Airmail Users Frustrated About Sudden Switch to Subscription-Based Pricing on iPhone and iPad [Updated]

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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 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.

    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:
    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]
  2. dannyyankou macrumors G3


    Mar 2, 2012
    Scarsdale, NY
    So not only did they take your money when you first bought it, but now they want to charge you to keep using it, and they gave you no notice before switching.

    And $27 for a mail app on the Mac? Lol what are they thinking.
  3. syklee26 macrumors 6502

    Jul 26, 2005
  4. killawat macrumors 65816

    Sep 11, 2014
    This happens time and time again especially in the games category. I've had games go from paid to free to play (losing premium features), paid to ad supported. Devs wonder why we don't want to pay up front.
  5. dumastudetto macrumors 68040

    Aug 28, 2013
    Developers need to eat. You can help feed them by paying for products and services.
  6. AppleInLVX macrumors 65816


    Jan 12, 2010
    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.
  7. NJRonbo macrumors 68020

    Jan 10, 2007
    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.
  8. Dave-Z macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2012
    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.
  9. SnowLucas macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2015
    True. But you can’t sell someone something and then take it back telling them they are actually going to have to rent it because you got the price wrong.
  10. B4U macrumors 68020


    Oct 11, 2012
    Undisclosed location
    This is like you paid for a car and then the manufacturer decided to lock your car over the air and ask you for a monthly or yearly ransom.
    The Ford family need to eat too. o_O
  11. tkukoc macrumors 65816


    Sep 16, 2014
    Wish I Was In Space!
    When developers do this late in the game it's because they've run out of ideas to enhance without throwing down telling users money will fix the issues. That's when you look elsewhere. I never use subscription based apps and I'll never develop one!
  12. tomnavratil macrumors 6502a


    Oct 2, 2013
    Czech Republic
    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.
  13. azdolan macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2017
    Dundee, Scotland
    Charging users so they can receive Push Notifications o_O
  14. NJRonbo macrumors 68020

    Jan 10, 2007
    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.
  15. yesjam macrumors 6502

    Jun 6, 2014
    Canary Mail looks good.

    What features do you need from an email client that the stock app doesn't provide?
  16. NJRonbo macrumors 68020

    Jan 10, 2007

    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.
  17. capandjudy macrumors member


    Oct 31, 2013
    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.
  18. Gudi macrumors 68030


    May 3, 2013
    Berlin, Berlin
    It’s not as if anyone added something profoundly new to SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) since the 1980s.
  19. ginkobiloba macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2007
    Yes I want to pay and own a license for my software. I just don't want to pay a monthly rent for it.
  20. tomnavratil macrumors 6502a


    Oct 2, 2013
    Czech Republic
  21. moabal macrumors regular

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

  22. jk1211 macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2018
    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.
  23. NJRonbo macrumors 68020

    Jan 10, 2007
    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!
  24. Howyalikdemapls macrumors 6502a

    Sep 2, 2013
    One could argue that knowing when you get an email is a core function of e-mail software.
  25. mfm77 macrumors member


    Mar 19, 2012
    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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