Which iOS email apps support automation / Shortcuts / URL schemes / x-callback-url?

I’m curious to find out which iOS email applications have support for Shortcuts, if not directly, then through URL schemes or x-callback-url support. I’ve spent some time googling, but have found very little information and only 2 third-party email apps with support:

1. Mail.app. (Obviously)

2. Spark by Readdle (Source: https://helpspot.readdle.com/spark/index.php?pg=kb.page&id=791)

3. Gmail (Source: https://onetapless.com/blog/gmail-and-x-callback-url)

  • googlegmail://co?subject=<subject text>&body=<body text>

  • googlegmail-x-callback://x-callback-url/co?subject=<subject text>&body=<body text>&to=<receiver email>&x-success=<encoded callback action>

  • googlegmail-x-callback://x-callback-url/co?subject=[prompt:Subject]&body=[prompt-return:Body]&to=[prompt-list::To]&x-success={{launchpro://}}

Are there others?

(Disclaimer: I haven’t personally verified Spark or Gmail yet. Planning to try them over Christmas break. The blog post that describes Gmail’s x-callback-url support is several years old, so I’m not sure if it still works the same way. Will report back once I find out.)

Airmail supports urls and x-callback-url.

airmail://compose?subject=Message%20subject&to=joe%40example.com&ann%40example.com&plainBody=Message%20body
airmail://x-callback-url/send?from=info%40email.com&subject=subj&to=infoto%40email.com&plainBody=hello&x-source=sourceapp&x-success=sourceapp%3A%2F%2Fsuccess&x-error=sourceapp%3A%2F%2Ferror&x-cancel=sourceapp%3A%2F%2Fcancelled

Source

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Dispatch has a small x-callback-url scheme.

Also has the advantage of TextExpander integration.

Outlook’s URL scheme allows composition.

ms-outlook://compose?to=example@email.com&subject=Subject&body=Message


Q) are you looking to do something in particular or are you just attempting to compile a point in time list where you can do anything from open the app with a URL call upwards?

Many apps can simply be opened. A fair number can compose mails.

Few mail apps provide further interactions beyond this.

Some non-mail focused apps have mail sending features as well, and with many more automation options. Background mail sending from Drafts is an obvious one that springs to mind. There are possibly also services that could compose or even read mails via web calls (I’ve done stuff with Google scripts on a schedule but scripts can also have URL triggers), so not native apps, but otherwise an automation option perhaps?

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A reasonable question…

I am currently experimenting with using separate apps for my personal and work email. My personal email will continue to be in Mail.app but I’ve been looking for alternatives for my work email (which is just a plain IMAP account).

I started using Outlook because I have an Office 365 subscription anyway, and I expected that it would be a decent mail app. It isn’t. It doesn’t even use my contacts (on iOS or Mac), which is a real “WTHeck?!” head-scratcher.

So I started looking at alternatives. The problem is that it’s hard to find current information about a lot of iOS email apps. Some apps that were well-regarded a few years ago aren’t even supported any more. And lots of email apps made a big splash when they were released, but it’s hard to tell which ones are still highly regarded and which ones are not.

I assumed that any app with decent automation support was more likely to still be supported, so that seemed like one reason to ask.

But my primary reason for asking was that I want to be able to setup a Shortcut which will allow me to send email from my work account without having to actually launch my work email app (and risk getting sucked in to my Inbox). This is rather easy to do with Apple’s Mail.app, but obviously it requires at least some rudimentary Shortcut support from any 3rd-party email apps I might want to check out.

(As it happens, so far I’m most impressed with AirMail for one reason that has nothing to do with automation: it can geo-fence notifications, so I can tell it to send me notifications only when I’m at my office. I really like that idea. However, I can’t shake the nagging feeling that AirMail was the app that someone – David? iMyke? Federico? – once said on a podcast that it would occasionally just not send emails, despite appearing to have been sent. Soooo… that’s a bit worrying, obviously, but I’m not 100% sure it was AirMail. In any case, I’m still keeping my eyes out for what my alternatives are.)

