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About Mail Pilot, our upcoming release, and where we’re headed.


Any media or press inquiry can be sent to Alex Obenauer at

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Media Kit

Contains screenshots, pictures, cover images, quotes, and press releases.

Media Kit

Recent Articles

I'm bringing Mail Pilot back. Here's why.(April 11, 2018) This article is all about the series of coincidences that caused Mail Pilot to return after its multi-year hiatus.

How I launched my company without outside funding, connections, or even a track record(October 13, 2016) With lots of images, this article is about Mail Pilot's explosive start.

What is Mail Pilot?

Mail Pilot is an empathetically designed email client based on an ingenious workflow that allows you to be significantly more productive in your inbox. It allows you to view and interact with your email the way you already think about it. And with the friction gone between you and your email interface, email becomes a breeze.

Here's a brief summary of the concept that drives Mail Pilot. You can read more about it here. You can also read about it in depth on our Mail Pilot Method page .

  • All emails have tasks. So instead of "unread", Messages are "incomplete", even after you've read them.
  • When you're done with a message's tasks, check it off as "complete". Just like a to-do list, it's then automatically archived.
  • Can't complete yet? Set a Reminder. The message leaves your inbox to keep things clean, but notifies you when you need. Perfect for bills, meetings, deliveries, and other due dates.
  • When you need to get organized, collect messages in Lists. Lists contain related messages from any of your accounts with both incomplete and completed sections.
  • And for everything else, Just Set Aside. It's like clearing your desk so you can get back to a clean slate.

Mail Pilot's innovations extend far beyond this foundation, but these are the load-bearing pillars that make Mail Pilot so loved by its fans.

What is Mail Pilot 3 "Carbon Fiber"?

Mail Pilot 3 "Carbon Fiber" is the best-ever execution on the critically acclaimed methodology that Mail Pilot transformed email with when it was first unveiled.

Carbon Fiber was designed and architected with the future in mind: it’s a solid foundation that doesn’t hog your machine’s resources, syncs super fast, and lets you interact with your email without thinking about the app.

We've completely re-architected and re-engineered Mail Pilot to be highly performant, with a very light footprint on your machine.

It uses very little disk space, RAM, and CPU, but it is incredibly fast — multiple times faster at syncing your inbox than any previous Mail Pilot app.

Mail Pilot 3 will be available for a 'one-time paid' price of $19.99. During the free Public Preview beta period, testers can pre-order it for 50% off.

Pre-orders and the Public Preview open April 19.

What is Mail Pilot Discovery Edition?

We've put our vision for the future of email in an app built on top of Mail Pilot 3, which is called Mail Pilot Discovery Edition.

Here's a brief summary of the concept that drives Mail Pilot's latest reimagination of email. You can read more about it here.

  • Importances are an incredibly powerful way to focus on the messages that matter throughout the day, and process less important stuff in batch less often.
  • There are three Importances: Notify, Batch, and Ignore. Each one does something special to add a powerful boost to your day.
  • Notify is for your most critical messages that you want to see as you receive them. These are the only messages that appear in the Today view, paving the way for unprecedented focus. You receive notifications about these messages.
  • Batch is for messages you want to see regularly, but don’t need to see immediately. These messages stay silent and out of the way until you’re ready to process them in batch. These messages are grouped by sender for faster, less frequent batch reading and processing.
  • Ignore is for messages you don’t want to see on a daily basis. These messages stay silent and out of the way. If you do want to go through these messages, they are grouped by sender for faster processing.
  • Mail Pilot lets you dictate how your emails should be categorized. It starts you off with some great defaults according to your preferences, and it gives you super intuitive controls to quickly recategorize any thread, sender, domain, or type of email.
  • The Today view is a striking new interface made possible by Importances. It puts your most important messages — as defined by you — right at your fingertips. Reading, catching up, and replying is a breeze. All of your messages are shown with full previews that you can expand or quickly reply to inline.
  • The Conversations view allows you to keep track of all your conversations — ongoing and completed, even if they don’t they appear in your inbox because they don’t contain received messages yet. See which you’re waiting on others in, and which others are waiting on you in.

Discovery Edition is exclusively available to Yacht Club members.

What is the Yacht Club?

The Mail Pilot Yacht Club is for fans of Mail Pilot and great products alike.

