Every family has a few black sheep; members of the wayward generation who stake their own claim to independence, family standards be damned. No, I’m a solid member of the Rocchio clan, and consider it an honor to make my parents proud.
I’m also a member of Apple’s family of satisfied customers, but this is where my black sheep status begins to go public.
I’m coming out.
Yes, today I confess that I seldom use Safari or Mail on Mac, iPhone, or iPad. Yet, I never use anything from Google, including search. So, no Chrome, no Gmail, no Google Maps.
Two of the apps we use the most, as Apple customers, are Safari and Mail. Well, let me tell you, there are alternatives. Very good alternatives.
Here are two that I recommend to Mac*, iPhone, and iPad users.
Spark – this free email application does not have all the bells and whistles you will find in Apple’s own Mail app; not even the feature level in Microsoft’s Outlook.
What Spark does is make email easier to manage. Settings synchronize between devices and it handles multiple accounts with ease. Each version is designed for each app. Spark on the Mac is traditional. Spark on iPhone is efficient. Spark on iPad uses multi-window options.
Spark has a Smart Inbox so you can see (or, not) threaded messages with ease. It features customizable email actions to make management easier. There’s even an option to store messages sent to one account into a different account.
I don’t know why Spark is free but I’m not complaining.
Firefox – Safari and Chrome need competition and the only truly competitive browser left is Firefox. Fortunately, owner Mozilla seems truly dedicated and committed to making Firefox more private, more secure, faster and easier to use than Apple’s popular browser, or Google’s behemoth (all other browsers of note are based upon Google’s Chromium project, which spawned Chrome).
Firefox is the browser you want if time and money are valuable. Ad and tracker blocking is built-in. So is password management. So is privacy– including browser history. Use Firefox to prevent Google and Facebook from tracking your online whereabouts. There’s even a built-in function to share large files online.
Firefox is the fastest browser I have ever used, and with built-in tracker blockers, it means you save time and bandwidth and that means money.
It’s hard to beat free and better yet that’s what you get with Firefox and Spark. Highly recommended.
*Caveats – Firefox is better on the Mac than Firefox on iOS and iPadOS. Spark does not work with SpamSieve to block spam.