I’ve said it before, checking email can turn into an hour-long chore. I’m constantly looking for ways to reduce how much time I spend in my inboxes—clicking, tapping, reading, and deleting messages. In the last few months, iOS apps like Mail Pilot, Mailbox, and Triage have trumped Apple’s default Mail app on my iOS devices. So much so that I barely open it anymore.
Though Triage is still my favorite iOS mail client, the recently updated Cloze (Free) brings smart email and social network filtering to the iPhone and iPad that might be even more useful. The developers of Cloze know that most of us probably ignore and archive more than 80% of the messages we receive in our inboxes and social networks. So Cloze attempts to filter our inboxes and social network feeds for us, based on who and what is most important. The filtering is similar to using Apple’s smart mailboxes and rules to manage email.
How It Works
When you register an account with Cloze and grant it access to your email and social network accounts, it uses its algorithms to go through your email history and social feeds to see what should matter to you most.
It filters for key people (friends, co-workers, and professional connections) whom you’ve had interactions with. It recognizes other email like adverts, subscriptions, newsletters and announcements then filters them into a Bulk Mail list. Other individuals you don’t interact with get put into the Other Mail list.
As part of its assessment and filtering, Cloze assigns your contacts a rating based on a number of factors, such as the frequency of interaction you’ve had with your individual contacts. The more you interact with your contacts, the higher they go on the list.
Cloze supports Gmail, iCloud and MobileMe, Microsoft Exchange and Outlook Web Access, AOL and any other email provider with IMAP support. It also supports Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. You can add more than one account by the same provider, though I get a failed authentication when I try to add a second iCloud email account.
Cloze includes handy instructions about changing settings, and which finger gestures to use for archiving, replying, and saving emails and messages. Similar to Mail Pilot and Mailbox, you basically swipe a message to the left to respond, save, or archive it.
You can bulk archive a group of messages by pinching with two fingers on the list. This is great, though I wish there were an option to disable the confirmation pop-up, which means yet another tap.
You can access all email and messages by tapping the sidebar menu, where all the lists are located. The Key People list is where you’ll probably spend most of your time checking and browsing. You want to make sure the right people are in that list.
You can also create custom lists that, as an example, filter messages from your co-workers. The custom setup allows you to specify what type of messages you want added to the list–namely mail and direct messages, or social network posts. When you need to edit that list, press and hold your finger down on the list tab until the edit options re-appear.
Cloze throws all emails and social network messages together, but if you prefer, you can turn off either Social or Mail content. Personally I received too many social messages from contacts, so I’ve chosen to mute most social feeds by some individual contacts, and view them instead in a dedicated Twitter or Google+ application.
While Cloze does all the filtering for you, the developers understand that users would want some control over ratings, messages, and content lists. When you first start using the app, you might want to tap on the Settings button in the sidebar and make choices about how you want Cloze to archive mail and what type of notifications you want, as well as add additional email and social network accounts.
There’s also a handy Help tab for reviewing the features of Cloze, for the app does indeed include several of them that are not so obvious.
You can also tap and hold on the Key People, Profile and Custom lists to enable and disable the type of content you want Cloze to filter for. Messages can be automatically archived after reply, and you can like and favorite messages with a single tap.
Additionally, it’s very useful that Cloze also has built-in browser support, so links can be opened within the app. Social messages can also be created and responded to within Cloze.
There are a lot of features and options in Cloze, so many that some users may find them a little overwhelming. You’ll definitely need to spend some up-front setup time in the app to make it filter content the way you want, but once your done the app serves its purpose well – and for free, too.
Download: Cloze for iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad (Free)
Let us know what you think of Cloze in the comments, below.