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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Airmail users awoke today to find out that the popular email app has switched to a subscription-based pricing model on the iPhone and iPad.

airmail-ios-app.jpg

Airmail for iOS is now free to download on the App Store, but push notifications and multi-account support have become premium features priced at $2.99 per month or $9.99 per year in the United States. The app was previously available for a one-time, upfront cost of $4.99 with all features unlocked.

In response to this story, Airmail informed MacRumors that users who purchased the app still have access to multiple accounts but not push notifications, which it describes "a side service of the app." Those who purchased the app within the last four months will also have up to a four-month grace period.

Unsurprisingly, many Airmail users have voiced their displeasure about this on Twitter and Reddit after already paying $4.99, especially since developer Bloop apparently failed to provide users with any advanced notice about the change.

Push notifications now require a subscription. - Airmail (@airmailer) July 15, 2019
.@airmailer #airmail if it bothers you that email client you paid for wants you to pay subscription for *existing* features, try @SparkMailApp . Just tried it out and it feels great!And for the record, I would drop money for new features but not for that. You lost me. - Vito Meznaric (@meznaricnet) July 15, 2019
And so came an end to using #Airmail. In my opinion it is bad practice to suddenly remove a feature and make it paid one (on an paid app). Especially when the feature itself didnt really work well from the beginning. IAP and subscriptions should be used for new func not existing. pic.twitter.com/UbGKaoAp8c - Paul Peelen (@ppeelen) July 15, 2019
@airmailer Airmail now requires a subscription without any prior notification and from an app I've already paid for? What are you thinking? Bye bye Airmail! #airmail - Marcel (@uit_drenthe) July 15, 2019

At face value, the change appears to violate Apple's App Store Review Guidelines, which state "if you are changing your existing app to a subscription-based business model, you should not take away the primary functionality existing users have already paid for." We've reached out to Airmail and Apple for comment.

Airmail for iOS won an Apple Design Award at WWDC 2017. The app has a straightforward, minimalistic design with a single unified "All Inboxes" view for quick email management. If you swipe from the left, more options emerge, including access to folders for to-do lists, snoozed emails, and attachments.

In the meantime, other popular third-party email apps for iOS include Microsoft Outlook, Spark, Polymail, and Canary Mail.

Bloop also recently raised the price of Airmail for Mac from $9.99 to $26.99.

Update: In a statement provided to MacRumors, Airmail developer Leonardo Chiantini said the change was made due to "increasing backend service expenses" and argued that making push notifications a subscriber-only feature does not affect the app's core functionality.

Chiantini added that existing users will continue to have access to multiple email accounts. His full response follows:
Airmail for iOS is now free and new users can use the app with a single account and no push notifications.

Customers who purchased the app can still have access to multiple accounts but not push notifications which, is a side service of the app and is not preventing the use of the app's core functionality.

We do understand users frustration, the decision was made to keep the business sustainable as we face increasing backend service expenses.

Customers who purchased the app in the last 4 months will be granted a grace period of premium subscription up to 4 months (depending on the purchase date).
Update 2: Airmail also says it is not using system push notifications of CloudKit or other operating system features, but its own server infrastructure.

Article Link: Airmail Users Frustrated About Sudden Switch to Subscription-Based Pricing on iPhone and iPad [Updated]
 
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Reactions: Apple Fritter

AppleInLVX

macrumors 65816
Jan 12, 2010
1,125
573
Yet another cup of coffee a month to add to the growing vat. I ought to buy a plot in India--might pay for all the subscriptions developers say are absolutely essential to remain in business that haven't been needed up to now.

More and more, I use stock apps. At least I know they're not going to go this way, and I've been surprised at how well they work. No, not 100% of what others do--but 80-90, and I get to enjoy my coffee.
 
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NJRonbo

macrumors 68030
Jan 10, 2007
2,639
548
Airmail has always been a horrible, buggy email client. For several years since its launch, the developers have been treating their users like beta testers more than supplying a finished product.

I have been a beta tester of theirs for several years and I was really disgusted with the attitude of their developers. Not very nice people to deal with when you ask questions and suggest enhancements.

