How to change the side panels in Gmail’s new view

When The edgeRichard Lawler reported that Google was rolling out its newly stylized version of Gmail for the web, so I decided I’d like to take a look too. Since my Gmail page hadn’t switched yet, I clicked the gear-like Settings icon in the top right corner of my page and then the link labeled Try the new Gmail view and refreshed my page.

As Richard writes, the change is not radical. There’s a new color scheme that I like and a few other interface tweaks. The most significant change, however, is the left side panel – now, the two side panels.

Previously, you had a single panel that gave you access to a menu of your various Gmail categories and labels (such as the Inbox, Starred, Trash, etc.). By clicking the three-line icon at the top left (also known as a “hamburger”), you can customize this panel to display icons and labels or just icons. But now Google has added another side panel that gives you instant access to several apps: Mail, Chat, Spaces, and Meet.

New Gmail page with two side panels

A new side panel provides access to the Mail, Chat, Spaces, and Meet apps.

If you think two side panels is a bit much (like me, especially on a laptop screen), you can make the one with the categories disappear completely by clicking the hamburger icon in the top left corner.

Gmail without categories panel

Click on the three parallel lines in the top left corner to make the categories panel disappear.

If you want to go to a different category or label in your Gmail, you can find them by hovering your cursor over the Mail icon in the new panel.

Gmail with categories menu in bubble

Hovering your cursor over the email icon will bring up your categories menu.

Do you want your second panel back? Click the hamburger icon again.

Get rid of the apps panel

And what if you don’t really use Google Chat or Meet? It’s actually really easy to get rid of their icons – and that extra side panel too:

  • Select Settings > Customize.
  • You’re invited to choose which apps to use in Gmail. Uncheck the box Google Chat and Google Meet and click Done.

Popup to choose which apps to use in Gmail

Remove the new apps panel by unchecking these two boxes.

That is it! You are now back at a single known side panel. And just like before, the hamburger icon simply switches between a side panel of icons and labels or just icons.

You now have the new Gmail without the apps panel.

You now have the new Gmail without the apps panel.

And if you’re tired of it all, you can go back to how it was for now by clicking Settings > Go back to the original view. How long That option will be available is up to Google.

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