Let’s face it: e-mail is inherently a little annoying. And while Google’s Gmail service is generally quite enjoyable to use, it certainly needs to be improved, especially on mobile.
But, as is often the case with Google products, what you see is not All what do you get. The Gmail app for Android has some very useful hidden touches that you’ve probably never noticed hiding beneath its surface – easy-to-overlook features that can make your mobile email experience more powerful, efficient, and effective.
Here are seven such options that are worth discovering or maybe just remembering.
1. Advanced commands for email formatting
The email typing screen in Gmail for Android seems like a pretty simple business, but just tap any open space as you type a new email, and by God, my God, see what you’ll find:
Touch the «Format» option and how about that? It is a complete list of advanced text formatting commands to compose the message. You can style any part of the email in bold, italic or underlined text; you can change the font color or the background color of the email; And, an occasional saver, you can delete all existing text formatting with a single tap.
2. Custom slide gestures
Ever wanted to have an easy way to postpone messages in your inbox or even mark them as unread without having to do a complicated dance? Get ready to be satisfied.
Open the settings for the Gmail app for Android (by tapping the three-line menu icon in the upper left corner and scrolling down until you see the «Settings» option). Touch «General settings» and then select «Drag actions».
There, you can configure exactly the action associated with dragging an email left and right from the mailbox or any other view in the message list. Set things up the way you want, using, if you like, the old-fashioned look of the mailbox of a swipe right for archiving and a swipe left to postpone, then swipe to the contents of its heart (and squeak ).
3. End of accidental actions
It’s very easy to accidentally touch an icon when handling email on the go, but Gmail actually has a spectacular way to avoid doing something bad by accident. It’s an added confirmation step for the worst type of wrong email clicks – archiving or deleting a message you’re not done yet or pressing the Send button before completing the draft. And it only takes a few quick taps to set it up and activate it.
Mosey way back to the «General settings» area of Gmail settings, scroll down to the bottom of that section and search for the «Action confirmations» heading, and there, activating the additional confirmation bits that will ask you will give you more peace of mind :
The only thing worth noting is the confirmation of the file and the deletion they don’t work , unfortunately, with gestures based on SLIP I just talked about those orders. This is especially unfortunate because Gmail’s drag gestures are too easy to activate accidentally when you try to use the scrolling movement across the entire Android 10 system that overlaps awkwardly. Good, some protection is better than no one protection, don’t you think?
4. A less annoying promotion tab
The Promotions tab in Gmail for Android is both a blessing and a curse. It gives you a great way to keep messages less urgent from viewing your main inbox, but it also includes a few ads and does a few fun things with your email order.
I can’t do much about commercials, which is annoying, though can prevent the app from rearranging messages and putting «high value» promotions above anything else, as seen here, where my Gmail app for Android, for some reason, I decided to see a message a week ago about an audio subscription service in many recent messages (including, a little below the list, a newer and more relevant email from same damn service ):
(And yes, the ad in the top section is very charming, isn’t it? Just too personal an assumption to make, if you ask me. Cut it out, Google.)
To return to a full, normal-style history view, return to your Gmail settings, and this time tap your Google Account address, then tap ‘Incoming message categories’ on the next screen.
Scroll to the bottom of the screen below. See the option called «Enable main email grouping»? Uncheck it.
Get out of there and then enjoy the pleasure of presenting your emails again in the correct order, even if you can’t completely remove those boring ads from the Promotions tab.
5. A less daring message box
While we are disabling annoying features, do you know how Gmail does it now «pushes» you to reply or keep track of messages that have been in your inbox for some time? If you find it more annoying than beneficial, go back to the app settings and select your Google Account again.
Scroll down until you see the «Reply and follow» option. Touch it, then uncheck both options on the next screen: «Suggest emails for reply» and «Suggest emails for tracking».
No more pushing. Now serenity.
6. A quick way to set up a respondent outside the office
For years, the Gmail mobile app has had no way to handle the automatic holiday response outside of the office. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who sometimes disconnects before a planned break and then realizes, half an hour later, that I forgot to send my absent message.
Don’t worry, once upon a time, in the not-too-distant past, Gmail for Android gained the ability to control your out-of-office response. Yes, indeed: you can open the app settings, tap the name of the account you want to change, and then search for «Auto-reply» in the middle of the list of options.
From there, it will take you a few minutes to activate, configure and edit the automatic answer outside the office to suit any situation imaginable.
7. More selective notifications
Sometimes email notifications can be helpful, but let’s be honest: they can be infernal most of the time. Pause for noise by trying the Gmail Android high-priority notification option, which uses artificial intelligence and other great-sounding keywords to find out which messages you’ve received are really important to you, and then let you know only about these e-mails.
For a twist, venture back into your Gmail settings, select your Google Account, tap the line labeled «Notifications,» and select «High priority only.» Give it a day and see what you think.
If you know exactly what types of emails you need to receive notifications about, for example, those from a specific person or domain name, those that have a specific word in their topics or bodies, or those that are sent to a home address of yours, you can bypass AI and set up your own custom Gmail notifications . That’s what I do, and as long as you can find a consistent formula for what types of emails are worthy of notifications, it works incredibly well.
Either way, you’ll have a lot less noise and a lot more energy to deal with what really matters. Even if, you know, «what really matters» is just finding a few spare minutes for a mid-morning hoagie.