? Right now, I have a custom domain that Netsol manages… email comes along with their hosting package (which I need much less of than I used to need). Not sure how it might work using Mimestream… if at all.

If you’re using your own domain with Gmail now, yes, you can use it with Mimestream. I have no problem sending all my mail from my tidbits.com address, even though everything is actually gmail.com behind the scenes.

No, I’m not using my domain with gmail, I’m using it through my hosting package provider. One benefit I have there is a ton of custom addresses (like paul@mydomain, george@my domain, amazon@mydomain). Would I have to set up multiple gmail addresses?

Sorryn to ask you these questions, is there anyone at Minestream I can talk too? Oh, I have a ton of filters and a ton of mailboxes (applemail), can I bring this structure and import into Mimestream?

Mimestream only works with Gmail, so it won’t work with your email host. Sorry!

I see Mailmate gets no mention here, probably as it is not Gmail specific. However, it does have a section in the manual which may interest those who wish to use “regular” IMAP email in addition to Gmail. It allows you to get pretty geeky with it if you so wish. Look here (MailMate) for the info about Gmail.
Disclaimer: I still use Gmail via Mailplane as my main email client. I manage my non-google email accounts by simply setting them up to forward to specific Gmail accounts. So far so good.


MailMate is awesome, but it’s beauty is utilitarian, not aesthetic. Lots of people turn up their noses for that reason, it seems. However, even MailMate essentially “fakes” Gmail; it doesn’t give you the same flexibility as a properly Gmail-aware client. But people who like the look of Mimestream ought to look at MailMate if they aren’t using Gmail and they want a “traditional” power tool email client.

As to forwarding addresses, doesn’t Workspace let you define aliases for a domain? IIRC you don’t need a mailbox just to have an alias address, even when your domain is hosted by Google. It even supported catch-all. Perhaps things changed since I last tried it, when it was called “Apps”, a decade (or less) ago.

I see comparison of Mimestream with MailMate… Any comparison or experiences with the KwikForGmail Mac App GMail client… pros/cons?

A post was split to a new topic: Web-based email client that supports multiple accounts

Did you mean Kiwi for Gmail?