Sparrow: Brand new Mail client for the Mac

by Milind Alvares

Sparrow: Brand new Mail client for the Mac

by Milind Alvares on October 4, 2010

Post image for Sparrow: Brand new Mail client for the Mac

What do we have here? Sparrow, a brand new mail client for OS X; minimal, quick, in a fresh new UI for Mail. The user interface of course is straight out of Tweetie for Mac, something that cannot be unseen. Tall vertical window, with rounded avatars for your email accounts, and destinations beneath them. Click on one and it slides into view, bringing its list of messages in the right window pane.

Sparrow is Gmail only, for now. They plan on adding support later, but you can’t go beyond adding a Google Accounts. When you launch and set up your accounts, it starts pulling down all your messages for offline storage, which could take a while depending on your internet connection. The list of messages looks extremely similar to what you see on iOS, down to the blue dots, styling, and the indicator for a conversation view. In fact, the UI is so similar it doesn’t even have a scrollbar, a fact very apparent to me since I had to use a Mighty Mouse with a stuck scrollball at the time. Yes, I tried pulling down on the messages.

Viewing emails involves either double-clicking to view each conversation in its own window, or to forfeit the tall window by bringing up the message pane to the right. I would kill to have this kind of user interface for Mail on the iPad. The conversation view reminds you that this is a Gmail affair, pulling from the same colour palette, which to me looks a bit odd on the desktop.

Sparrow is very simple, but it does most of the things you would need from a mail client frontend. It’s not as powerful as Mail or Postbox, but it’s powerful enough that you will be notified of your email, look at it on your desktop in the right perspective, and send out a reply without having to leave the window. There are some things I don’t like about the app. It’s a little slow sometimes because of the needless animations between actions. Fugly icon, too, which again is largely styled along the looks of the Tweetie icon.

But Sparrow is in beta right now, but a public one with everyone can check out. If you’re amused by the thought of moving from Mail app, and you live on Gmail, this might just be something worth checking out.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }


You mentioned that it downloads you gmail data locally. Does that mean it might be an option for getting a local backup of gmail? (there are ways to do it now, but I’ve not seen one I liked)

If so it might be worth it just for that, if you’re the type who likes to have backups.



Although the UI has been pilfered somewhat bluntly and needs a lot of polish, the overall concept has great potential. I’m excited for the development of this app.


John Saddington

wow. i’m trying this out for serious.



Wouw ! Very nice and clean !



Looks good, especially the icon! One man’s meat is another man’s poisson.



It’s like someone decided to port an iPad app to OSX. Since most apps on the iOS platform are minimal, this port gets the same label.

Regardless, it’s nice having another Mail Client and I have high hopes for future releases.



Nice app, but the standard signatur annoys me and it seems I can not change it :( Hope they will introduce more settings.


Grant Buell

You can change the signature. Open preferences and double-click on your account.


Dan Perez

Needs MobileMe access then I’ll think about it.



No go for me until they allow you to use custom From headers or non-gmail SMTP so I can send from my other accounts.



really refreshing loookin mail client but a little limited at the moment in terms of showing folders/tags for gmail. Also lac of preferences to change thinkgs like, the list of emails do not need to be displayed using so much space.

has the potential to be a winner if it gets a few things right as they update this product.



I too have a dodgy Might Mouse with an unreliable scroll ball. The good news is that Sparrow does let you click and scroll. Just hover over the right edge of the pane and a drag bar appears! Yay!



but can I respond FROM non gmail accounts that are being filtered through gmail?



They have forced users to do the job of testers and now taking money for it. Buggy mail application


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