K-9 Mail is what you get when you take the default Android email client and make it, erm, better. It made the jump this week to version 4.4 and now sports a more holo-themed user interface, rich notifications for Android 4.1+ devices, an altered unread widget, and a whole bucket-load of nitpicky features that may or may not make your day, depending on how anal you are about how you like your email. If the Gmail app just isn't cutting it, this is a solid open source alternative that looks great on both phones and tablets.

K9-3 K9-2


When it comes to email clients, it's the little things that can be deal breakers. Determining which changes are the most impactful is akin to finding a needle in a field of haystacks. The changelog is long, but your pet peeve may have made the list.

  • Switched to a more holo-themed user interface
  • Added a split screen setting to display message list and message contents side by side
  • Added dialog to show the changes since the last update of K-9 Mail
  • Added screen to notify the user of database upgrades after updating K-9 Mail
  • Improve integration with third-party apps
  • Added rich notifications on Android 4.1+ devices
  • Changed the notification icon (Android 2.3+ only)
  • Removed "Manage back button" setting. The back button now always goes to the previously displayed screen.
  • Added new color picker to select account colors
  • Unified some account settings into "General Settings" and "Reading Mail"
  • Removed "compact layout" setting
Composing mail
  • Composing messages in right to left languages should now work better
Forwarding mail
  • Add References and In-Reply-To header for forwarded messages
Reading mail
  • Fixed inability to zoom out when viewing messages
  • Added setting to automatically shrink messages to fit the screen width
  • Improved display of messages decrypted with APG
  • Removed "system zoom controls" setting (zoom controls will only be shown on devices that don't support pinch-to-zoom)
  • Added work-around for the auto-scroll issue of the message view on Jelly Bean
  • Moved "show all headers" into the menu of the message list
  • Changed colors of the quote dividers
    Message list
  • Added message threading (note: this is not the same as Gmail's conversation view)
  • Added a setting to display contact pictures in the message list
  • Changed from chips to colored circles that also indicate the (un)read state
  • Added pull-to-refresh to check for mail
  • Use different background for read messages in message list
Folder list
  • Improved last folder update time formatting
  • Added support for wrapping long folder names in the folder list
  • Changed appearance of the unread widget
  • Added support for "Unified Inbox" and "All messages" to unread widget
Protocol support
  • IMAP: Added support for server-side search (currently limited to sender and subject)
  • IMAP: Added support for $Forwarded flag
    Notable bug fixes
  • Added notification on SSL certificate validation failures
  • Worked around ">" getting included in URLs when linkifying text/plain emails
  • IMAP: Fixed SPECIAL-USE detection of Spam folder
  • IMAP: Fixed a bug that caused messages to be lost when "moved" to a non-existant folder
  • Updated Japanese translation (Koji Arai)
  • Updated Finnish translation (Jani Kinnunen)
  • Updated Italian translation (Vincenzo Reale)
  • Updated French translation (Erkan)
  • Updated Greek translation (igavio)
  • Updated Russian translation (Alexey)
  • Updated Czech translation (Ondřej Vodáček, Jan Urbánek)
  • Updated Hungarian translation (RootRulez)
  • Updated Brazilian Portuguese translation (Marcio Zomb13)
  • Updated Traditional Chinese translation (Leo Yang)
  • Updated German translation (Danny Baumann)
  • Updated Spanish translation (enriquefeas)
  • Updated Dutch translation (Sander Bogaert)
  • Updated Korean translation (Uni-)
  • Updated Danish translation (l.meldgaard)
  • Updated Catalan translation (Enric Morales)

K-9 Mail is one of the most feature-rich email clients you will find on Android. It's available in the Play Store for free, so hit up the widget below to see if the new version meets your needs.

Source: GitHub

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • Zach Blackwood

    I've been waiting for this to update! Been trying out Xono for my personal email which is not gmail and it's great. I'll give this one a try again as well with the new Ui updates.

  • MasterMuffin

    I think we can all agree with this: FINALLY!

  • Mark LaFlamme

    Yes! Awesome news. I've tried pretty much every email app out there and I just keep coming back to the dawg. It's functionality can't be beat, but opening the interface has always been like walking into a dingy house decorated 70s style. Wood paneling on the walls, shabby shag carpet on the floors, grim family portraits hanging everywhere. I never ditched it because of it's Brady Bunch era style, but man, it'll be good to have this remodel.
    UPDATE: Update isn't showing in the market yet on my end. Something to look forward to, anyway.

