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6 min read

The best Gmail alternatives in 2023

By Toby Peterson · March 6, 2023
Hero image with the logos of the best Gmail alternatives

Gmail is practically synonymous with email. And not just because it's owned by Google (though that helps)—it's also a highly competent email app. But it's far from the only highly competent email app out there. So if you've been using Gmail just because it's Gmail, it might be worth seeing if something else suits you better.

We've done extensive testing on apps for basically every device, and we've also conducted head-to-head comparisons of Gmail with a handful of other email apps. The result is the following list of Gmail alternatives, so you can decide which one is best for your inbox.

And hey, if the answer is stick with Gmail, at least you know.

4 alternatives to Gmail 

  • Apple Mail for iPhone and Mac users

  • ProtonMail for security

  • Microsoft Outlook for Microsoft users

  • Yahoo Mail for storage

  • Other Gmail alternatives

A Gmail alternative for iPhone and Mac users

Apple Mail

Apple Mail, our pick for the best email app for iPhone

The main difference between Gmail and Apple Mail is that, while Gmail gives you a full email service (it actually hosts your email), Apple Mail provides you with only an email client (where you read your email). Gmail as an email service is client-agnostic: you can access it via Gmail's web app, iOS app, or Android app—or you can use a different client altogether, like Microsoft Outlook. Apple Mail is just an app, and it's only available on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. That last one is important though: Gmail doesn't have a dedicated desktop app (you have to use the web app).

Apple Mail allows you to use practically any email service with it, including Gmail. Its features, which include VIP Inbox, undo send, customized notifications, and email reminders, are available whether you use iCloud Mail, Outlook, Gmail, or another client. That's worth keeping in mind if you use multiple accounts with different services. With Apple Mail, you'll be able to use one interface to access them all.  

Apple Mail works best on an Apple device. Not only will the navigation feel more seamless on iOS or macOS, but Apple Mail will also integrate with your system notifications. If you're doing most of your work on an Apple device, then Apple Mail can be a great option. But keep in mind that if you're using Gmail for your email service, some of its most attractive features—like inbox sorting and smart replies—are only available through the Gmail apps. You'll also need to use those clients to integrate with Calendar, Keep, Meet, Docs, and Google's other apps.

Read more: Gmail vs. Apple Mail

A Gmail alternative for secure email


A screenshot of ProtonMail, our pick for the best iPhone email app for security and privacy

If the thought of a perfect stranger rummaging through your mailbox puts you on edge, you might want to check out ProtonMail. It's an email service that's built for security and privacy. Based in Switzerland, ProtonMail is subject to much stricter privacy laws than Gmail, which falls under U.S. regulations. Unlike Gmail, ProtonMail won't ask for any personal information during signup, and it won't track your IP or metadata. 

On top of this, ProtonMail's encryption is much more robust than Gmail's. While Google keeps the encryption keys to your data, nobody at ProtonMail has that sort of access. That's not to suggest that your Gmail inbox is an open book, but your data can be accessed by Google's algorithms (and, of course, whomever Google decides to grant access to). ProtonMail also provides you with some optional, James Bond-level security features like password-protected emails and emails that self-destruct (really they just self-delete, but self-destruct sounds cooler). 

All that security does come with a few drawbacks to consider. ProtonMail's free plan limits you to 150 emails a day (there go your plans to spam Klondike to bring back the Choco Taco). You also get just 500MB of storage, with only three folders and labels to manage your otherwise-locked-down data. You can upgrade for more storage and messaging for $5/month, but that won't fix ProtonMail's less user-friendly interface, which includes blocks on all the images in your incoming emails (to stop folks from tracking your open rates). Still, if privacy is your priority, ProtonMail is definitely your best bet.

Read more: Gmail vs. ProtonMail

A Gmail alternative for Microsoft users

Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook for Android, our pick for the best Android calendar app for Exchange users and Microsoft loyalists

Both Outlook and Gmail are reliable, multi-functional email services used by millions, so it's not surprising that they'd have more than a few things in common. Both offer free options that provide plenty of functionality. Both offer paid business plans for expanded capabilities and storage. Both allow you to import contacts from other providers. And both interfaces can be customized to your liking. In addition, in both Gmail and Outlook, you'll find predictive text options, reminders, email scheduling, and message templates. 

None of those similarities is going to help you make a decision on which one best fits your needs, though. If storage is a concern for you, Outlook may be the way to go. While both offer 15GB of storage space for free, your Gmail storage is also shared with Google Drive and Google Photos, so it may disappear more quickly. When it comes to user interfaces on the free version, Gmail's advertising is far subtler than Outlook's, which plasters ads onto your screen rather than tucking them into your tabs. Gmail also offers a more robust search function (it is Google, after all) as well as a more reliable spam blocker. 

If you live in Microsoft 365 24/7, though, Outlook is the way to go. That's because Gmail and Outlook integrate with different software suites (Microsoft 365 for Outlook, Google Workspace for Gmail). Considering which software you use most can help point you toward one service or the other.

Read more: Gmail vs. Outlook

A Gmail alternative for more storage

Yahoo Mail

The Yahoo iPhone app, our pick for the best email app for email management and quick finds

Another option worth considering is Yahoo Mail. If that's surprising to you, there are roughly 200 million monthly Yahoo Mail users who would like a word. That many people must mean that Yahoo's doing something right. 

Let's start with how they're similar. Both Gmail and Yahoo are modern email clients that provide you with an intuitive web app, as well as a mobile app that works well on either iOS or Android. Both inboxes are easy to organize, and both allow you to easily opt out of those annoying marketing emails.

Yahoo departs from Gmail, though, in a number of key ways. In addition to suffering from the same obnoxious ad placements as Outlook, Yahoo's integration with other apps tends to fall short. The Yahoo version of Google Workspace is a lackluster calendar, a basic notes app, and a contacts app that, while functional, can't really compete with all the Google offerings. Gmail also offers scheduled sending and smart replies, while Yahoo doesn't. Finally, Yahoo Mail has been the victim of several high-profile hacking attacks. Gmail offers more peace of mind when it comes to security. 

So why go with Yahoo? In addition to Yahoo's adequate, if not jaw-dropping, features, I'd answer this question with one word: storage. Instead of Gmail's measly 15 GB, which is likely to be eaten up by Google Drive and Google Photos, Yahoo Mail offers a whopping 1 TB of email storage. If you like to keep every email you've ever gotten without being prompted to fork out a monthly fee to boost your available space, then Yahoo is your go-to.

Read more: Gmail vs. Yahoo

Are there other Gmail alternatives?

You bet. Those are just some of the more commonly-compared-to-Gmail apps available. For other alternatives to Gmail, take a look at our roundups for the best email apps across all the platforms:

And remember, you can still use Gmail as an email service (meaning, you'd have an @gmail.com account) for almost any email app you choose—the app will just change where you get those emails.

What's the best Gmail alternative?

Choosing the right email app really comes down to clarifying your priorities. What do you most want out of an email client? Security? Storage? Design? App integration? Each of these services will deliver each of these features, just to varying degrees and with varying results.

If you're still on the fence, you might think about downloading a bunch of them to see which option works best. Seeing the same email in a bunch of different clients over the course of a week can give you a really solid idea of which approach you like the best.

Related reading:

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