How to Enable the Unread Message Icon in Gmail: A Step-by-Step Guide

Enabling the unread message icon in Gmail is a simple process that can save you from the frustration of missing out on important emails. In less than a minute, you can have a visual reminder that helps you to quickly identify and manage your unread messages. Let’s get started!

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Enable the Unread Message Icon in Gmail

Before we dive into the steps, let’s clarify what we’ll achieve by the end of this tutorial. We will enable a feature in Gmail that shows a small icon next to unread messages. This icon makes it easier to spot emails you haven’t read yet.

Step 1: Open Gmail Settings

Head over to your Gmail account and click on the gear icon in the top-right corner to open the settings.

In the settings menu, you’ll see several tabs. You need to be in the “General” tab to find the unread message icon option.

Step 2: Scroll Down to the Unread Message Icon Section

Once in the General tab, scroll down until you see the “Unread message icon” section.

This section might be a bit down the page, so keep scrolling until you find it. It’s usually located near the bottom.

Step 3: Select the ‘Show Unread Message Icon’ Option

Click the checkbox next to “Show unread message icon” to enable the feature.

After you check the box, a new icon resembling an envelope will appear next to any unread messages in your inbox.

Step 4: Save Changes

Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on ‘Save Changes’ to apply the new setting.

Once you click ‘Save Changes’, Gmail will refresh, and you will be taken back to your inbox with the new unread message icon enabled.

After completing these steps, you will see a small icon next to each unread email in your inbox. This visual cue can help you quickly identify which emails need your attention, ensuring that you don’t miss anything important.

Tips for Managing Unread Messages in Gmail

  • Mark emails as read or unread to better manage your inbox and ensure that the icon only appears next to genuine unread messages.
  • Use Gmail’s search function to quickly find all unread messages by typing “is:unread” in the search bar.
  • Combine the unread message icon with labels and filters for a highly organized inbox experience.
  • Regularly review and clean up your inbox to avoid a build-up of unread messages that can become overwhelming.
  • Consider enabling desktop notifications for new messages to stay on top of your email communication.

Frequently Asked Questions About Unread Message Icon in Gmail

What does the unread message icon look like?

The unread message icon resembles a small envelope or an ‘unread’ label next to each unread message.

Can I enable the unread message icon on the Gmail mobile app?

Currently, the unread message icon is a feature available only in the desktop version of Gmail.

Will enabling the unread message icon slow down my Gmail?

No, enabling the unread message icon will not impact the speed or performance of your Gmail account.

Can I disable the unread message icon later if I change my mind?

Yes, you can disable the unread message icon at any time by following the same steps and unchecking the option in settings.

Does the unread message icon appear for all types of email accounts in Gmail?

The unread message icon should appear for all email accounts that you have set up in Gmail.

Summary of Steps

  1. Open Gmail Settings.
  2. Scroll down to the Unread Message Icon section.
  3. Select the ‘Show Unread Message Icon’ option.
  4. Save Changes.


In the fast-paced digital world we live in, staying on top of your emails can sometimes feel like a herculean task. However, with the unread message icon enabled in Gmail, you are one step closer to mastering your inbox. Not only does it provide a visual cue, but it also helps in prioritizing emails that demand your immediate attention. Remember, it’s the small tweaks like this that make a significant difference in productivity and efficiency. So, go ahead and take control of your Gmail today with this simple yet effective feature. Don’t let those unread messages slip through the cracks!

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