Newton Mail, an email app for Gmail, Exchange, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail / Outlook, iCloud, Google Apps, Office 365, and IMAP services available for iOS, Android, and Mac, is getting a new inbox sorting feature today. The new Tidy Inbox feature is similar to features offered by Google’s Inbox, Gmail, Edison Mail, Microsoft Outlook, and others: it automatically sorts social updates and newsletters into separate folders outside of the main inbox. The updates enabling the feature are available for the iOS, Android, and Mac versions of the app now.
Newton says that this feature was designed to avoid hiding important machine-generated emails, such as flight reservations and other alerts, but only to sort out universally less important ones. Emails that are sorted into the lower-priority folder will not trigger notifications, and a bulk unsubscribe button will automatically unsubscribe you from unwanted newsletters. Incorrectly categorized emails can be moved back to the inbox, and vice versa, manually.
This kind of intelligent email sorting has become a very popular feature among email apps lately, as everyone is trying to cut down on the amount of notifications and distractions that clutter our inboxes. Newton is a bit late to this game and Tidy Inbox is not as powerful as the sorting systems available in other services.
I’ve been testing the new feature with two Google accounts in Newton on iOS and Android devices for the past week and it has been able to cut down on the amount of notifications I receive for new emails. But I don’t think it goes far enough. I still get pinged for emails that I instantly delete and Newton still doesn’t really know what email is important to me and what is trash. Further, while the social and newsletters are neatly organized into the low priority folders, it takes too many steps to get to them and ends up being a chore to go through them all.
Newton does do other things really well: it has very fast email search; integrations with Todoist, Evernote, and other services; and intelligent contact lookup features. But unlike many of its competitors, Newton is not free and costs $49.99 per year to use. At that cost, you really have to feel that Newton’s search and integrations are worth it to make the leap. Tidy Inbox is a good start toward bringing a more intelligent inbox to Newton, but it still has a ways to go to be truly competitive.