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8 min read 402 Shares 20 comments

10 Gmail for Android tips and tricks

Whether we like it or not, email is something many of us simply must keep on top of via our phones. However, staying ahead of the inbox influx needn't be an arduous process. Take control of your emails today with these Gmail tips for Android.

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Before starting, make sure you're up and running with the latest version of Gmail by opening up the Play Store app and checking for updates. We're going to assume that you already have your email account(s) up and running - and that you already know you can add non-Google email accounts within the app. 

Gmail Install on Google Play

1. Keep on top of your email with gestures

If you receive a lot of email, you'll know that simply seeing the subject line is enough to know what you need to do with it in many cases. So, to quickly deal with all your incoming stream of mail, you can assign swipe actions, which means you don't need to open it to archive or delete it. 

gmail archived
Swipe your way to freedom! / © AndroidPIT

Gmail doesn't offer the option to 'snooze' a mail until a later date here, like Inbox by Google, but you can delete or archive your messages in just a swipe. If you want to change between Archive and Delete options, open the Gmail app > click Settings > General settings > Gmail default action. 

2. Deal with everything as it arrives

Now that you know you can just quickly flick your way through a list of messages, if you've got multiple inboxes, Android's Gmail app has a really useful option that lets you view everything as it comes in across multiple accounts.

gmail allinboxes
One stream to rule them all.  / © AndroidPIT

The option is called 'All Inboxes' and tapping it does as you'd expect: shows you a list of messages in chronological order regardless of what address they were sent to. For anyone that needs to keep multiple inboxes clear of mess by quickly whipping through the incoming mail as it arrives, this one is essential.

It can get a little confusing if you've got around five or more addresses set up though. 

3. Bulk edit

If dealing with messages as they arrive in one long stream sounds like too much hard work, you're probably the sort of person that ignores the inbox until it just can't be ignored any longer. What that usually means is a massive mess of messages that you'll need to eventually deal with one-by-one. Or not. 

bulk edit gmail
Easily perform a range of actions across multiple messages all at once.  / © AndroidPIT

Instead, just open up the inbox or folder you want to organize, long-press on an item and it'll give you the option to select as many more as you want. Once you have the messages you want selected, you can move them, assign a label, mark them as important, delete them, archive them or mark them as unread. You can also just click the icon next to each email to select more than one rather than long-pressing. 

Then once you have them all under control again, you'll deal with them as they start rolling in again, right?

4. Widget your way to inbox zero

Love 'em or hate 'em, emails widgets can be a time-saver. Anything that prevents you from opening the inbox even once is welcomed in our book.

Gmail currently has two widget options available by default - either a view of your incoming mail from the account and label of your choosing, or the ability to add a label icon to your homescreen to jump directly to that account and inbox when you tap it. 

gmail widgets
Widgets are one way to open the Gmail app less frequently. / © AndroidPIT

To add a Gmail widget is the same as adding any other - tap and hold on an empty space on one of your home screens and choose the option to insert a widget. Scroll through your widget list to find the Gmail widget. Tap and hold it, then drag it onto an available home screen. When you let go, you will be asked to choose the account and inbox that the widget will display.

Once you're finished, you can resize the widget by tapping and holding it. 

5. Save space

Email attachments take up a surprising amount of room over time, so one way to keep your device feeling sprightly is to make sure you're not keeping too much of your mail on your device via sync. 

Dive into the Settings and tap through to Accounts you can see which Google accounts are associated with the device — tap on one to make sure Gmail syncing is enabled.

androidpit gmail tips 3
Double-check the integrated sync settings to save on space. / © AndroidPIT

From within the Gmail app itself you can choose Settings from the menu and tap on your email address to check your messages are set to sync. From the same screen you can also configure how many days of email are cached and which labels are included.

6. Search like a pro

The search function inside the app looks simple, but don't let appearances deceive you, because it's almost as capable as the one on the Web. For example, try entering "older_than:1y" or "older_than:1d" in the search box to find messages more than a year or a day old in your Gmail.

gmail search
Search operators can be a powerful way to find what you need in your inbox. / © AndroidPIT

Google provides a handy list of search operators and just about all of them work in the Gmail app as well as Gmail on the web. The "is:important" can bring up all priority messages, while the "is:starred" operator lets you quickly jump to any messages that have been starred for further attention.

You can string together more specific operators to find messages from multiple people

7. Mute conversations

When you're on the go, you want to make sure that only the most important messages show up inside Gmail. The Android app, like Gmail on the Web, includes a mute feature that ensures any new messages that arrive in muted threads are automatically archived so you don't see them - though they'll still be marked Unread if you want to check back over them.

androidpit gmail tips 5
Mute a conversation to automatically archive it. / © AndroidPIT

To do this from the Gmail app for Android, open a conversation then tap on the More menu (three vertical dots), then choose Mute from the list that appears. You can always pull the conversation up from the archive through a search or label filter if you need to find it again.