Yacht Club members get Mail Pilot Discovery Edition, as a part of their suite of perks which you can read about here. Besides access to the Discovery Edition, it includes priority support, access to the Slack community, and members get to keep the latest numbered versions of Mail Pilot for life (as long as they've been a member for long enough to pay for the regular version of the app).

Membership to the Mail Pilot Yacht Club costs $4.99 per month. Before Discovery Edition is available, members can pre-order their first four months for 50% off ($9.99). They get the perks right away, and their four months doesn't begin until the Discovery Edition app is available.

Pre-orders open April 19.

Where did Mail Pilot come from?

Here's the story, soup to nuts. You can also read a more in depth version on our blog which includes images, but doesn't include any mention of the Mail Pilot 3 comeback.

Inception (2011)

As a senior in college, digital product designer Alex Obenauer came up with the initial idea that would become known as Mail Pilot. He was originally trying to fill pages in a design journal for a class assignment, figuring email was so difficult a problem, it would easily take up the minimum number of pages required for submission. By the third or fourth page, he was obsessed with what he had drawn: an entirely new kind of email client that allows its users to interact with and view emails the way they intuitively think about them.

Determined to make this vision a reality, Obenauer sought funding to go full-time on pursuing the idea after graduation the impending May. Weary of the distraction that pursuing a traditional investment usually incurs, given how young the ideas behind Mail Pilot were, he first sought to crowdfund Mail Pilot.

Kickstarter & First Launches (2012)

Kickstarter was a perfect fit for Mail Pilot, as it allowed Obenauer to find out if other people wanted Mail Pilot too, and if so, then the idea would be funded and a fanbase would be gathered.

The result was overwhelming. The 5 week campaign began on January 23, 2012. Over the course of the campaign, 1,623 backers pledged over $54,000, quickly exceeding the initial $35,000 goal. The campaign was a Kickstarter Staff Pick, WIRED Insider's Kickstarter of the Week, dubbed "an ingenious new email service" in David Pogue's New York Times technology column, and the highest funded closed-source software campaign to that date.

After releasing a beta for backers in June, 2012, the Mindsense team iterated over the summer with backer feedback to prepare Mail Pilot for public consumption. In September, 2012, the Mail Pilot web app became publicly available. The launch was quickly even more successful than the Kickstarter campaign had been.

Apple Launches (2013—2016)

Of the many new eyes on Mail Pilot, the most influential was Apple's. After a member of the App Store promotions team reached out to see how their team could assist Mindsense in bringing the Mail Pilot concept to iOS and macOS, the Mindsense team began the very involved work of building out a fully-native suite of Mail Pilot apps for Apple devices.

Mail Pilot eventually launched for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch. Almost every launch was featured on either the Productivity category or the App Store home page. Multiple releases were placed in the "Best New Apps" section of the App Store.

In October 2013, the Mail Pilot for Mac beta began, which when expanded into a free Public Preview in December, was downloaded over 10,000 times in the first 12 hours.

In January 2014, Mail Pilot for Mac officially launched on the Mac App Store. It became the #1 Top Paid app in the entire Mac App Store in just a few hours, eventually taking that spot in over 50 countries. It was featured on the front page of the Mac App Store with a banner, and as a Best New App. Following the 1.1 update, Macworld rated it at 4.5 / 5 mice in a print edition article, giving it the highest rating of any app in their web & communication category.

Hiatus (2016—2017)

At the beginning of 2016, Mindsense removed Mail Pilot from the app stores to focus on another product, Throttle. Despite this hiatus, the Mail Pilot fanbase remained strong, and increasingly asked for Mail Pilot to return, despite the new plethora of alternative options. Many of its fans saw something fundamental in Mail Pilot that was lacking in other offerings.

Comeback (2017—present)

In the summer of 2017, Obenauer announced that he had begun work designing and developing a new Mail Pilot offering. Eventually dubbed Mail Pilot 3 "Carbon Fiber", the new email client would ship first for Mac, and feature all of the classic advanced Mail Pilot features along with some new surprises.

In April 2018, besides opening up the Mail Pilot 3 Public Preview, another version of Mail Pilot was announced, called Discovery Edition. It casts a futuristic vision for where the email client is headed, and includes a number of innovative and unique features.

Read Obenauer's inside story of what led to Mail Pilot's "far from inevitable" return