The Gmail app continues to evolve in such a way to make it not only more user-friendly, but more flexible. When you're a busy IT admin, doing IT admin things, the last thing you need is a mobile email client that is clunky and less than efficient. In keeping with the Android UI, Gmail has given a bit more love to the swipe actions by way of customization. What used to be a fixed feature, now allows users to customize what those swipe actions can do. Even though the actions are limited to set list of options, you are no longer locked down to a right swipe delete and left swipe archive. Instead, you can choose from the following list:
- Mark as read/unread
- Move to
Although it may not be an extensive list, it offers just the right amount of options to make even the power user happy. Say, for instance, you rely on folders to keep your email organized, but moving email within the Gmail app has never been terribly efficient. Now, you can assign either a right or left swipe to the Move to action, making that task so much simpler. Or maybe you rely on the Snooze feature. If you long to make Gmail better fit your particular use case, that power is now at your fingertips. Do note: Not every action works with every type of account. For example, the Snooze action only works with a Gmail account (not IMAP or POP).
I'm going to show you how easy it is to customize the right and left swipe action. I'll be demonstrating on an Essential PH-1, running Android 8.1 and the June 14, 2018 update of the Gmail app. If you're unsure if you're using the most recent app, open the Play Store app on your Android device, tap on the menu button in the upper left corner, tap My apps & games, and then check to see if you have any updates available.
SEE: 10 tips for reaching inbox zero (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
How to customize swipes
Now that you're certain your Gmail is up to date, let's customize the swipe actions. To do this, open up the Gmail app. Once the app is open, tap the menu button in the upper left corner. From the sidebar, scroll down and tap Settings. In the Settings window, tap General settings. From the resulting window (Figure A), tap Swipe actions.
In the Swipe actions window (Figure B), tap the CHANGE button associated with the swipe action you want to change.
When you tap the CHANGE button, a popup window will appear, where you can select the action to associate with that particular swipe action (Figure C).
Configure both swipe actions to suit your needs and then back out of the Settings app.
That's all there is to customizing the swipe actions for Gmail. With a quick change in the Settings, you can make Gmail better suit your needs. Personally, I set up a right-swipe Snooze and left-swipe delete (as I have no need for archiving Gmail, but do use the Snooze feature a lot with my Gmail accounts). With this setup, I actually use the swipe gestures, making Gmail quite a bit more user-friendly. Customize these actions and see if you don't find Gmail a bit more efficient.
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- How to change the way emails are deleted in Android's Gmail app (TechRepublic)
- Like it or not, Gmail new design will be mandatory in a few months (ZDNet)
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.