8. Auto-advance is your friend

Auto-advance is a really useful feature to use if you need to work through a lot of emails at once, as it saves you having to head back to the inbox each time you've archived or deleted a message thread. Instead, once you're done with a mail, it automatically takes you to the next one in the pile.

androidpit gmail tips 6
Auto-advance is another feature that can be of use. / © AndroidPIT

To activate it, open the Gmail app, then tap Settings > General Settings. Select Auto-advance and the dialog box that shows up on screen lets you choose whether you want to jump to a newer message, an older message or back to the conversation list each time you delete or archive.

9. Settle your bills

While you've been able to send money via Gmail on the Web for a long while now, it's only just been made available on Android devices, but it's a simple way to pay back friends cash or pay for services without needing to switch to another app. It's only available to users in the US running the most recent version of Gmail though. 

gmail send money
A free way to make payments without ever opening another app. / © AndroidPIT

If you're running the correct version of the app, and in a supported country, all you need to do is compose a new message and tap the paperclip icon like you would to attach a file normally. You should have two options there to either send or request money. 

Google says that the person receiving cash can even choose to have the money go directly to their bank account instead of a Google Wallet account, and the transaction doesn't attract any fees at all. 

10. Make your emails look better

Brevity is king on mobile email, but that doesn't mean your messages all have to go sans-formatting. There are times when italics, bold, or a stand out text color can help deliver your intended meaning. 

To access the formatting options, long press to select some text when composing a message and the Format option will pop up, tap that and you'll get a few different options along the bottom of the screen.

format gmail android
Make your emails stand out a little more. / © AndroidPIT

The settings are fairly basic - bold, italic, underline, text color, background text color - but if you just want to tweak the appearance of your mails, this is a quick way to do it without using the desktop version. The option just to the left of the 'x' that closes the formatting options removes formatting on any words you have selected.  

Do you have any other tips for Gmail for Android? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • I use the Gmail app with several email accounts. When I open the app it shows me one inbox, I have to click the menu and "All inboxes" to see all my new emails. I know it's a small annoyance, but do you know if it's possible to make "all inboxes" the default view so it automatically shows when I open the app?


  • I often send photos from my Note 5 camera via Gmail to my email address for a closer look on my desktop. The photos won't send unless I open Gmail on the phone. Can I set the phone so that shared photos travel from Gmail without it being open?


    • Bastian Siewers
      • Admin
      • Staff
      2 months ago Link to comment

      Hi Chris, I would recommend using Google Photos for that. It can sync in the background and you can you use the website on your PC. Photos are synced quickly after you took them. It is way easier than using Gmail for that :)


  • Gmail is my best client, and I have no problem place with Related accounts


  • Thanks for unknown and fact tips ;)


  • Danyea Aug 31, 2016 Link to comment

    Thanks for the tips.


  • Aditi G Aug 6, 2016 Link to comment

    Good tips - specially the auto-advance feature - saves immense amount of time.


  • But any ideas to search within a message??? I daily receive tons of mails, thousand line logs, and cannot figure out a way to 'find within' on the mobile app.


    • Josh Aug 2, 2016 Link to comment

      Whenever you search for something it should always search within the message too. Sure that its not doing that on your phone?


  • in india Sep 30, 2015 Link to comment

    Gmail App downloaded through 1Mobile Market or through the link provided with this page isn't working.

    It displays onscreen error message - Gmail relies on Google Play Services , which is not supported by your device. Contact the manufacturer for assistance .

    I had communicated this error earlier also ; on the ratings & feedback section of Gmail APP page but neither Gmail responded nor 1Mobile Market took note of it .

    Hope ; someone is able to rectify this time.


    • Bastian Siewers
      • Admin
      • Staff
      Aug 2, 2016 Link to comment

      Well what kind of phone do you have?


    • Mark G. Aug 2, 2016 Link to comment

      Sounds like you have either a fake device or a cheap device that doesn't have Google play services. This is a essential app that is required to use any of the Google apps. It authenticates you and provides the necessary functionality. No Google app will work without Google play services.

      Peace ✌


  • My #1 tip for gmail on android.

    Use inbox...


    • Josh Aug 2, 2016 Link to comment

      haha yea... well I tried it and wasnt really getting along with it. I switched back to gmail pretty shortly after. Dont know why, but its not really my thing..


  • Steve Sep 27, 2015 Link to comment

    Can't create a new folder though through the app.


    • Mark G. Sep 27, 2015 Link to comment

      You can easily open your mobile browser and open Gmail via the desktop to create folders or filters.


      • Mark G. Sep 27, 2015 Link to comment

        I use Google Inbox now. It's so much easier to deal with the hundreds of emails that aren't quite spam. (Newsletters and Websites I have signed up to are always sending what is mostly junk)

        Though I can't see my Yahoo mail via Inbox.


      • Steve Sep 27, 2015 Link to comment

        Yeah I do but that kind of defeats the object of having the app doesn't it?


  • benyto Sep 27, 2015 Link to comment

    opo l


  • I just wish they can support compose with rich text, which is already available on iOS.

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