For several months now I have been using an awesome e-mail app called Sparrow, as opposed to Apple Mail that comes with Mac OS X. I loved Sparrow because of its minimalistic design, it’s clean interface and awesome features. Well, that is until the spam started showing up in my mailboxes. Being a former user of Apple Mail, I never had to deal much with spam – it did the filtering and removal of spam automatically and I was left with the task of reading mail that was important to me. Sparrow came along and I loved the features it had and decided to give this fledgling app a chance. All was well and good until the spam showed up and kept coming. So, like any good user, I turned to the company who made Sparrow and asked politely for some smart spam control like Apple Mail has. Their response was that they use Google’s spam filtering and therefore it’s not needed in the application.


I don’t use GMail as my primary e-mail account. What about those of us on .mac or .me accounts? That really turned me off big time! But I kept using their product in the hopes enough people would raise hell that they’d add some awesome spam filtering capability. Apparently I am the only person using Sparrow who gets spam. *sigh* I made several more attempts to request this feature but kept being blown off.

Then along comes a really nice app called Postbox. I downloaded the demo, tried it out for a few days and well, just liked Sparrow better. Postbox was a lot like Apple Mail, it didn’t have the beautiful minimal design that Sparrow had. But it did have smart spam filtering which you could train just like in Apple Mail. That appealed to me, but Sparrow called me back and I resumed using it. That is until today.

I woke up this morning and 85% of my e-mail was spam. I got so frustrated I quit Sparrow and purchased Postbox. All day today it has been peaceful and quiet in my e-mail app, spam is being re-routed into the spam folder and every once and a while something slips by and I simply say – hey, this is spam. Then it has learned it and I don’t have to worry about it.

As much as I love Sparrow, I have to say I hate the fact it has no spam filtering for non-GMail users. That outweighs anything good about the application. So sorrowfully yet happily I say bye-bye Sparrow. Maybe if your company gets some brains and realizes the world doesn’t revolve around GMail, I might come back. For now I am a Postbox user.

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  1. I have also just started using Sparrow. I must say that the app as a whole is really nice especially when using multiple email accounts.

    I am using Google Apps for business on most of my accounts and guess what? Google’s spam control is not that great either. I keep getting the same email from the same spammer over and over in spite of me actually marking it a spam continually.

    Agreed, if Sparrow had some intelligent spam filtering – it would truly be the best mail app by far.

  2. You could, I suppose, redirect your mail to a gmail account and allow the gmail spam filter to work like that. Heck you can even redirect it again and again till you get back to your original account. I did that once, worked well. Only problem is when you register for something you may have to dig the spam folder for the arrival email since spam works so well! But maybe not worth the trouble.

    Only thing I don’t like about Postbox is that it doesn’t seem to have a menubar feature that tells me when I have an email as it arrives. I’d like to know that I don’t have to check my email every now and again cos I will be notified when it arrives… who knows, maybe there is an addon for this? Then maybe I’ll reconsider.

    Also what is the CPU usage for Postbox? Sparrow on my macbook with 2g ram takes up about 100mb and is on the top five of my memory consumer app list. Wonder where Postbox lies?

    1. Well I have actually dumped Postbox as well because it has it’s own flaws. I have been beta testing Mac OS 10.8 Mountain Lion and I am going back to using Apple Mail. It’s significantly nicer and faster. But I am sure if the Sparrow people get around to integrating spam control, I might go back. For now it’s Apple Mail, which works great.

  3. Why not use both, actually? Leave Apple Mail running in the background, it will filter spam for you, but read mail using Sparrow? Not as elegant as Sparrow itself doing the filtering, but it works for me …

  4. Found this post today. Thanks for the heads up on both Sparrow and Postbox. I’ve tried Postbox for the 30 day eval and didn’t like it much. It was a lot like Mail, but I like the speed of Sparrow. Just wish it had spam filtering.

    For now, I am using Vincent’s suggestion and leaving Mail open in the background and using Sparrow to read mail. It’s a bit awkward, but it catches the spam for my non-Gmail IMAP account.

  5. I had the same problem. After upgrading my MacOS version, my Mail app became terrible and I had to try other mail clients. I tried Postbox but its search engine did not work very well. Postbox was not able to finish the indexing of my messages (after many hours).

    I like Sparrow and it has a good search engine. However, I also have the problems with spam filtering. Do you know any improvement of this condition?

    Thank you

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