Best iPhone and Android Mail App for MYN and 1MTD

Dec 4, 2014

[This post has been completely updated. See the new post here]

As you know, I have two primary recommendations in MYN and 1MTD for keeping e-mail under control:

  1. Convert action emails into tasks.
  2. Empty your inbox into a single folder (for speed) and use Categories in Outlook (or labels in Gmail) to group your mail by topic when needed.

There’s now an app that can do both of these on the iPhone or Android: and it’s called TouchDown, and it’s only for users with an Exchange Server (e.g. for those in a corporate environment or for individuals using Office 365 with Exchange).

I’ve been recommending TouchDown for years on Android but up to now I thought its iPhone version was too immature—but now it’s e-mail module is ready to recommend. It also comes with good Calendar and Contacts modules that sync with Exchange.

These are very unique apps. There are no other e-mail apps on iPhone or Android that can assign or view Outlook categories on smartphone mail—even Microsoft’s apps can’t do this. And very few apps can convert e-mails to tasks. So these apps are very good for MYN and 1MTD users.

Using Categories

Assigning categories is easy within both platforms. Just click the label or tag icon while in an open email (see the icon third from left in figure above) and choose a category from the scrolling list. The colors don’t always match what’s on Outlook, but the category names do get assigned. Once assigned, within seconds the same assignment shows up in your desktop copy of Outlook. And you can easily toggle any folder list view to show only e-mails with certain categories.

Converting E-mails to Tasks

On the Android app, to convert an email to a task, do this. Once an e-mail is open, tap the main menu button in the upper right corner of the TouchDown window (that button has 3 stacked lines of equal length) and you will see a number of menu choices. Second from the bottom is one labeled “Make Task.”

On the iPhone app, in the e-mail list view, slide an item to the left and that brings up a submenu.  Click the “Graduation cap” menu item (icon on the farthest right as shown in image above) and choose Make Task (thanks to Faron for pointing this out to me).

Tasks Modules

On the Android app the Tasks module is quite sophisticated and can be configured for MYN or 1MTD settings. I show how to do that here.

On the iPhone app, the Tasks module is a bit immature and it cannot be fully configured for MYN or 1MTD, but you can get some use out of it. I just wrote an article about that here.


I haven’t beat up the TouchDown iPhone e-mail app much, so if you use it and like it or hate it, report back here in the comments so others can see. By the way, the company that makes TouchDown (NitroDesk) was recently acquired by Symantec. I think that’s both good and bad. The bad part is that they have dropped a few of their other products (Mac version and Windows 8.1 versions of TouchDown), but those were quite immature anyway. The good news is it means the product is well funded, enterprise focused, and in business for the long run. And Symantec has for decades been dedicated to creating focused high-quality products.

Michael Linenberger

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22 Responses to Best iPhone and Android Mail App for MYN and 1MTD

  1. Bill Vriesema says:

    I have been using TaskTask on my iPhone to sync my tasks. Would Touchdown have advantages over using TaskTask along with the iOS email client? Would Touchdown work well with TaskTask?

  2. Deb says:

    Can you also apply categories to your tasks?

    • Michael Linenberger says:

      Deb, Yes, categories on tasks too. Michael

      • Deb says:

        I just downloaded the app and configured tasks per your previously shared instructions. But now I’m looking at the key feature – ability to assign categories…and I only see a fraction of my categories available. Is this a known issue? I also note that random colors have been applied to the categories imported (I don’t use color for my email categories…only for appointment type categories)… Not having 100% complete and accurate synch of my categories is a deal breaker…

        • Deb says:

          Ooops, nevermind, they now all appear when I’m in an actual email trying to apply the category (and no colors associated).