    • Robert Uomini

      Have you tried ECSMail? It's based on K-9 Mail, but does a whole lot more.

      • Mark LaFlamme

        I have not. Thanks for the tip. I'm on it.

  • fzammetti

    Looks very good indeed! I was a die-hard K9 user for a LONG time and
    just recently switched to Aquamail, which I now love... but this update
    makes K9 look competitive again, kudos!

  • Trent Russell

    From an exchange standpoint, i'm not sure how any other client can compare to Touchdown. it's gotten a lot of attention in the last year and is pretty polished. For a heavy Exchange user, the integration is almost perfect.

  • JG

    You can always get the most up-to-date version here: http://code.google.com/p/k9mail/downloads/list

  • Jaymoon

    These all seem to be features Kaiten (paid fork) have had for awhile now... Glad to see K-9 has caught up. Meanwhile constant improvement updates from the paid app. o.O

    • memyselfandi

      actually k9 had them before kaiten.

      though, their market release cycle is much longer. but as the top most post here already showed one could always get the latest version from the google code side.
      i am doing this now for more than a year and i can assure you k9mail was most of the time ahead of kaiten and others.

      i do not know why they release their versions so rarly to the market. maybe they have higher standards for official releases.. wild guess.
      anyhow, even though i was always using the most recent one from their dev site i never ever observed any issues.

  • RitishOemraw

    The logo/icon alone is a big reason for not wanting to have this app.....
    You can replace it on your homescreen but in the app it will still show it's ugly (dog) head.
    I know that it should not bother me and that an app should not be judged on the icon.
    And those that enjoy using the app, more power to ya...I jsut want to know if there are others that for the same reason as me...don;t download certain apps (not per se this one)

    • fjortisar

      It's a Doctor Who reference! Come on :)

      • RitishOemraw

        The Dog is a dr.Who reference? Never watched it, so I wouldn;t know....now it they had Inspector Spacetime...that I could watch! :P

    • the doctor

      Geronimo !

    • naysayer

      That's pretty subjective. From a technical standpoint, the icon is well done

    • Primalxconvoy

      I agree. You would think now that Android would bake-in the ability to change or "cover" icons at a ui level by now.

  • Simon Belmont

    This looks nice. I used to use K-9 back in the Android 1.x and Android 2.x days.

    I may have to give this a try again. The Holo UI is a welcome refresh.

  • ithehappy

    Great update, but where the hell is the option 'Auto Fit'? Or even in 2013 I am forced to scroll horizontally?

  • ddpacino

    Because of our TLS encryption I have to refer most Android users to this app because the default one does not work when configuring IMAP/POP. Now, I await a Touchdown update...

  • Mark LaFlamme

    Looks good. No longer feels like wandering into a damp basement in there. Fresh look, plus some nice enhancements. I dig how I can get to clear all emails with one click now rather than a bunch. Good stuff. Turns out I was still on 4.00 so I came a long way up.

  • Primalxconvoy

    I loved this app and aqua mail. However, both had problems receiving our sending mail while I was using Wifi. Anyone else?

  • Primalxconvoy

    How do you show the contacts' avatar/picture?I can't find it in the settings.

  • Jonathan

    Just downloaded it, but it still looks like the old version to me (crap), not the nice looking UI of the screenshots. Perhaps it hasn't been rolled out to Galaxy S2 in Australia yet...

  • Michael Werle

    Aaaargh!! Not impressed. My phone just auto updated K9 and one of the best features has been removed: compact layout. Please please please bring it back!

  • Steve

    Aahhh, it burns my eyes!! How do I get the old version back?

  • Mark Weinberg

    still waiting

  • Robert Uomini

    Can someone tell me why K-9 Mail has over a million users when ECSMail, which is based on K-9 and does everything K-9 Mail does plus a whole lot more amazing things, has less than 2000 users? ECSMail supports inline images, ephemeral messaging, extreme mail privacy (Gmail users mail is protected from Google's prying eyes), protection from spoofing...the list goes on.

  • Eeyore

    Totally broken on Android 2.2. So long, old friend...

  • JamesB

    How does one get help with K-9? I've run into a problem where after sending an email the message bodies of mail in my inbox will no longer display till I exit K-9 and run it again. I'm on an Asus Transformer Prime tablet running K-9 4.409 with POP/SMTP. Anyone else run into this? Any solutions? I've looked at alternatives like ECSMail, but it had its own issues and did not work for me as well as K-9 does. None of the other Android emails I tried fit my needs in the way K-9 does. So I'm hoping to find an answer for this problem!