How to Lose the Tabs in Gmail

If you use Gmail, you may have noticed the new tabs that separate your emails for you.

get gmail back

I think this would be helpful for many, but in my case, I feel like I now have three inboxes to check instead of one. I work hard to keep my inbox empty (or nearly) so I typically don’t feel overrun.

If you don’t want separate tabs but want things back to the way they were, it’s simple. Go to Settings (the gear icon in the top right) and select “Configure Inbox” from the dropdown menu.

put gmail back

Uncheck any tabs you don’t want to appear in your inbox. You can’t uncheck “Primary.” Click Save.

remove gmail tabs

What about you? Do you like the tabs?

Do you get The Useletter?


  1. says

    Thank you for this!! Since it was switched I was wondering if I could make it go back to just “one inbox”! I hate switching between the tabs. I just signed up for your useletter! A friend had forwarded it to me so I signed up to get them myself :)

  2. says

    I’m not keen on these imposed categories at all, I want all my mail available in one box, so I know I’m not missing anything. I’m off to find out how to get rid of Social, Promotions and so on!!

  3. says

    Oh my gosh – thank you, thank you, thank you!! I had tried to change settings 10 different way to get my “old” inbox back and never did figure it out until I saw this post! Big HUGS to you Amy!!!

  4. says

    Believe it or not, I love the new tabs. I filter several different emails into my gmail account. From there they are now going into an appropriate tab. I know that the priority tab is filled with emails I want and need to read. I also know that the social and promos tabs are things that get a lower priority number for me. The organization that automatically happens is key for me. I will definitely be keeping these. It also makes a difference for me on my phone. The priority box is filled with what I need. The other tabs are things I can read from my computer at home and not waste time on. Saves minutes and data!!

    • says

      I agree, Debi. I appreciate the tabs and wish all of my mail accounts could have tabs as well. :) I am someone that appreciates receiving information in categories. When there is an item to read in the Social Tab, I know how to attack it. When all of the mail is listed in one inbox, it is less efficient for me to deal with each piece of mail appropriately.

  5. says

    I just fixed this!! Snap and it was done!! I was trying to find the time to see how it should work, but then I read your post and fixed it back to the way it was. This is going to confuse a lot of non-techy people, like my husband (very techy with engines but not computers, lol) so off I go to fix his email :-)

    Thanks a gazilllion!!

  6. says

    Thank you so much Amy, not only for this tip, but also for answering all of the other blogging mysteries plaguing my universe on a daily basis! I (finally) signed up for your newsletter, which led to my very first tweet! Please don’t ever stop blogging…EVER… :)

  7. says

    Like you, Amy, I try to keep my inbox down to one page, so it feels like more work now to click between tabs and check 6 inboxes (for my two accounts). I’m going to give it another week, but I have a feeling I’ll switch back to everything in one inbox.

  8. says

    truthfully, I’ve probably missed all of the changes. As you can see by my email address it’s not, husband set up a paid for address thru gmail, and when traveling i do use the web access a little, but mostly it pulls down to my mail on my mac and iphone. I’ll have to go out and check it out.

  9. says

    Amy, I’d figured this out when they first unrolled the tabs… but I can’t figure out how to change it on my Android phone. And as other commenters mentioned, Google doesn’t do a great job at choosing correct categories. Any suggestions for changing it on a phone?

  10. yehudit rachel says

    I got rid of the tabs because their algorithms for deciding under which tabs to put emails did not match up with the way my mind works (for example, some emails I thought were “social” ended up in the “promotions” tab). I also could not figure out why replies to things I had written on a web site were in the “social” tab, and not under a tab labelled “emails from strangers.” Ooops! They forget to make an emails-from-strangers tab.

  11. says

    Just added my signature to my gmail and I’m seriously thinking about using this info to go back to the way it used to be. Thanks so much for sharing. I’m loving your newsletters!

  12. Lia says

    Helpful information. Thanks.

    What happened to your blog… I find it SO difficult to navigate now. You have a ton to share but now I can’t find it.

  13. says

    Thanks, Amy! The tabs were distracting to me, but I hadn’t taken the time to investigate how to change it back.

    See, this is why I love your blog. You post the instruction which take me about 20 seconds to fix which helps me in using time wisely.

    Thanks again, and keep up the good work! I’m loving the useletter.

  14. says

    Hi Amy!
    Oh how I wish my inbox would be magically empty! LOL
    But it isn’t…yet.
    So, for now, I really like the tabs because it seems to separate some the email that I really need to unsubscribe from. Yes, I have a subscribing problem! :-/.
    When I get an empty inbox I will definitely use your instructions to get rid of the tabs though! Thanks for the tips! :)

  15. says

    Thank you for figuring this out, Amy. I like to keep my inbox empty, as well, and the tabs are driving me crazy! I’m getting rid of mine right now!

  16. says

    I haven’t switched back yet. I’m still trying to give it some time. I do like that the “Social” tab pulls all the “You have new followers” and “You were tagged” emails so I can easily delete them at one time.

  17. Sahari says

    Like you Amy, I felt I was going to have numerous inboxes to review. I gave it about 10 minutes, and went back to the old format.