While most Android users are satisfied with Gmail, power users look for something a little more tailored to their needs. One of the most popular alternatives is K-9 Mail, an open source client focused on interoperability and easily handling multiple accounts. The last time the app had a stable release was way back in September of 2018, working on a beta for an extensive overhaul in the meantime. Yesterday the stable update to 5.8 finally dropped.

What’s new? So much. It’s what we in the tech journalism world call a bleep-ton (at least when our editors are watching). Here’s a truncated, but still quite lengthy, list from the changelog.

  • Major redesign of the user interface
  • Changed periodic background sync and push implementations to work much more reliably
  • Deprecated support for the WebDAV protocol; new accounts can no longer be added
  • K-9 Mail now requires Android 5.0 and newer
  • Added support for Autocrypt setup message
  • Added support for encrypted subjects
  • Don’t use default signature when setting up a new account
  • Allow installation on external media (Android 6+ with adopted storage)
  • Removed keyboard shortcuts for menu items; on some devices they conflicted with system shortcuts
  • Removed the broken option to store the message database on external storage
  • Removed the ‘remote control’ interface third-party apps could use to change some settings in K-9 Mail
  • A lot of other bug fixes, internal changes, and improvements

At least some users will probably be miffed at the removal of those keyboard shortcuts, especially if they’re using them on something like the Galaxy Tab S series with its excellent external keyboard and mouse support.

The 5.8 update isn’t live in the Play Store just yet; that version has been bumped to 5.6, with the changelog missing the above laundry list. But the app’s source code and APK file has been published by the team on Github, and it’s also available as a direct download on APK Mirror. The updated build should be headed to the Play Store very soon. For more detailed info, you can check out the forum thread.

K-9 Mail
K-9 Mail