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I think both Myke and MacSparky have said this. However I’ve been using the app for years and have never had that happen. The custom actions in it, time/geo limitations on accounts, and automation options make it the perfect mail client for me.

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Re. Airmail, I’ve installed it several times over the last few years. Each time it’s lasted no more than a few days. I just always seem to get lots of crashes when using it on any of my devices. :cry:

I’ve persisted with Airmail. Anecdotally it has gotten less crashtastic. And my pet beef of it being unable to put the right unread count on the app icon also seems to be cured.

It’s still slow in retrieving mail.

The reason I bought it was for its automation capabilities. But I’ve used precious few of those. The idea seemed good… :slight_smile:

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Not sure if I should have started a new thread for this or not…

Followup… (cue music)

1. The Dreaded Blank Email Problem

I’ve been enjoying AirMail on iOS but I’ve had this problem pop up twice in a relatively short amount of time:

Newest email appears in Inbox. There is no content to the email.

I have tried forwarding the message, printing the message, creating a PDF from the message, moving it to a new mailbox… none of those work.

(Launching a different email app shows the message with no problem, so it’s not the email or the server.)

The only thing that works is resetting the cache and then re-entering my account credentials, which AirMail claims are incorrect. Then I force-quit the app and re-launch it, which finally forces it to re-download.

This is a really weird and annoying bug. Googling turns up some references to it from a few years ago, but no solution and it doesn’t seem that widespread.

2. Badges appearing at wrong geo-fence location

I have my notifications set to my work geo-fence, and no notifications for my home geo-fence.

Home and work are separated by many miles.

A couple times I’ve seen a badge on AirMail when I’m on my home network. I don’t know what else to try to fix this. Should I turn off “Smart Notifications”?

This link to Readdle’s knowledge base for the Spark’s url scheme is no longer valid.

This link provides a bit more detail:

readdle-spark://

Start draft
readdle-spark://compose

Identifiers to tack onto the start draft scheme
[add “?” after “compose” for first one]
[then add “&” for each additional one]
──────────────────────
Add recipient = recipient=TheirEmailAddress

Add email subject = subject=YourSubjectText

Add email body text = body=YourBodyText

Add cc recipient = cc=TheirEmailAddress

Add bcc recipient = bcc=TheirEmailAddress

Examples of identifier combinations

Start draft with recipient
readdle-spark://compose?recipient=TheirEmailAddress

Start draft with recipient, subject
readdle-spark://compose?recipient=TheirEmailAddress&subject=YourSubjectText

Start draft with recipient, subject, body
readdle-spark://compose?recipient=TheirEmailAddress&subject=YourSubjectText&body=YourBodyText

Start draft with recipient, cc, bbc, subject, body
readdle-spark://compose?recipient=TheirEmailAddress&cc=TheirEmailAddress&bcc=TheirEmailAddress&subject=YourSubjectText&body=YourBodyText

UPDATE April 21, 2022 2:30 AM
Deleted incorrect usage of the term “x-callback-url” since this scheme does NOT support callback. Sorry for the mistake.

As noted over on the Drafts forum, I think this is a URL scheme, there’s no reference to x-callback-url, and when I tested it as an x-callback-url, it errored.

If anyone wants to view the original Readdle help page, you can use the way back machine from archive.org.

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+1 on Airmail, and your use case of separating work and personal email is the reason I bought it. Apple mail on iOS is nowhere up to handling a complex high-volume email stream. I had used Dispatch for a couple of years, but Airmail’s support for both iOS and MacOS, plus it’s “just good enough” automation caused me to switch.

In particular, there are a couple of things I’ve really gotten used to:

  • Integration with OmniFocus (among many others) for easy email → task processing
  • as @JohnAtl has noted, it has a callback that lets you compose mail, and most importantly use Markdown, which I use for a bunch of automated things e.g., sending out meeting agendas

Yeah, it’s got a lot of quirks, but overall it’s the best I’ve found for both iOS and MacOS use.