by James A. Martin

‘Handle’ iOS App Mercifully Merges Email, Calendars and Tasks

Jan 27, 20152 mins
Consumer ElectronicsMobile Apps

Handle, a new, free iOS app for Gmail users, merges disparate tasks, email and calendar appointments, and it can help streamline your busy digital life.

New Year’s resolutions to exercise more often usually begin to waver during the third week of January, according to The Wall Street Journal. If your 2015 resolution is to get more organized, and you’re on similarly shaky ground, there’s a new app that can help: Handle.

Handle is a free, iOS-only download, but it also works as a Chrome browser extension. Right now, it only works with Gmail users. If you’re an iOS, Chrome and Gmail user, it’s worth a look.

Handle merges email, calendars, reminders and to-dos. These things are often related — an email can be a to-do item, reminder or calendar appointment traveling incognito.  You can create to-do reminders and add new calendar appointments from email by swiping left on messages.

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By default, Handle automatically archives email from which you create to-dos, reminders or choose to read later, which you can do by swiping right on a message. You’re supposed to be able to disable this feature in the app’s settings, but in my tests it still archived messages after I changed the setting.

I appreciate Handle’s email viewing options, which let you review a list of email messages, or check out your messages in a card-like format, which displays more information per message.

Handle also plays well with Gmail, and it gives you access to all your “labels.” It’s nice to have to-dos, email and appointments all together in one app, as well. Handle is optimized for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad screens, too.

If you’re looking to streamline your digital life, Handle could be a good place to start. Other similar apps that are worth a look, and that do at least some of what Handle does (and more in some cases), include 24me (free, iOS); Tempo (free, iOS); and Acompli (free, Android and iOS), which Microsoft recently acquired and which made my recent list of 2014’s top mobile apps.