When you sign up for Sortd it asks you for permission to your email.

Why does Sortd need permissions to your mail?

Sortd displays it's own version of your gmail Inbox in fullscreen mode. The reason it's different from your Gmail Inbox is because it has some enhanced functionality, like the ability for you to drag emails onto your lists. In order for Sortd to generate this version of your Inbox it needs to access it using a non graphical backend interface that Google provides (the "Gmail API") and of course we could never do that without your permission.

When you drag an email onto one of your Sortd lists, no email data (other than the Thread Id and Sender, which we use for reference purposes) is actually stored on the Sortd servers - all of your email data remains in your Google account.

Ok, so you can access my mail but why do you need more permissions?

It wouldn't make much sense to give you a version of your Inbox that allows you to drag emails to your Sortd lists, but doesn't allow you to also archive and delete email while you're there. When you archive an email from your Sortd Inbox, it makes a request to archive that email via the Gmail API. In order to do that it needs your permission. Sortd also allows you to delete email using the trashcan icon, but it only moves email to the Trash / Bin, the same way Gmail does. 

Sortd will archive an email in a few very specific cases:

  • If you click on the Archive icon on an email in your Sortd Inbox.
  • If you snooze an email (it will be archived but will return to your mailbox at the specified Un-Snooze date).
  • If you mark an email that's been dragged onto one of your lists as Complete.

On a related note - if you specifically want Sortd to archive emails (in Gmail) when you drag them onto your Sortd lists you will find a setting for that.  By default, when you drag a mail it will hide it from your Sortd Inbox but it will have no impact on your Gmail Inbox whatsoever.

So why the delete permissions?

Sortd requires delete permissions, in the case when an email is snoozed, Sortd re-inserts the email at the top of your Inbox so that you immediately see it when it becomes un-snoozed (it is archived in the interim period). In order to do this Sortd create a copy of the original email and updates the time of the email and deletes the old version, so there are not duplicate emails in your Inbox. Additionally, certainly functionality such as shared email (available on the Team Subscription) also requires Sortd to delete emails when a new version of the email is created with updated information. These are the few cases that Sortd will delete an email, and then only after it has already insured that a new copy/version of the amended email thread is in your Inbox. In all other scenarios Sortd only archives or sends an email to Trash the same way Gmail does when deleting an email.

If you still have any concerns and you want to test Sortd on a throwaway Gmail account you can do that without any impact on your primary account.  You need to explicitly give Sortd permission to work with each individual Gmail account that you use.

For more information on the permissions required by Sortd and other security related concepts please see Why does Sortd need Permissions? as well as the Security section of the Sortd Privacy Policy.