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
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:

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.

Tag: Airmail

Top Rated Comments

B4U Avatar
25 months ago
Developers need to eat. You can help feed them by paying for products and services.
Huh?
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
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SnowLucas Avatar
25 months ago
Developers need to eat. You can help feed them by paying for products and services.
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.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dave-Z Avatar
25 months ago
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.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AppleInLVX Avatar
25 months ago
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.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dannyyankou Avatar
25 months ago
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.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NJRonbo Avatar
25 months ago
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.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Says iOS Picture-in-Picture Coming to All US Users

Friday June 18, 2021 9:41 am PDT by
After a long wait, YouTube for iOS is officially gaining picture-in-picture support, allowing all users, non-premium and premium subscribers, to close the YouTube app and continue watching their video in a small pop-up window. In a statement to MacRumors, YouTube says that picture-in-picture is currently rolling out to all premium subscribers on iOS and that a larger rollout to all US iOS...
Top Stories 63 Feature

Top Stories: Beats Studio Buds Announced, Apple Watch Series 7 Rumors, and More

Saturday June 19, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
The Apple news cycle started to move beyond WWDC this week, but that doesn't mean there still wasn't a lot to talk about, led by the official debut of the much-leaked Beats Studio Buds that might give us a hint of what to expect for the second-generation AirPods Pro. With no hardware announcements at WWDC, we also took a look at when we might finally see the long-rumored redesigned MacBook...
ios wifi settings

iOS Bug Causes Specific Network Name to Disable Wi-Fi on iPhones

Sunday June 20, 2021 4:15 am PDT by
A wireless network naming bug has been discovered in iOS that effectively disables an iPhone's ability to connect to Wi-Fi. Security researcher Carl Schou found that after joining a Wi-Fi network with the name "%p%s%s%s%s%n" his iPhone's Wi-Fi functionality was left "permanently disabled." Changing a hotspot's SSID did nothing to correct the problem, with even a reboot failing to make a...
maxresdefault

Video: 20 Annoyances Apple Fixed in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey

Friday June 18, 2021 11:36 am PDT by
With iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, Apple is adding several quality of life improvements, which are designed to address some of the complaints that people have had with these operating systems for years now. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. In our latest YouTube video, we're highlighting some of our favorite "fix" features that address long-running problems in iOS and...
16 inch macbook pro m2 render

When Can We Expect the Redesigned MacBook Pros Now?

Wednesday June 16, 2021 7:11 am PDT by
With no sign of redesigned MacBook Pro models at this year's WWDC, when can customers expect the much-anticipated new models to launch? A number of reports, including investor notes from Morgan Stanley and Wedbush analysts, claimed that new MacBook Pro models would be coming during this year's WWDC. This did not happen, much to the disappointment of MacBook Pro fans, who have been...
space gray magic accessories trio

Apple Stops Selling Magic Accessories in Space Gray

Friday June 18, 2021 9:16 am PDT by
Apple this week stopped selling its Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, Magic Mouse 2, and Magic Trackpad 2 accessories for the Mac in a Space Gray color, around three months after discontinuing the iMac Pro, which also came in Space Gray. Last month, Apple listed the Space Gray accessories as available while supplies last, and the company has now removed the product pages from its website...
m1 v intel thumb

Intel Processor Market Share May Fall to New Low Next Year Due to Apple Silicon

Friday June 18, 2021 2:06 am PDT by
Intel may see its market share fall to a new low next year, in large part thanks to Apple's decision to move away from using Intel processors in its Mac computers and instead use Apple silicon. Apple announced last year that it would embark on a two-year-long journey to transition all of its Mac computers, both desktops, and laptops, to use its own in-house processors. Apple is expected to...
3nm apple silicon feature

Apple Supplier TSMC Readies 3nm Chip Production for Second Half of 2022

Friday June 18, 2021 6:59 am PDT by
Apple supplier TSMC is preparing to produce 3nm chips in the second half of 2022, and in the coming months, the supplier will begin production of 4nm chips, according to a new report from DigiTimes. Apple had previously booked the initial capacity of TSMC's 4nm chip production for future Macs and more recently ordered TSMC to begin production of the A15 chip for the upcoming iPhone 13,...
2021 back t0 school

Apple Launches 2021 Back to School Promotion: Free AirPods With Eligible Mac or iPad Purchase

Thursday June 17, 2021 4:56 am PDT by
Apple today launched its seasonal back-to-school sale for the upcoming school year in the United States and Canada, offering students free AirPods alongside purchases of select Macs and iPad models. Similar to last year's promotion, this year's offer includes free AirPods alongside the purchase of a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, the new 24-inch iMac, the Mac Pro, Mac mini, and the new M1-powered ...
applecare lower prices

Apple Lowers Prices of AppleCare+ Plans for M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

Thursday June 17, 2021 7:33 am PDT by
Apple today lowered the prices of AppleCare+ plans for MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro models equipped with the M1 chip. Coverage offered by the plans, as well as accidental damage fees, appear to remain unchanged. In the United States, AppleCare+ for the MacBook Air now costs $199, down from $249. The new price applies to both M1 and Intel-based MacBook Air models, although Apple no...