The new Gmail is rolling out for everyone, and you can now hide that big sidebar

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The new Gmail is rolling out for everyone, and you can now hide that big sidebar

The new desktop Gmail theme rolled out this weekend. If you’re using the default theme, you’ll know you’ve arrived when your entire Gmail interface turns blue. Gmail’s new design first entered an opt-in preview in February, and after collecting feedback and fixing a few things, Google is making the design available to everyone. Everyone doesn’t like changes to Gmail, so let’s talk about what’s different and how to undo it.

A lot has changed up until the preview in February. The most notable change is the all-blue colorway. According to Google’s blog post, “You’ll notice that the new navigation now includes Material You, our updated, fresh look and feel for your Google apps.” of your operating system adapts to your background image. There’s no color matching with Gmail’s “Material You” though, just the blue color scheme.

Gmail still has a theme system, so you can change the color to whatever you like. Click the settings cog in the top right, then click See All under the Theme section. The background closest to the old Gmail is the solid “soft gray” background option. To really match the old Gmail background, you’d want “white,” but that’s not an option. (You can also select from your Google Photos collection via a “My Photos” link below and I’ve tried uploading a solid white background but trying to apply it just gives me an error message). This “Themes” screen also lets you apply Gmail’s oddly hidden dark mode: just select the black background option and everything switches to light text on a dark background.

The other change you might want to make is addressing our biggest complaint with the new Gmail: that new, giant sidebar. Google has long had a strategy of putting any new products it wants to promote in Gmail, and the new Gmail theme features a large, full-height sidebar with just four icons: one for Gmail, two for Google Chat (Google’s newest messaging app). ) and one for Google Meet (Google’s version of Zoom Meetings). Gmail already has a sidebar, but this new theme adds one second Sidebar that feels like a large ad banner for Google’s other communication apps. Thankfully, between the February preview and this default rollout, Google seems to have listened to feedback and added the option to disable the sidebar.

This new “no sidebar” option isn’t very obvious, but you can quit the Gmail sidebar by disabling Google Chat and Google Meet. Just go to Settings and then the Customize link under Chat & Meet. Uncheck both boxes and the sidebar will disappear, allowing you to reclaim a lot of screen real estate. It’s weird that New Gmail works like this when Old Gmail put Gmail controls, Google Chat, and Google Meet in a single, customizable sidebar, but Google went with it.

Disabling the dual sidebar layout not only makes the new Gmail look a lot more like the old Gmail, it also lets the regular Gmail sidebar work the way it used to. On the dual sidebar layout, if you click the hamburger button to collapse the sidebar, only the app switcher appears and none of the Gmail controls. You’ll see links for Google Chat and Google Meet instead of “Inbox”, “Stars”, “Spam”, etc. However, if you disable Google Chat and Meet, collapsing the Gmail sidebar will again bring the Gmail controls into Gmail displayed Huzza.

If you really don’t like the new Gmail, you can opt out of the new design for at least a while longer. Click on the settings cog and you should still see the “Revert to original view” option. This won’t last forever though, and you’ll have to get used to the new Gmail at some point. The original version was crude, but Google seems to have listened to the complaints about the second sidebar. If you tick the right preference boxes, you’ll find that there’s not much of a difference between the newer and older versions of Gmail anymore.

Entry image from Google

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