Taskbox: Emails & Task Lists Rolled Into One

When it comes to email, you’re typically in one of two camps. For some, it’s infrequently used to communicate with a few people and doesn’t play much of a role in their lives. On the flipside, you have people whose lives are consumed by emails, mostly because of work. If you’re in the latter camp, finding the right email app for your iPhone is an extremely important undertaking.

Taskbox is a third-party email app that’s designed to “help you clear your inbox and prioritize your follow up list in under 60 seconds,” as stated in the app’s description in the App Store. If you’re buried underneath a figurative mountain of emails, join us after the jump to see if Taskbox can live up to such a bold statement.

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Email Client Support

In order for an email app to be useful, it needs to support your preferred email clients. Currently, Taskbox offers support for Gmail, AOL, iCloud and Yahoo. For all you Exchange users, fret not, as the developers at Taskbox are currently beta testing Exchange support, meaning it should be available in the not too distant future.

Compared to most third-party email apps, Taskbox offers support for a great deal of clients.

Compared to most third-party email apps, Taskbox offers support for a great deal of clients.

Navigating the App

When you’ve set up the app by adding an account, you’ll begin in the Inbox page, which is a unified inbox that displays emails for all your accounts. A button in the upper-left opens a hidden menu to access individual accounts, settings and task lists (more on this in a bit), and you can create a new email by tapping a button in the upper right.

A number count on the profile image indicates threaded messages.

A number count on the profile image indicates threaded messages.

Within settings you can change options for individual accounts, such as the signature, how often you receive notifications (not available for Yahoo currently) and remove the account. In addition, you can connect to LinkedIn and Facebook, which are used to display profiles images for your contacts. Overall, I found navigating between each area within the app to be smooth and the app’s design to be simple, if not a tad on the dull side.

There are a number of simple and advanced features to tweak in Taskbox.

There are a number of simple and advanced features to tweak in Taskbox.

Swipe Your Emails

While Taskbox was first to the App Store, one of the app’s main UI features will be very familiar for those using the recently hyped email app, Mailbox. The feature I’m referring to is swiping an email to perform actions. A short swipe right adds an email to your task list, while a full swipe right marks the email as a completed task — even if it wasn’t on your task list to begin with. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a short swipe left will archive the email, and a full swipe left will, instead, delete the email.

Short swipe right to add to your task list and short swipe left to archive.

Short swipe right to add to your task list and short swipe left to archive.

The swiping action definitely takes a bit of practice. If you make a mistake Taskbox has you covered, as an undo option can be tapped to bring the email back into your inbox. It’s a well designed feature, and is implemented better than Mailbox’s shake to undo feature in my opinion. A feature that I really miss as a full-time Mailbox user is the ability to mark email as spam, which is another option in Taskbox that’s available after you’ve archived or deleted an email.

The ability to undo and mark emails as spam are terrific features.

The ability to undo and mark emails as spam are terrific features.

Baked-In Task Management

After using Taskbox as my primary email app for a few weeks, it’s clear that the developers really envisioned the app to be more than a tool to consume email. Taskbox, as the name might imply, is built on the idea that email should be actionable (not a term I love, but very fitting in this case). When you perform the short swipe right on an email, it sends the message to your My Tasks list (accessed in the hidden menu).

Setting up a task's details is simple and quick to perform.

Setting up a task’s details is simple and quick to perform.

Performing this action alone simply compiles a list of tasks, which is helpful but not very intuitive. After all, if you have a list of 100 tasks, finding the highest priority emails can easily be lost in the shuffle. When you’re viewing an email, tap the More icon (looks like an ellipsis) to pull up the Details page. From here, you can set a task’s priority, due date, and even assigned someone else to the task.

Assigning someone else to a task will automatically move the email to the Assigned list.

The Big Picture

With so much going on within Taskbox, it’s helpful to have a big picture overview all your emails and tasks, which you can find in the Dashboard. There are three lists within the Dashboard that summarize the app’s Inbox, My Tasks and Assigned areas. For Inbox, each account is listed with a count of your total and unread emails for each. My Tasks displays a table of priority levels with a count for associated tasks that are on time or overdue. Assigned is set up similarly to My Tasks, but a list of assignees is displayed instead of priority levels.

The Dashboard provides a quick overview of your emails and tasks.

The Dashboard provides a quick overview of your emails and tasks.

Tapping any of the items listed, such as an email account, priority level or assignee, will transition you to a corresponding area. Now, I don’t have as many tasks and emails to manage as most folks that I know, but I can certainly appreciate how helpful of a feature Dashboard can be. However, it would be even more beneficial if the app utilized its tags (or labels for Gmail users) feature, which can be added when viewing an email/task, to sort the Dashboard by a specific tag.

The Bottom Line

If managing your email is a burden and you’re finding yourself getting lost in the shuffle, Taskbox should certainly be taken into consideration. The app offers a number of great features, like the ability to make emails a task, which can then be monitored from the Dashboard. A few areas I would love to see Taskbox to improve involves tags and mass email actions. If I add a tag to a task, I want the ability to view all tasks associated with said tag.

When I added my Yahoo! account for the purposes of researching the app, I had a rather large number of emails waiting for me since it’s an account I use rarely. In Mailbox, I’m able to perform a mass action, such as archiving or deleting, to remove multiple emails. I was unable to find such a feature in Taskbox, and was left to remove each email one-by-one — a rather tedious task.

Taskbox currently costs $2.99 in the App Store, which I know is a deal breaker for individuals with a philosophy of not paying for apps. If that is the case, I highly recommend downloading Mailbox (free in the App Store, but only works with Gmail accounts) and giving it a trial run. If you like the overall concept of Mailbox, but find it lacking in task management (you can’t set priority levels or assign tasks to others), then I advise splurging a few shekels for Taskbox.


Summary

Manage and create task lists with your emails.

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