The last 48 hours have been a real trip. Friends and family have been messaging me about the new Gmail redesign. Basically: Why is the new Gmail so ugly? And how do you switch back to the old Gmail?
First: a crash course on why there’s a new Gmail. Google announced in June that it’d begin rolling out a new “integrated view” for Gmail with an extended rollout starting on June 28, 2022. While businesses (like Input) that use Google Workspace accounts saw the Gmail redesign first, regular personal Gmail accounts are now seeing a broader rollout, and naturally, with more eyeballs, there’s more outrage.
The redesign is supposed to make Gmail more customizable and personal, according to Google. For example, the navigation makes use of Material You, which first appeared on Android 12. Personalization is great, but everyone seems to agree that the new Compose button looks bad — really bad.
The various shades of light blue are distracting. Instead of reducing on-screen clutter, it feels like there are more icons and buttons vying for your attention.
How to change back to the old Gmail layout view
Like all redesigns, Google seems to have anticipated the backlash. Why else would it provide an option to revert back to the old Gmail layout view?
If you just can’t stand the new Gmail layout, here’s how to change it back.
- Click on the Settings gear icon in the upper right corner of Gmail.
- In the panel that slides out, under “You’re using the new Gmail view” click “Go back to the original view”.
- A box will pop up asking you “Why are you returning to the original Gmail view?” I was brutally honest and wrote “The new Gmail design sucks!” but you don’t have to enter anything.
- Click the “Reload” button to refresh Google Chrome and you’ll return back to the old Gmail layout view.
How long will the old Gmail layout view last?
Who knows! The option is there (for now), but Google can (and will likely) remove it once it completes the Material You refresh for everyone. That’s not to say that Google is married to the design; the company takes feedback (especially when people are vocal about something sucking). But there’s no guarantee that Google will walk back its latest changes to Gmail, so enjoy the ability to go back to the old Gmail layout while it lasts.