Stay on your boss's good side by customizing Gmail label alerts for Android notifications

Jack Wallen shows how an Android smartphone can save your hide with a simple alert system that will ensure you never miss critical Gmail messages.


Gmail labels

How many times have you missed a critical email from you boss and wound up in the hot seat? Keeping out of that kind of trouble can sometimes be a daunting perspective.

Android to the rescue!

Anyone who has migrated to the Android platform will tell you the power of the notification system is one of the many reasons they jumped the other ship. With this system, you know (as soon as your phone does) when an email arrives and (to a certain extent) the gist of its content. With that massive power comes a bit of a problem. If you receive a deluge of email, it can be easy to miss out on something really important.

Now, when you're reading your Gmail from a desktop, it’s fairly easy to stay on top of important messages -- thanks to labels. With labels, you can dictate what's important (say, for instance, email from your boss). When an email comes in from your boss, a label is attached to it and you're alerted to its arrival (depending upon how you have your Gmail label set up). 

Fortunately, you can also make use of the Gmail labeling system on your Android device. It’s easy and will empower your notification system so you don’t miss out on anything important. Let’s see how this is set up.

Creating the filter

Before you get to work on your Android device, you must first create the filter from within the Gmail web-based interface (from your desktop is the easiest method). Let’s create a label for emails from your boss about “Android” (so any email your boss sends with the subject “Android” will be automatically labeled). Here’s how you do this:

  1. Sign into your Gmail account
  2. Click the drop-down arrow directly to left of the Search button
  3. In the resulting popup (Figure A), fill out the From address with your bosses email and the Subject with Android
  4. Add any extra information you want (making sure the incoming emails in question can meet the added criteria)
  5. Click Create filter with this search to save the filter
  6. In the next drop-down window, check the box for Apply the label
  7. From the label drop-down, select New Label
  8. In the resulting pop-up, enter a new label (in this case, we’ll call it ATTN: Android)
  9. Click Create
  10. Click Create Filter

Figure A

Figure A
Setting up a label from within your Gmail account.

Creating the alert

Now, it’s time to move over to your Android device. Here’s the process for creating an alert that will watch for the new filter/label that you just created:

  1. Open the Gmail app
  2. Tap the upper right menu icon (three vertical dots -- called the Overflow Icon)
  3. Tap Settings
  4. Tap the Gmail account from the resulting list that you want to use
  5. Scroll down and tap Manage labels
  6. Locate the newly created label (ATTN: Android)
  7. Tap Sync messages
  8. Tap Sync: Last 30 days (Figure B)
  9. Tap Label notifications to enable
  10. Tap enable Vibrate and Notify for every message
  11. Change the sound if desired

Figure B


Figure B

Setting up label alerts on a Verizon-branded Motorola Moto X.

That’s it! Email sent to your Gmail account that meet the requirements of the label and filter will now get their own special message in the Android notification system. You won’t miss another important message.

The Android platform cannot be bested when it comes to personalization and configuration. Setting up these types of alerts are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Android smartphone ability to keep you up to date.

Have you found a handy way to ensure you don’t miss important messages or information? If so, share your tips and tricks in the discussion thread below.



By Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic, The New Stack, and Linux New Media. He's covered a variety of topics for over twenty years and is an avid promoter of open source. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen....