Switching to K-9 Mail, a FOSS email client

One of the most veteran apps that I have never tried ended up making me go into a search for being more productive, although I don't think it will make a difference

As mentioned in previous blogs, I recently switched my android rom and factory reset my device. In the process of doing so, my email app of choice broke, that app is Spark Email, a proprietary app that I simply liked because of its pretty UI and ease of use. Despite that, I was felling a bit ashamed of using it, because, well, it’s not FOSS.

I am quite a FOSS advocate, but I am also a bit pragmatic. I still use Google services often, a lot more than I would like to admit. So if I was already using them, why wouldnt I give away more of my freedom for the sake of convenience, right?

Yeah, that’s the train of thought I have sometimes. But other times, like today, I am feeling a more privacy conscious, and I decided to look for an alternative email client. I had already tried Fairemail a fairly decent app that works wonderfully. However, it contains unobtrusive, privacy friendly ads, which are not bad at all and are completely understandable, but I didn’t want to deal with them, besides, I had already tried it, and I wanted something new.

And here is where K-9 Mail comes to the rescue. The app was a bit dead, but last year, the app got a visual redesign that caught my attention and convinced me to give it a chance. I knew about the app for years, but just by looking at its icon and the screenshots showcased on F-Droid, I never installed it.

K-9 Mail's website, its actually better looking than Fairemail's
K-9 Mail's website, its actually better looking than Fairemail's

Setting up my accounts

I was pleasantly surprised, setting up my Gmail account was as simple as Google lets you, using the so called “App Passwords” needed for anything that doesn’t wanna use their login authentication methods.

Adding the rest of my accounts was a piece of cake, I had to add my school account with IMAP because the domain was weird and unable to be automatically setup like my personal one, however, it was no big deal.

A Microsoft account I got had no trouble at all, although I should add 2FA to it, since it’s not active.

The User experience

K-9 Mail pretty much looks like the Gmail app before they changed to Material Design 2.0 a couple years ago. And that’s a good thing for me. It has a bit of similarity to Fairemail, but I liked K-9 a bit more since its more simplistic and a bit less cluttered. Besides, the starting screen of Fairemail its their settings, and its really overwhelming, which was a reason I wanted to avoid K-9, since I thought it would be even worse. But I am quite happy with how it is.

There is a really good Dark Theme, a nice amount of settings and customization and it even applies a dark mode to the email contents, which is good for those nasty non-plain text emails that have their own styling.

K-9 with Dark theme enabled, looking good!
K-9 with Dark theme enabled, looking good!


It is a pretty great experience! so nice and comfy I did a whole blog about it. Like, I can’t believe I spent so many years not using this (being fair, it looked terrible 2 years ago, but still).

The only thing I disliked for a bit was the non-instant arrival of emails, which is normal for most email clients that once again don’t depend on Google immediately. I wonder if there is some way to trigger the update, but at the same time, I don’t really need email to be instant.

With this setup, I am very happy again with my FOSS mindset. It has reinspired me to check out even more alternative, free software applications. This is day 36 of #100DaystoOffload


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