          Where I see the strangely shortened category list is if you hit the “settings” button at the top of the screen from the main “home” page, go to the advanced tab, then scroll to bottom…there are 20 rectangular buttons…one says “Categories” and if I click on that, a random assortment of categories pops up…not my full list…

          • Michael Linenberger says:

            Hi Deb, the Touchdown folks say that the Exchange API’s (interface code) are limited and so limit what any 3rd party software can access. For example, Microsoft’s APIs do not provide the actual colors, so Touchdown has to assign its own colors. And the APIs do not provide the complete category pick list, so Touchdown has to create a list from categories in email that are currently in your downloaded mail, or from downloaded contacts. So if you are missing a bunch, they suggested that in Outlook you create a single contact and assign all your categories to it. When that syncs into Touchdown it should allow Touchdown to build a full category pick list for future use. For further questions, contact Touchdown support. Michael

  3. David Onder says:

    The Android App Nine can do Outlook categories and also has tasks. What it doesn’t seem to be able to do is convert an email into a task. David

  4. Mark Golden says:

    The good news: with a few swipes from iPhone or iPad, you can get an email out of your inbox and into a task with a start date and importance level which instantly integrates it with your MYN task database — so regardless of where you are or what device you were using when you turned an email into a task, it will be come up everywhere else in your MYN-organized task managers (Office365 on my desk top, TaskTask on my mobile devices) at the proper time and priority.

    The bad news: the task contains only the text of the body of the email. No attachments. And no header info on the email so you can go back and find it by date/time in your “Read” file to find the attachments.

  5. Steve Ash says:

    Does TouchDown work with Addresses — i.e. non-Office365 Exchange (EAS?) or in-house Exchange Server hosted accounts?

    • Michael Linenberger says:

      Steve, the main Touchdown app will not work, but Touchdown has a separate app that does work with addresses. I forget what it is called, I think Touchdown for, or something like that. It’s on the Play store. Michael

      • Steve Ash says:

        Well I am on an iPhone.

        My understanding from your original post is that even MS’s Windows 8.1 Phone apps do not support assigning categories to emails nor converting emails to tasks. Is that correct?

        I have an Office365 E3 subscription with Exchange support so I am thinking about forwarding address email to that address as well as that from an IMAP account with mail hosted by a webhosting service provider.

        Have you provided any recommendations or guidelines — either here or in one of your books — for handling email forwarded from other accounts?

        (BTW, I have both the last 2 editions of “Total Workday Control …” — in print, Kindle and PDF — and have recommended and given copies to friends and clients.)

        • Michael Linenberger says:

          Steve, okay I see, on the iPhone. The only other compatible app I know of for iOS is a Tasks/Calendar app called Pocked Informant, but it does not fully configure for MYN. The iPhone version is written up on my blog elsewhere as I recall. Regarding Windows 8 phones, the mail app on that does not support assigning categories or converting emails to tasks. Regarding forwarding from to Exchange, no, I have no recommendations. I think it should work for received mail. The issue with forwarding of course is when you reply to a forwarded message it comes from a different email address. I think otherwise it should work. I assume you are forwarding emails to Exchange so you can manage tasks on your iPhone? The best Exchange iPhone app for *tasks* for MYN is TaskTask. Search my blog for writeup. So, unfortunately, if you want to you optimize all the MYN functions on the iPhone you need to use a bunch of different apps. I don’t bother, I just use the standard Mail app on the iPhone for e-mail and don’t try to convert emails to tasks or apply categories on the iPhone. I do that back at my laptop at end of day. And I use TaskTask for tasks on my iPhone when on the move. Michael

  6. Ricardo says:

    Just downloaded Touchdown for iOS. Cannot convert emails to tasks. When swiping left only option that appears is delete, showing a trashcan icon on a red sqaure. I do not see any “Graduation Cap” icon…

    • Michael Linenberger says:

      Ricardo, since my post 6 months ago, Symantec completely changed the UI of the iOS Touchdown software. The new method to convert emails to tasks is:
      1- open the email
      2- tap the three dot menu icon in the upper right
      3- tap Mark
      4- tap Task
      5- fill in task form that is presented. Tap Add at bottom.

  7. mark fllaming says:

    It looks like the recent android version of Touchdown no longer allows assignment of categories. The icons you describe do not appear. Am I missing something?

    Grateful in advance. Desperate for an android email client that works with outlook categories.


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