From Gmail to FastMail

Late last week — due to nothing wrong with Google’s services — I turned off my Google Apps for Business account and switched my work e-mail over to FastMail. The reasons for switching weren’t that Gmail had done anything wrong, but that I valued the better OS integration of Apple Mail more than the features of Gmail, and that Apple Mail really sucks as a Gmail client.

Why do I think it sucks? Well, the fact that labels in Gmail aren’t really directly comparable to mailboxes in Mail is annoying, but not show-stopping if you stay away from the web interface. The biggest reason was that archiving works differently on Mail for iOS and Mac with a Gmail account, and does so in an incompatible way. On iOS archiving means always sending messages to “All Mail” — even if the label is hidden — and on Mac it means always sending it to a mailbox named “Archive”.

And so — after doing some research and finding out what other people were using — I switched to FastMail. If sending calendar invites with a Google account worked on iOS, I’d probably miss Google calendar, but I’d already been using an iCloud calendar because of that anyway. Archiving also still doesn’t work right between the two platforms: for some reason Mail on iOS can only send messages to an “Archive” mailbox if you’re using an iCloud account — which is insane — but there’s nothing I can do except hope it’s fixed in iOS 7.

One thing that FastMail makes a lot easier is automatic forwarding to another address. So, for example, I use Tender for my support, which has a feature that lets me forward support mail send to a specific address to Tender in order to create support tickets. In Google, I either had to route it through an account, or set up a Group that forwarded to it, either of which was a pain. In FastMail I tell it [email protected] = [email protected],” and it works. In general I feel like a lot of these most common tasks are easier with FastMail, because it doesn’t seem so focused on the idea that I’m managing a really large business, rather than a small one with a few e-mail accounts.

If you’re happy with Google, stick with it. If you’re not, FastMail is working out really well for me so far.