Email programs are continually evolving, adding new features and redesigning themselves to keep pace with the competition. Over time, they can find themselves bloated and over-complicated to use – after all, the main purpose of an email program is simply to read, compose and reply to email. You could, of course, collect your email through your browser using a web-based account like Gmail or Hotmail, but that’s almost too much effort too.

This is where Sparrow comes in. This program aims to give you a clean, clear and uncluttered interface for reading your mail: it displays all your mail in a single, narrow window, with all the controls you need provided as a row of buttons across the top of the window (for composing, replying, archiving and deleting) and a further row of buttons down the left-hand column for navigating and managing your inbox.

You have two options for viewing messages: you can enable the preview pane as shown in the screenshot, or double-click a message to open it in a new window if you wish to keep the interface clear and uncluttered.

Sparrow Lite is a free version of the app which is limited to working with a single Gmail account and it is supported by advertisements.

Sparrow Lite 1.6 ships with these improvements:

- POP support
- Esc on Quick Reply saves as draft
- Empty spam
- Unified inbox shows starred, sent, drafts, etc.
- Inbox zero message
- Composer: tab toggle now works for selecting the sending account
- Pull to refresh updates list of starred messages / unread messages / priority messages
- Shift-cmd-option-M toggles Extended Sidebar
- App startup time improvement


It may sport a minimalist interface, but Sparrow has all you need for streamlined email checking – only downside is that it’s currently Gmail-only.