Google recently released a new tabbed interface for Gmail, announcing the same changes for its Android app in a soon-to-be-released update. Though said update, labeled v4.5, began rolling out yesterday, it might take some time for it to come to your device. But that doesn’t mean you have to wait. An XDA member has been kind enough to share an APK for the new Gmail app on the forum, the link to which you’ll find at the end of this post. Coming to the app itself, it’s a whole new experience combining the new tabbed Inbox and Google’s latest interface design guidelines, as per which, the app now has a slide-out navigation drawer and actions along the top instead of in a bottom bar. Apart from that, the app now supports pull to refresh (about time!) and options to quickly empty your Trash and Spam folders of all mail.
The app’s new tabbed Inbox follows the same model as its desktop web counterpart. It can be divided into a total of five tabs – namely, Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums – as per the user’s requirement, where each incoming mail is automatically sorted into a tab that matches its nature. Remember that you’ll only be able to see these tabs if they’re enabled for your Gmail account. Read our post on how to enable Inbox categories for your Gmail account.
The app opens to the Primary tab wherein you’ll find shortcuts to other sections above the contained mail threads at first launch and arranged in sequence with the other threads in the section whenever you receive a new mail that is sorted into another tab. You can also quickly switch between tabs from anywhere in the app by hitting the button in the top-left corner of the screen or swiping in from the left edge of the screen.
This drags in the slide-out menu or “navigation drawer”, as it is called, which also lets you quickly switch between multiple accounts and easily navigate to any other section of the currently selected one.
All tabs except the one labeled Primary can be hidden or enabled from Menu > Settings > email@example.com > Inbox categories. From the same screen, you can also choose to hide starred messages from the Primary tab.
By default, all correspondences with contacts, starred items and messages that Gmail isn’t able to sort into enabled categories are placed in the Primary tab. You can always change what incoming messages go in where by dragging them to a category of choice. To do so, tap and hold to select multiple email threads and select the ‘Move to’ action from the top bar and a section from the menu that follows, as shown in the screenshots above. You’ll find the same option in the same place within individual email threads.
The ‘Swipe down to refresh’ option looks great and feels natural. For those of you who aren’t, for whatever reason, familiar with the concept, it involves pulling down anywhere on the screen to refresh the current section of the app. It’s been a fundamental part of a majority of similar mobile apps for quite some time. Gmail is actually sort of late to the party. Last but not the least come the aforementioned one-tap ‘Empty Trash’ and ‘Empty Spam’ options. These add quite a bit of convenience for users who choose to empty their Spam and Trash folders manually on a regular basis. The options can be found within the menu of each folder.
Check the link at the bottom from your Android device to check if the update has rolled out for you. If not, head on over to the XDA thread to download and install the APK right away.