I think Nylas N1 is the best looking email client out there at the moment. Recently, they decided to go subscription only, but you can still build the app and the sync engine yourself if you want, which is awesome :)

This guide will focus on how to build the Nylas N1 app (i.e. the email client itself) on macOS Sierra. It’s not a difficult task (far from it actually), it’s just that I did have my fair share of issues trying to find some cohesive and updated documentation on how to do this, so I hope this article will be useful to other people out there.


You need the following to build N1:

  • nodejs
  • npm

Things are so much easier if you use Homebrew, since you can do everything from the Terminal with just a couple of commands, so I would really recommend downloading it before proceeding with the installation.

grunt is not really necessary even if the documentation mentions it as mandatory. During the building process, you will see a few warning about the Xcode command line tools missing, but so far I haven’t noticed any issues by not having them installed, N1 was built without issues and all is working well so I haven’t included them in the list of required software.

Install Node.js

brew install node

If you see a warning message telling you that some features might not work on Sierra because it’s an “experimental release”, feel free to ignore that, I haven’t run into any issues on my MacBook.

Make sure both node and npm have been installed correctly by running

node -v


npm -v

Build Nylas N1

We have everything that we need to begin building the Nylas N1 app now. Download the repository from the Nylas N1 GitHub page and open your Terminal.

cd N1-master




This script will take care of everything. No need to run anything else like their documentation is suggesting. This was the only thing I had to run to successfully build N1.

Once the build process is complete, you can finally run Nylas N1 by executing


If everything went well, you should be greeted by the N1 welcome pages: