3 Hidden Features Of Gmail For Android That You Ought to Know

Trevor has recently written an article on how to restore the missing features in Gmail for Android. In the article, he used external apps to restore the Gmail functionalities, but do you know that some of the features are hidden deep inside the Gmail app and you don’t need to use other apps to access them? In this article, I will cover some of the hidden features of Gmail For Android.

1. Accessing your canned message

While using Gmail from your desktop browser, you may have created canned messages so you can send responses quickly and easily. In the Gmail For Android app, there is no “canned message” option, so you may thought that the feature is not available in the app. Well, you are wrong.


When you compose and save a canned message in the desktop Gmail, it is saved as a Draft in the Draft folder and hidden from your view. In your Gmail app, all you need to do is to go to the Draft folder (tap the “Tags” icon and select “Drafts”) and you will be able to see all your canned message. All you need to do is to open the canned message, highlight and copy all the text. In the reply email (or when composing a new mail), paste the content you have copied from the canned message.

2. Sync emails up to 999 days

Do you know that, by default, Gmail for Android only sync emails for the past 30 days? That means, if you only check your emails once every few months, and you want to clear them all right from your Android phone or tablet, you will only see emails up to the last 30 days.

You can easily fix this by going to the Settings in your Gmail app and select your email account.


Scroll down the list of options until you see the “Days to sync mail”.


Tap on it and you will be able to change the number of days, up to 999 days, for the Gmail app to sync.


3. Make “Reply All” the default behavior when replying emails

In the desktop Gmail, you can set “Reply All” as the default behavior when replying an email. In the Gmail for Android, the default behavior is “Reply” only to the sender, but you can set “Reply All” as the default behavior too.


In your Gmail app, go to “Settings -> General Settings”. Scroll down the list until you see the option “Reply all”. Put a check beside it. Done.

New Features: Pinch to Zoom

If you have updated to the latest version of Gmail for Android, as of 3rd Dec 2012 (and your handset is running Ice Cream Sandwich and above), you can enable the pinch to zoom feature .

Go to “Settings -> General Settings”. Scroll down the list until you see the option “Auto-fit messages”. Put a check beside it.


What this option will do is to auto resize your message to fit the screen, and you can pinch to zoom in/out the message.

Swipe left/right to delete/archive the message

The latest version of Gmail also allows you to swipe a message to either Archive or Delete it.


The behavior of the swiping action is dependent on your location in the Gmail app.

  • In your Inbox, swiping a message will archive it.
  • When viewing mails in a label, swiping a message will strip the label from the message.
  • In the “All mails” or “Sent” list, swiping a message will delete it from the system.

If you find this confusing and want to change the behavior, you can go to “Settings -> General Settings” and open the “Swiping conversation list” option. From here, you can either deactivate the swiping action, or set it to “Always delete”.


What other hidden features have I missed out?


Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.

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