They have taken away some great product features, and when users complained about the deletion on their forums, have failed to put them back. One such feature is smart direction email deletion. Apple Mail is great with this feature that it automatically detects which direction you want to delete messages in the queue. Airmail had this feature, got rid of it, and refused to put it back.

I stopped using Airmail about two years ago after seeing how rude their developers were to their beta testers and their unwillingness to listen to their users about features.

Hope this puts a nail in the coffin for their software.
 
Comment

Dave-Z

macrumors 6502a
Jun 26, 2012
858
1,411
Developers need to eat. You can help feed them by paying for products and services.

But they shouldn't get to change the goal posts. I've bought full versions of games that automatically updated to needing in-app
purchases and lost what I had previously paid for.

If you want recurring payment, that's fine; do it from the start or grandfather existing users.
 
Comment

NJRonbo

macrumors 68030
Jan 10, 2007
2,639
548
I would also suggest using Apple Mail, as I do, with the addition of MailButler.

Their free plug-in adds avatars to the message queue, which is really neat.

If you pay the $80 per year subscription you get all sorts of additional perks.
 
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yesjam

macrumors 6502
Jun 6, 2014
254
1,140
For anyone like me who needs more than the stock Mail client can provide, have a look at Canary Mail, seems like a solid alternative worth considering. Outlook has been solid as well lately to be honest with Microsoft doing a good job on macOS/iOS.

Canary Mail looks good.

What features do you need from an email client that the stock app doesn't provide?
 
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NJRonbo

macrumors 68030
Jan 10, 2007
2,639
548
Canary Mail looks good.

What features do you need from an email client that the stock app doesn't provide?


For me, it's avatars in the message list so, at a glance, I know who is sending me a message.

Also, delayed send. Just in case I forgot something or have regret over an email reply.

Finally, a confirmed receipt is always great.
 
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capandjudy

macrumors member
Oct 31, 2013
85
25
Huntington, WV
Airmail only gets a 3 from user reviews in the App Store already which I assume is due to ongoing bugs. The subscription issue really wouldn’t bother me if the app really performed at least as well as iOS Mail.
 
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moabal

macrumors 6502
Jun 22, 2010
495
1,921
Does this subscription model/push thing affect users who bought Airmail 3 for Mac? I am a bit confused.

Thanks
 
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1144557

Cancelled
Sep 13, 2018
925
2,411
And history has shown people wont pay monthly for email- the death of Newton showed that. And then they came back, people paid, and no app update in 5 months. A sucker born every day I guess

Airmail was always terribly buggy, a beta product at best (I would know I've been a beta tester since the beginning and recently stopped bothering and deleted it as no one listens to your feedback anyway to fix serious bugs)

And now you want to charge monthly for a product that is still really buggy? Lol good luck there. Airmail will be dead in under a year.


Yes, devs need to eat. They should think of their business model before release then. Or leave existing users where they are at and only new users are subject to a subscription model. Pulling the rug out is bad business, period.
 
Comment

NJRonbo

macrumors 68030
Jan 10, 2007
2,639
548
And history has shown people wont pay monthly for email- the death of Newton showed that. And then they came back, people paid, and no app update in 4 months.

Airmail was always terribly buggy, a beta product at best (I would know I've been a beta tester since the beginning and recently stopped bothering and deleted it as no one listens to your feedback anyway to fix serious bugs)

And now you want to charge monthly for a product that is still really buggy? Lol good luck there. Airmail will be dead in under a year.

Exactly what I said above.

The developers are horrible software builders and just horrible people in general.

Airmail has always been "a work in progress" as opposed to a polished email client.

Good riddance to them!
 
Comment

mfm77

macrumors member
Mar 19, 2012
91
55
NJ
Not that I approve of their tactics (I stopped using that bug-infested app months ago), but if you’re changing your pricing structure, you at least should introduce a revamped app with improved UI, features, etc. This, however, smacks of a pure money-grab and, considering the number of bugs already present, is not worth it at all. I also can confirm that as a beta tester, the betas rarely, if ever, note the specific improvements in a new beta. Pretty awful all around.
 
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