Gmail: Inbox Tabs

One of the new features that is rolling out to Gmail is the new Inbox Tabs. These are tabs that will appear at the top of your Gmail inbox and sort your incoming mail into one of the new categories such as Primary, Promotions, Social, Forums, and Updates. This makes it easy if you get a lot of email on a daily basis to have it sorted out for you.

Gmail Tabs

Let’s take a look at exactly what kinds of emails Google is filtering into these categories.

  • Primary: Messages from friends and family.
  • Promotions: Deals, offers and other promotional material.
  • Social: These would be messages from social networks, such as Facebook, media sharing sites, and other social websites.
  • Updates: This category is for confirmations, receipts, bills, and statements.
  • Forums: This category is for online groups, discussions, and mailing lists.

But these are not just tabs at the top of your inbox, they are also labels into your email as well. So whether you choose to use them as just labels or as tabs at the top of your inbox, or even both, you can.

And if you are like me, this is all nice and fine for the web interface, but what about if you use Gmail a lot on a mobile device? Well if you have an Android or Apple device you can install the Gmail app, which will give you this functionality as well. I know for me I like to have things behave the same way across all of my devices.  If you haven’t starting using the Gmail app on your device you can download the Gmail for iPhone app from iTunes, or download the Gmail for Android app from Google Play.

Of course if you are used to getting a lot of email you may have your own labels already setup, or you may not want to use this new feature at all. Turning if off is pretty simple as well, just click on the cog and go into Settings. Choose the Inbox tab and simply un-check all of the Categories except for Primary and you will have your old Gmail inbox back, sans tabs.

So whether you have been migrated or not, know that this change is coming to your Gmail inbox soon.  I would recommend giving it a try before you turn it off, it may just be a great way to sort through all of your email and save yourself a lot of time sorting through your emails.